Inner Vision: Mike Sincic
May 2, 2007Mike Sincics paintings are remarkably realistic for a blind mans. He paints...shockingly well. The paintings are idyllic: beaches, sunsets and other nature scenes. After seeing his work, it seems impossible at first that a man who gets around with a cane and the help of a friends elbow could have created these works of art. As I watch him -- sweeping his cane in a wide swath at the crosswalk outside the coffee shop where I am meeting him for an interview -- I cant help but doubt. Are there many naysayers?
Mike laughs knowingly when I ask. Yeah... my friend always says, Hes fakin the blind guy thing!
Mike, however, likes to be seen as a painter, not as a blind painter. When the Willamsburg-based artist approaches galleries over the phone or by mail about showing his work, he makes no reference to his blindness. Im not saying people are judging, but you know, I dont want them to be interested in selling my
work because Im a blind painter. I want them to sell my artwork because its good, he says.
Sincic lost his sight at the age of 13 due to an operation that removed a tumor. Before he lost his sight he drew cartoons. Afterward, he began painting watercolors.
I guess I wanted to continue doing art, he says. I tried painting my cartoon characters that Id done before my surgery, and obviously that was tough to do trying to paint inside the lines of something I had already drawn. The paintings I do now are more from, I guess youd say, scratch.
Sincic paints using a variety of techniques to overcome his blindness. He uses rulers, rubber bands and pipe cleaners to mark off areas on the paper. Sometimes he uses Maskoid, a substance similar to rubber cement, to mask an area off.
Once a layer of paint has dried Sincic is able to feel the difference in texture between blank areas and areas already painted.
He organizes his colors in order from left to right on his palette. He relies on input from family and friends on the finished product. He paints scenes he remembers from when he had his sight, scenes described to him by friends. Sometimes he paints from touch.
How is he able to mix colors?
I can see some colors it just depends on the angle. Sometimes I have to turn the paper or my head on an angle to get the glimpse of the color coming through.
He is tireless in the promotion of his work and is rarely seen without a bag of neatly wrapped 5x7 prints. Im doing a special this week: a package of 12 prints for $12, he says as he empties a bag of prints onto the table.
Images of a lighthouse, trees and a sunset pour out, wrapped with other prints, complete with envelopes. During the summer he was a regular fixture at the coffee shop where we now sit for the interview,
usually sitting at a table next to a stack of envelopes postmarked to different art galleries. His work is now represented in 30 galleries in the United States and one
Does he ever get discouraged?
At first it was a little tough, he says, because sometimes people were real blunt, but you gotta keep movin in the right direction, and if someone says no, cross them off the list and go on to the next.
After the interview, as we walk into DeYoungs, an art store that sells
Mikes work, one of the ladies who works there holds up a check. Mikes made
Little by little, his determination and persistence are paying off.
Readers whod like to purchase Mike Sincics work can reach him on his cell phone at (231) 313-1591.