Michael Gaughan: 100 Creatives

Number 69: Michael Gaughan

City: Minneapolis

Years spent living in MN: 1998 to 2007, and 2009 to 2011

While some artists find creativity in dark places, others take on projects with a joy that is instantly contagious. Local illustrator and performer Michael Gaughan definitely belongs in the latter category. Over the years, he has put together delightfully adventurous happenings, including a musical scavenger hunt where participants wandered about the city, searching for mini-concerts using clues. His music projects have included Brother and Sister, a rocking band celebrating sibling love, rap/visual performances as ICE ROD, and his current group, Little Dog on Top of a Big Dog. His paintings and other illustrative work are gorgeously detailed, often reminiscent of epic '70s film posters. Recent inspirations have included giant baby alligators, Andrew WK, and This is Spinal Tap.

Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:

1. My family and friends
2. Creativity
3. Morality and responsibility

Michael Gaughan: 100 Creatives
Andrew WK (2010)

Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:

1. My family
2. Artists that I admire
3. An interest in the arts

What was your last big project?

In 2009:

The 2009 Artist Residency at PICA in Portland, OR.

In 2010:

My performance at SoundSet as ICE ROD.

In 2011:

1. My illustration for NIKE SB.
2. I had a drawing published in an artist book, Open Daybook (Random House).
3. My work was exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.
4. Running the Surf City Marathon.
5. Teaching art to middle schoolers and adults.

What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?

Little Dog On Top of a Big Dog is my current musical project, and it is pretty fun. We are releasing a 12-inch record/art booklet on Totally Gross National Product. Besides that, I am making lots of watercolor paintings and doing other fun projects.

Michael Gaughan: 100 Creatives
Sky Diver (2009)

Creative/career high point (so far)?

Having my friends and other people enjoy my artwork, seeing how it makes them happy, and how it makes them laugh or smile. That's when I have succeeded. I want to make people have a good time, and I have learned to do that is through art. I create art to bring something entertaining, beautiful, funny, and/or intelligent into peoples' lives to enjoy.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

All the challenges I face as an artist make me stronger. They make me more creative at problem solving and motivate me to work harder, be more focused, and to appreciate the opportunities I do have.

How has the local scene changed since you began your career?

The local scene kinda transformed from First Ave. to Second Harvest, to the 3rd Lair, to positively Fourth Street, to the Fifth Element, to the Sixth Chamber Used Books, all the way to the 7th Street Entry--you know what I mean?

Michael Gaughan: 100 Creatives
City Pages tribute cover to Michael "Eyedea" Larsen

Something goes wrong with your inner ear. The only side effect is that and all music sounds like one song. When you turn on the radio, attend a concert, sing to yourself in the shower no matter what the actual tune is, it sounds like one song. For some reason, you are allowed to choose the song. Which song do you choose, and why?

The Brady Bunch's "Keep On Movin'." I can listen to this song on repeat for days...

You are given the power to bring back one canceled television show. It is guaranteed to be awesome. Which show would you bring back, and why?

Arrested Developement, because I loved that show. I love how all the jokes reference each other, build on each other, and fit together like a perfect puzzle or pattern. I think it was wonderfully written. It was surprising and enjoyable. I am a huge fan of the cast of that show too.

Check out more of Michael Gaughan's artwork at his official website.

Michael Gaughan: 100 Creatives
Titi (2011)

Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.

Past creatives, so far:

100. Jennifer Davis
99. Sean Smuda
98. Chuck U
96. Amy Rice
95. Kara Hendershot

70. Tim Sievert

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