Week 9: Artist Interview – Michael Rollins

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How do you choose the colors for your paintings?

The first question I asked Micheal was how he chose the various colors he used for his paintings and how he decides which colors to use for a certain piece. He answered saying that he often goes for a “high key, sci-fi feel” for his paintings and chooses colors based on his mood. His reasoning for this is that he wants to reflect reality in a particular way. He noted that paint naturally has a “smooth, mushy feel” and that the types of colors he uses  are the same ones used in modern advertising and even by astronomers and scientists, as he puts it. As he describes it, “It’s a part of life.”

How do you usually work on a painting?

Intrigues by his intricate and seemingly random designs, I then asked Michael how he often works to create these pieces. He responded saying that he often simply “throws paint to what happens” and then works accordingly. He also noted that he does not close his eyes during this process because he “likes to see what happens.” The reason for this, as he describes, he wants an “organic” feel and to “create his own world.” He then added that when he starts a piece, he often does not have anything specific in mind but rather just an idea and often works to create that idea.

How do you come up with the names of your paintings?

One thing I noticed with Michael Rollins’s pieces was that they had very vague and mysterious names such as “Domestic Spark” and “Chime Trickle.” Curious, I asked Michael how he came up with such names. He answered me that he comes up with them randomly throughout the day and often takes notes of certain phrases and ideas on his phone. These ideas as he puts it, take inspiration from a variety of sources like music, movies, and science. He also noted that oftentimes he would change the name of a piece to fit a new perspective that he sees for the work.


I found Michael Rollins’s New Digs to be an intriguing exhibit. What I particularly enjoy about Michael Rollins’s pieces is how he takes an organic approach to his art, free from foreign sources that may make his art artificial. This can be well seen with his use of wild paint strokes and splashes and the use of randomly colored paints. Even the titles of his pieces reflect this approach. Although it can be argued that artists who work with this kind of style may not put actual effort into their works and may be just blindly working, I do not believe this is always true. Though this may be possible for a few, those artists who work in this style are certainly not lazy or unimaginative and just have different approaches and aims for for their art.

Michael Rollins

Michael Rollins


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