About Mike Shaw

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Mike Shaw was in his late teens when he arrived in Soho, London’s most off beat colourful district.  It was the time of Carnaby Street, Christine Keeler and the Beatles.

His one burning ambition was to become an artist.  So, he took private lessons paid for by working, weather permitting, as a pavement artist.  He had a pitch near Leicester square.  Every evening he would visit one of the many cinemas around the square to watch the incredible movie stars of that era, then spend long days in his small rented room transferring their faces into an image of his own totally unique cinematic style.

As the work started to roll in he moved into his own studio/apartment in the aptly named Dean Street (James Dean being his all time favourite movie icon).

ii10Mike spent his time with actors, writers, poets, musicians, and other assorted Soho characters of that wild bohemian era.  Quentin Crisp called him the last true street artist whose work has a timeless quality.  Mike did a portrait of Quentin that Quentin loved but it was destroyed along with so many others before he could collect it as I will explain.

Mike had spent almost three years building a collection that an agent wanted to show around the country. Starting in Rye and Brighton it would move on to Liverpool and Manchester and finish a year later in London.  Tragically, it was not to be.  On returning to his studio one winter afternoon he found water pouring through the ceiling onto his beloved artwork.  The water tank in the empty apartment above had burst.  Over 160 paintings were ruined, another 100 or so were safe in an adjoining room and many of those are the ones you see on display on this site.  The shock of this brought on a breakdown and he painted nothing for the next 5 years.

Mike started the long road back when he was asked to provide the illustrations for several books.  Many of the paintings here are the originals that appear in “Wish you were here Jimmy Dean”,  “The Timeless James Dean”, and on the front cover for the best seller “Bram Stoker’s Irving”, and many more.  This brought his work to the attention of a new generation.  He is now, by his own admission, somewhat of a recluse, but is back in London and working harder than ever working on commissions of such famous faces as Barack Obama, Simon Cowell and Amy Winehouse.  His work adorns the walls of  private collections worldwide.   He says ‘I lost some years but whatever time I have left I want to concentrate on my art, working on the images that we see today, but I think my heart is still in the 1950’s and 60’s’.

stagedoorWe hope you enjoy the painting as much as we do.

All the team at Stagedoor Publishing

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Tel :: 0207 0999263 Email :: info@stagedoor-gallery.co.uk