100 Creatives 2013: Michael Wooten, Painting Power to the People

"Obey." Acrylic and Newspaper on Canvas.
"Obey." Acrylic and Newspaper on Canvas.

What He Does: It all started out pretty simply for Michael Wooten. One day in the sixth grade, he and his friends were tracing comics out of the newspapers when Wooten decided to see if he could replicate them without tracing. Of course, his first work was terrible, and the second not much better, but he stuck at it until he taught himself how to draw and paint.

Then, five years ago, the opportunity to be a stay-at-home dad left him with enough free time to paint, which he does every day even if only for an hour. His works in oils and acrylics are startling portraits of people done in a highly street art form. Wooten's original goal was to be a Disney animator, but a fondness for politics and punk rock led him down a slightly darker and more antagonistic path. His subjects are always poised to fight the oppressive powers that be, shouting down tyranny and clashing with the shock troops of the State.

When he's not doing the occasional Star Wars piece, that is. You can find his art all over the city in East End Studio Gallery, War'hous and Randall Kallinen's Art Gallery.

"War on women." Acrylic, Newspaper and Ink on Canvas.
"War on women." Acrylic, Newspaper and Ink on Canvas.

Why He Likes It: "For me it's about the challenge of getting the image that is in my head onto the canvas. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it's a real struggle. To me those best moments as a painter are the ones where the painting is just not working and you are about to give up and just throw out the painting, and then you shake off that doubt and push forward and a few brush strokes later -- boom, it works. Pushing myself, making myself not give up, that's just the best feeling to me."

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What Inspires Him: The state of the world is what really gets Wooten going. He sees the austerity measures in Europe, governmental corruption here and abroad, riots and poverty, and it makes him want to head out into the streets and throw rocks at people. Instead, he paints it, and wonders how we ever let the world get so bad.

If Not This, Then What: "Art is such a big part of who I am, it would be difficult to imagine a life without it. I am, however, a certified paralegal, so maybe something with that?"

If Not Here, Then Where: Wooten's family hails from a small town near The Hague, and thus he would really like to spend some time working in The Netherlands connecting with his roots.

What's Next: "I've been taking things slow lately. Trying to get used to painting with oils. It's a bit of a challenge, but I'm doing okay. I think. I do have a gallery show coming up on December 14. It's called RACE! and it will be at Kallinen Art Studio."

More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Shawn Hamilton, actor Matt Adams, digital artist and independent curator Gilbert Ruiz, artist Dionne Sparkman Noble, choreographer and professor Lee Wright, artist Vic Shuttee, comedy writer and performer Robin Davidson, poet and translator Jessica Wilbanks, essayist and Pushcart Prize winner David DeHoyos, astronaut photographer Sophie Jordan, bestselling book author Jessi Jordan, comic artist, beekeeper and yeti enthusiast Patrick Peters, architect and professor Jamie Kinosian, visual artist Paris F. Jomadiao, mixed-media artist and stop motion animator Shanon Adams, dancer James Glassman, Houstorian historian and artist Lou Vest, photographer Sara Gaston, stage and screen star Rachael Pavlik, a writer mom Ana Villaronga-Roman, Katy Contemporary Arts Museum director Erin Wasmund, actor, singer and dancer Karim Al-Zand, composer Jan Burandt, paper conservator for The Menil Collection Deke Anderson, actor Craig Cohen, hockey fan and host of Houston Matters Mauro Luna, Poe-Inspired photographer Trond Saeverud, Galveston Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor Khrystyna Balushka, paper flower child Christina Carfora, visual artist and world traveler Sara Kumar, artistic director for Shunya Theatre Kiki Maroon, burlesque clown Gin Martini, fashion designer Lacey Crawford, painter and sculptor Homer Starkey, novelist Jenn Fox, mixed media Shohei Iwahama, dancer Erica DelGardo, metalsmith Bob Clark, executive director Houston Family Arts Center Kerrelyn Sparks, bestselling romance author Lindsay Halpin, punk rock mad hatter Drake Simpson, actor Shelby Carter, Playboy model turned photographer David Matranga, actor Crystal Belcher, pole dancer Daniel Kramer, photographer Blue 130, pin-up explosion art Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker David Wilhem, light painter Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster Browncoat, pin-up pop artist Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist Vincent Fink, science fashion Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer Sameera Faridi, fashion designer Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre Outspoken Bean, performance poet Barry Moore, architect Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist Ty Doran, young actor Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet Justin Garcia, artist Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer Danielle Burns, art curator Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker Amanda Stevens, scary book author Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Billy D. Washington, comedian Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer Kelly Sears, animator and film maker Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director jhon r. stronks,dance-maker Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer


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