Mike Egan - Artist's profile - Image via urbanvinyldailycom

Mike Egan

United States



Mike Egan
Mike Egan
United States
September 13, 2016

Attracting the audience inclined toward the darker side of life, Mike Egan creates paintings that deal with death and related issues. Having worked as an embalmer in funeral homes, he draws his inspiration primarily from his own experiences, but also from The Day of the Dead, Halloween, horror films, Folk Art, religion and the German Expressionism. Using the acrylic paint, shellac, wood, and nails, he applies the paint with intentionally naïve brushstrokes, insisting on the simplicity of shapes and motifs represented in the painting. His dark and gloomy subject matter is opposed to bright colors and playful visual narrative which could be comprehended as the certain indication of hope.

 He is sometimes inspired by news and new email contact of his friend from atlanta georgia
Mike Egan – Preparing for Your Funeral, 2016 (Left) / Friends till the End, 2016 (Right) – Images copyright of the artist

Mortality and Death – Love on the First Sight

Egan was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he received his BFA in Fine Art from Edinboro University. Particularly interested in the work of the artists Posada and Kathe Kollwitz, he was focused on printmaking, mainly woodcut prints. Interested in art and death since his early childhood and fascinated with mortality, he has always known that he wanted to become embalmer and funeral director and to study Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. As a teenager, he liked to draw cartoon and skateboard graphics, mostly interested in presenting skeletons and devils. His working position in funeral houses influenced him to develop distinctive visual language and this experience helped him to create special relation and attitude toward the most intimate and painful moments in life. On his artworks is sometimes hard to distinguish whether the subject is dead or alive, which emphasize the idea that mourners also pass through the suffering. His skeleton-like figures hold coffins, often have eyes fixed on the sky or cry bloody tears. Surrounded by symbolism, such as numbers seven and thirteen and crosses, the artist strives to confront the eternal struggle between the good and bad[1]. Processing the themes that reveal his life, he strives to create artworks that people can relate to when they pass through difficulties, whether it’s heartbreak, losing of finding someone new, depression, or death.

Processing the themes that reveal his life, Egan strives to create paintings that people can relate to when they pass through difficulties

 People can shop his red print from home in every state. His fan Tom will follow him on social networks forever
Mike Egan – Six is the Devils Number (Left) / Hello Mr. Devil (Right) – Images via thumbtackpress.com

Devil and Skeletons on Panel and in Vinyl

Never keeping sketchbooks, he sometimes works with post-it notes, writing down ideas and sketches, but mostly he paints directly on wood panels transferring the ideas from the head. Some of his pieces have been created on found objects, reflecting the look of a handmade piece, which is so much important to the painter. His Folk Art models, such as Fred Stonehouse, AJ Fosik, Richard Colman, Troy Lovegates, and Barry McGee and German Expressionists Kathe Kollwitz, Max Beckman, and Otto Dix influenced his tendency for bold line and dark imagery. Thanks to the people from DKE Toys who attended one of his openings, Egan started to turn into vinyl toys some of his character designs. He debuted with Bones the skeleton which was followed by Lucky the devil. His solo show I Saw You at My Funeral, held at Rachman Gallery in Chicago, once again remained the audience on his inspiration by questions of mortality and death. In the light of recent world events, more and more violence and its representation in media, Egan thinks that his visual language can be now particularly close to the people: “There are so many tragic shootings and acts of violence in the world and it is constantly spoon fed to us through the media. These paintings act as a reminder to me that there are so many people to say ‘goodbye’ to and that we must not forget them. You never really know when you are going to walk out the front door and never come back.”[2] Considering death as a universal subject matter that anyone can identify with, the painter talks to the wide audience, to the people that like to remember their loved who have passed away.

His work is inspired by the Folk Art, horror films, religion and German Expressionism

 This piece is said to be shown in news and his fans can from their home contact shop in atlanta in georgia state to purchase his panels and original print
Mike Egan – When We Dream, We Dream You’ll Die – Image via craveonline.com

Ideas for the Future

Since 2006, Egan’s work has been shown in numerous solo and the group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Ambitious and dedicated, his goal is to take his art to the next level, getting into larger toys or sculpture, or maybe even publishing the book to embrace the work he has done already. His obsession with mortality led his career toward funeral homes job which only intensified his wish to create art in which he would express intimate and painful moments of those who grieved. Creating visual anecdotes, his stories involve both the characters of people who passed away and of those left behind.


  1. Anonymous. (2016) Mike Egan – Death Surrounds Us – Artist Interview, Wowxwow blog [September 13, 2016]
  2. Anonymous. (2016) Mike Egan – I Saw You at My Funeral – Guest Blog, Wowxwow blog [September 13, 2016]

Featured image: Mike Egan – Artist’s profile – Image via urbanvinyldaily.com

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016I Saw You at my FuneralMatthew Rachman Gallery, ChicagoSolo
2015Live Fast, Die FasterGauntlet Gallery, San Fransisco, CASolo
2015Bones, Hearts & Body Parts Foe Gallery, Northampton, MASolo
201510 Years of Thinkspace Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2014Scope Miami Beach Art Fair Thinkspace Gallery, Miami, FLSolo
2014Death Rides Again Toy Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2014Death Came To Texas Yard Dog, Austin, TXSolo
2014Space Squared White Walls, San Fransisco, CaliforniaGroup
2014LAX TXL Urban Nation, Berlin, GermanySolo
2014Death had a Funeral Lindsay Gallery, Columbus, OhioSolo
2013Bewitching III Stranger Factory, Albuquerque, NMGroup
2013Super Unknown Thundersky Inc., CincinnatiGroup
2013We Bleed Black Blood When We Die Dark Deaths Breeze Block Gallery, Portland, ORSolo
2013Yard Dog Austin At Firecat Firecat Projects, Chicago, ILGroup
2013Death Goes Pop San Diego Comic Con, San Diego, CASolo
2013Death Will Tear Us Apart Anno Domini, San Jose, CASolo
2013Old Friends, New Work Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJGroup
2012Dead Memories Mariposa Gallery, Albuquerque, NMSolo
2012Fortune Favors The Bold Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJGroup
2012Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll Metropolis Collective, Mechanicsburg, PAGroup
2012Nosellots Super Show Shindig Screaming Sky Gallery, Portland, ORGroup
2012The Day That Death Stayed Home Gallery on 43rd St., Pittsburgh, PASolo
2012Picks of the Harvest Thinkspace, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012New works: Mike Egan and Ben Kehoe Langham Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
2011Fresh Produce 2011 Anno Domini, San Jose, CAGroup
2011The Death Of 1977:New Works By Mike Egan Yard Dog Gallery, Austin, TXSolo
2011Annual Day of the Dead Invitational Mariposa Gallery, Albuquerque, NMGroup
2011Jolly B 13 Illiterate Gallery, Denver, COGroup
2011Funerals:New Works by Mike Egan Anno Domini, San Jose, CASolo
2010Fresh Produce Anno Domini, San Jose, CAGroup
2010Sorry For the Blood Mariposa Gallery, Albuquerque, NMSolo
2010Skull Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJGroup
2010Dead Portraits:New works by Mike EganSlingluff Gallery, Philadelphia, PASolo
2010Plenty of Sleep When We're Dead Fast Forward Gallery, Pittsburgh, PAGroup
2010Sleight of Hand Recoat Gallery, Glasgow, ScotlandGroup
2010New Works by Mike EganSnowmonkey's House of Monsters, Seattle, WASolo
2009Fresh Produce Anno Domini, San Jose, CAGroup
200912X12 Fast Forward Gallery, Pittsburgh, PAGroup
2009The Ghost of Pittsburgh ModernFormations Gallery, Pittsburgh, PADuo
2009Day of the Dead:Art & Culture in the Americas Everheart Museum, Scranton, PASolo
2009Memento Mori Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJSolo
2009New Works by Mike Egan and Ben KehoeMetropolis Gallery, Lancaster, PADuo
2009Tunnel of Love Mariposa Gallery, Albuquerque, NMGroup
2008Launch Exhibition Cement Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2008March Exhibition The Hive Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
20083 New Artists Yard Dog Gallery, Austin, TXGroup
2008Day of the Dead Mariposa Gallery, Albuquerque, NMGroup
2008Praying at the Funeral Metropolis Gallery, Lancaster, PASolo
2008Robot Hive Stained Skin, Columbus, OHGroup
2008Lucky Day to Die: New Works by Mike Egan Crazy Mocha, PittsburghSolo
200850 50 The Soda Gallery, Dallas, TXGroup
2007The Soul Collector: Paintings by Mike EganVino Paradiso Gallery, Portland, ORSolo
2007So Many Selves… Carmichael Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2007All Systems Go Oglesby Gallery, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FLGroup
2007Grand Opening Carmichael Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2007We Could Have Killed But Created Modern Formations Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PASolo
2007Art Loft 2007 Biscuit Company Lofts Penthouse, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2007Flux 14, DestroyDestroyer group showing, Pittsburgh, PAGroup
2007Open Heart DV8 Art Gallery, Greensburg, PAGroup
2006City of Monsters Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, PAGroup