Recent Work

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My work is concerned with relationships: the push and pull between Painting and Drawing as disciplines, the merging of digital processes and natural mediums, and the clashing of disparate styles. My weapons of choice are acrylic markers, pens, and paint on smooth, hot-press watercolor paper as well as a digital pencil on the slick glass screen of a tablet. I enjoy working digitally as well as traditionally and generally combine the 2 modes of art making in my studio practice. I am deeply interested in mark making as an individual avenue of expression apart from imagery and symbolism, and love to explore the perceived boundaries between line and form.

The imagery and narratives employed in my work are personal reflections, fragmented and kaleidoscopic, on childhood trauma and living with mental illness. The mythological and occult iconography is a response to my religious upbringing. The images I create are intended to be humorous yet sad, thoughtful yet ridiculous, strange yet familiar. I place myself in my work using various characters, specifically Minotaurs, rabbits and hares, Pinocchio figures, figures with animal skulls for heads, and two-headed animals.

My art also looks great under a black light. That is no accident.


Name: Michael Hyder

Bio: I was raised by a couple of school teachers in the Bible Belt during the “Satanic Panic” era. Mom taught P.E. and Dad taught auto-mechanics. I drew. A lot. Early influences included Todd McFarlane’s Spiderman, Vernon Courtlandt Johnson’s work for Powell Peralta, and some guy named Michelangelo I saw in Encyclopedia Britannica. 

The first half of my childhood we bounced from trailer park to trailer park. We eventually settled in a small mill town in the foothills of the Appalachians. Ours was the little house with all the junk cars in the yard. We were that family. Sorry, neighbors. 

College wasn’t initially what I wanted. I moved to China instead and taught English. I lived and taught in Jilin Province a total of 4 years. I was also a student. For 2 years I lived in a Buddhist temple in a little village called Ye He’r about 200 kilometers from Siberia. I studied Mandarin, martial arts, calligraphy, and music during my time in The People’s Republic of China. The people and the experience changed me profoundly.

On returning to the US, I applied and was accepted to the University of South Carolina’s Fine Arts program with a concentration on Drawing. It was an exciting time to be at USC as a Drawing major.  Experimentation with surface, materials, and mark making was emphasized. I learned about artists like Cy Twombly and Julie Mehretu but maintained an interest in imagery, symbols, and allegory.

I applied to grad school with a heavy-handed essay and a portfolio of large-scale drawings done mostly on  sheets of housing insulation. I was accepted to Pratt Institute’s Master of Fine Arts program with a concentration in Painting and Drawing, where I was eventually nominated for the Joan Mitchell award for painting. 

Ultimately, I found Pratt’s sculpture garden too comfy to leave and accepted a job in the Office of Admissions. I live and work in NYC with my wife Mia, our cat overlord Ishi, and the ghost of Rusty Venture.

Education: Master of Fine Arts in Painting/Drawing from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (2011); Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing from the University of South Carolina (2008).

Occupation: Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Lecturer – Pratt Institute; Independent Artist