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A picture of Mike Makatron

Mike Makatron


in artist, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Mike Makatron, I am an Australian artist based in Melbourne. I have been producing studio works and public art for about 20 years, and balance my time creating exhibitions with travelling the world to produce large scale murals and installations. I have painted in over 50 cities, scattered on every continent. I have a minor but emerging interest in sculptural versions of my painted imagery.

What hardware do you use?

I primarily use water-based exterior paint with rollers, brushes and an airless spray gun. Most murals involve some aerosol but never only aerosol for aesthetic and health reasons.

I occasionally use stencils, sometimes from found objects to quickly create texture and patterns.

Canvas work I mostly use acrylic, occasionally oils for fine detail on top of (dry) acrylic paint. I seem to be building up a collection of Golden-brand paints, but I think brushes are more important than the paint brand. I keep old brushes on hand, especially for murals to create texture, and I keep really old brushes for one final use with oil-based paints then throw them away.

I try to do most things on a bigger screen 27" iMac, but I have a small MacBook with Photoshop for travelling, and an iPad 10" for sketching.

I have a lot of Staedtler pencils in various sizes, I just buy the same brand so I have spares of leads and erasers, and I use 2B pencils the most.

And what software?

I use the Adobe Creative Suite for Photoshop, I rarely use Illustrator and occasionally InDesign for folio updates or proposals. I use Procreate for sketching and adapting a Photoshop montage before it goes to a wall or canvas.

I use Evernote a lot to organise my brain. Music is very important to me and I've just started curating a Spotify account for the various moods and emotions I am in or want to be in.

This week I've deleted the Instagram app from my phone for the next 3 weeks, and am looking for a program to upload posts directly from the desktop, with the goal of sketching more at home and scrolling less.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm actually building my dream setup in a warehouse which I've bought. I plan on a multi-function art studio, lots of space to hang multiple canvases and make a mess, a big workshop section with lots of hand and power tools that can be hidden behind doors easily. Large chill spot on the mezzanine that overlooks a river and bushland, and an indoor jungle with integrated automatic watering system and drainage. Above, a rooftop hydroponic edible garden + cocktail lounge for sunset. Some of these dreams may take some years to afford!

As for murals, I have been toying with the idea of using drones to sketch out large murals from a distance. It can be very time-consuming to apply the outlines of a large work from a scissor lift or boom lift - I really like the idea of being able to lay down the basic shapes with a bit better perspective.