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Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Mik Artistik immortalised in film documentary
Mik Artistik
Mik deciding whether it's worth going out in the rain

Chances are you've seen him around but not realised why you recognise him.

It may be from his artwork, his stream-of-consciousness-inspired band, appearing on Emmerdale as an extra or selling his portraits drawn on brown paper bags.

Whatever the reason, Mik Artistik is a true one-off and one of the city's most colourful characters.

Now, he's the focus of a film documentary that's causing ripples in the film world.

"Who Is Mik Artistik?" is a 30 minute documentary directed by Jackie Jarvis, an Irish film-maker who became entranced by Mik after catching a live performance by his band Mik Artistik's Ego Trip at the Flat Lake Literary Festival in County Monaghan, Ireland.

The film was a surprise hit at the 2011 Leeds International Film Festival and seemed to be the perfect summing up of a life of artistic endeavour 'under the radar'.

Mik Artistik with some of his work
Mik poses with some of his artwork

Born in Ireland, but brought up in Armley, Mik studied at Bradford Art College, but struggled to make headway in the art world. He became a familiar sight around Leeds' pubs offering sketched portraits on brown paper bags.

Mik was also a poet and a natural performer - check out his cameo in Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights - and in 2004, he joined together with two Leeds musicians, Benson Walker and Jonny Flockton, to form the chaotic, hilarious, rambling cabaret that is Mik Artistik's Ego Trip.

Mixing punk, funk and a whole host of familiar songs, Mik's lyrical dexterity and sense of fun makes any gig add up to a manic collision between John Shuttleworth, John Cooper Clarke and Johnny Vegas.

The band struggle to keep a straight face as Mik tackles heartache, joy, misery and the mundane in his songs but Mik's also always in the mood for talking to the audience in the middle of a number, and it's this unpredictability that makes him so watchable.

Mik explains what the documentary means to him:

Mik Artistik's Ego Trip
Benson, Mik & Jonny aka Mik Artistik's Ego Trip

"I'm flattered by the attention to be honest. As well as Jackie's film, I've got Keith Allen and his brother pushing my career along, not just the band but my artwork as well - my paintings can now hang alongside Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk and all the other hip artists of the day. Thirty years and I'm an overnight sensation!"

"The film was originally an hour and a half, which was whittled down to an hour and then to its final length, which perfectly captures what I do. There's footage of the gigs, art exhibitions and other bits that is just me and my life."

Hyde Park Picture House are hosting a special screening of "Who Is Mik Artistik?" at 8.30pm on Sunday 13 March 2011, which will also feature a performance by Mik Artistik's Ego Trip and a raffle (which is the bit Mik's looking forward to). The event is also a launch for the band's new EP "Hang On.......I'm Great".


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