The Imaginative World of Mike Stilkey.
Popping into Bristol City Museum I came across a sculptural work by contemporary Los Angeles artist Mike Stilkey (b.1975). I liked it instantly with its theatrical, gothic feeling, very Tim Burton-esque. It appears that collecting unwanted books and making them into art is his thing, and I think it works because many of the books in themselves are beautiful or atmospheric to begin with. They have a history and this adds some substance to his work. Having fictional characters painted onto books is a clever idea – in a similar vein to Shakespeare’s invention of a play within a play – Stilkey creates a visual story on top of a literary collection of stories. His paintings are not excellent, but they are stylish, endearing, and surreal.