June Guest Artist: Mick Crist

by Bella Erakko

Looking at Mick Crist’s vibrantly alive cityscapes and landscapes, its hard to imagine he only began painting five or six years ago. Imagine zooming in on New York City with GoogleMap, seeing an explosion of skyscrapers slightly aslant beneath floating white clouds. Or Lower Manhattan on a windy gull-tossed day, from Lady Liberty’s perch. These are the types of scenes Crist invites viewers into, as Alliance Art Gallery’s guest artist for Second Saturday, June 9 and throughout the month of June.

His artistic career began with a friendship. Kevin Warning, an Alliance Gallery member, and Mick go back a ways. Mick found himself excited by Kevin’s vibrant abstracts. It seemed a great way to relieve stress. So he bought himself some acrylics and graphite pencils, and the rest is history.

His cityscape passion began when his wife Cindy and he took their three sons to the New York City. The sheer verticalness, the soaring sky-seeking buildings riveted his attention. “My art probably just comes from the interest in what I see around me. I try to recreate it. It’s the feeling I get. In the last year or two, almost all of that has been influenced from my going to Chicago, and especially that trip to New York City. It left a huge impression on me.”
 Working as a mechanical engineer in an architecture firm for ten years undoubtedly seeped into his psyche. “I love architecture,” he admits, and one can definitely see that structural influence … and yet something more. Rather than being heavy and substantial, the buildings simply seem to soar.

But he also likes the juxtaposition of landscape to cityscape. “I loved the way there was a park, Central Park, with this great space—right against a backdrop of a congested city.”

While he recently underwent a hiatus from painting due to a biking accident, he’s now back at the easel. With family plans to visit Sedona this year with its majestic red rock formations—nature-and-stone-soaring “architecture” may soon become a new source of awe. As he says, “It’s not so much the medium I use as the vision in my head that I want to get out.”

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 9 from 5 until 8:00.