Mika Bar-On Nesher: Who are your artistic influences?

Michael Alan Alien: My first influence was Dalí. I was isolated from any knowledge of art when I was growing up in NYC. I didn’t visit museums or galleries, or know of any other fine artists, but my father had a Dalí print which I’d study every day. I was inspired by graffiti in New York City, as well as punk and metal record labels covers that my neighbors traded with me for my Star Wars figures. The Iron Maiden covers kick ass. As I got myself into a position where I could educate myself with fine art, some artists that have inspired me are Klimt, Egon Schiele, M.C. Escher, and Crumb. 

It’s very hard for anyone who grew up with nothing in a wealthy city to break into the art world. It’s been very difficult to be accepted in a culture built on classism.

MBON: Does music play an important part of your process?

MAA: I spend my time looking at life, looking into the unknown, looking at breathing, looking at movement, looking at pain, looking for positivity. The way I see life is with sound and music. When I observe my surroundings and people, I hear a soundtrack in the background. I paint to that.

I also make sound collage music here and there as part of The Living Installation theater performances. You can listen to some of the music on Bandcamp.


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