The Man Who Paints Computers
Mick Green has worked in offices, on building sites, in factories, in sales, on fairgrounds and in pubs. He worked for money rather than fulfilment, this he believes is true of a lot of people.
These days Mick is passionate about what he is doing. Mick paints scenes from nature. Instead of canvases he paints on old computer screens and televisions. Mick has chosen to do his work in the open air. You may have seen him on the streets of Liverpool. He likes it when passers by stop and chat; he has a lot to say about life. He says that "people generally only see the end product of an artists work and don't necessarily get to know much about the process or the artist." He describes what he does as a performance art.
Mick was born in Cyprus, the son of a naval officer. He spent his childhood perpetually on the move and changing schools. In attempts to fit in he would pick up accents from the places where he lived, but he was always picked on for being different. It wasn't until late in life that Mick decided that being different was a good way to be.
Mick finds it odd that children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, yet are not brought up to believe that their lives are filled with options. Mick's parents had high expectations of him and from an early age he was pushed academically and not allowed to play. In order to please his parents he told them that he wanted to be a doctor. To appease his peers he deliberately failed his school exams.
"What I really wanted to be was myself, but I didn't have the confidence and I didn't feel worthy." Mick encountered harsh discipline when he was growing up. He describes himself as a gentle person that had been taught to be tough because boys don't cry. "I had always felt that I was at the mercy of other people and I felt as though I didn't have any influence."
Mick grew up in an environment where drinking, smoking, arguing and watching television was a way of life. "I was brought up to think that drinking was a wonderful thing and a social act." He found it difficult to cope with the way people around him behaved. He grew into an angry young man with a football addiction. He says "football became the reason for my life. I spent my time watching it, thinking about it and reading about it." Mick was on the peripheries of hooliganism. "A gentle person can be manipulated. I didn't like what I'd become."
An introduction to a book called A Reasonable Life by Ferenc Mate, led
to a turning point in Mick's life. "It was a revelation; it summed
up how I had felt all my life, it was about things I'd always known were
wrong yet allowed to happen"
Mick believes that we all have the capacity to be intelligent thinking beings that were born to create beauty, but that we are challenged from an early age to think and behave in ways that are suggested by the mass media.
Mick says that television plays a big part in educating people away from their true nature and natural good health. And that through the television people are enticed away from what they could be. His art is a consideration of the affects of the mass media. He recycles old television sets by turning them into works of art that, for me, represent an action in defiance of the power of the media to dumb down, de-motivate, pacify and neutralise human potential.
In reference to giving up addictions, Mick says that the process was painful. "I had to think in terms of the potential of what I could be doing if I gave them up."
As for computers, "The computer has good uses, we can communicate with people all over the world, though we don't talk to the people that live next door to us. Computers are made of plastic, a by-product of oil. Our greatest mode of communication is made out of a resource that governments are wiling to kill for. I've worked in sales; I know that things are not built to last. Each PC uses 8-14 tons of non-renewable resources. (See www.earthfromtheair.com) Most of the stuff that's made of plastic is thrown away, and as a result of our unsustainable lifestyles - oil goes."
"I want to give something of myself to places where I live. Whatever
you do how ever small can bring about good changes. People have brought
me books to read and helped me out in different ways. There is some very
positive stuff going around. I wouldn't have done anything near what I've
done, or met some of the wonderful people I've met, had I still been watching
TVs instead of painting on them. But then I suppose I can't prove it."