Q and A with Mike Muir

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To learn more about the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center’s people, MRAC’s Esther Griffin will be talking to several members, learning about their life, their work and their membership of the MRAC. Next up is Mike Muir.

Mike is writer and visual artist and creator and co-producer of Divine Dali, Magnificent Madness, a dramatic reading with original script about the ‘life of a brilliant artist, tormented by his muse, twisted by his ego and diminished by his insecurities’. The event will take place on Sunday October 14th from 1.30 till 4 pm at the Montgomery Township Community & Recreational Center, 1030 Horsham Road Montgomeryville, PA 18936. Tickets can be purchased online following this link for $15,- or at the door.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I spent four decades working in financial services and banking. The last 25 years at an executive level serving in many roles from Vice President of International Operations, to Managing Director of Consumer Lending, Chief Credit Officer, Chief Operating Officer and even an acting CFO for a short period of time.

I moved with my family from Canada to Orange County California in 1988, accepting a promotion in Avco international Headquarters, a subsidiary of Textron. I retired in 2006. I have been with my beautiful wife Marie for 46 years and we have three adult children and five grandchildren. I thank my lucky stars for my wonderful family.

In 2010 I became a member of MRAC and I have served on the Board of Directors since then. Recently I have led an initiative to establish a performing arts program: it is wonderful working with the Humanities Program to write and produce original scripts on the lives of great artists. First Vincent van Gogh and this year Salvador Dali.

 Practice for  Divine Dali, Magnificent Madness : a table reading

Practice for Divine Dali, Magnificent Madness: a table reading

You came up with the concept of a dramatic reading for the MRAC. The last one about Vincent van Gogh was a huge success. This time you wrote about Salvador Dali of which the final performance will be on October 14th. How did this concept come about?

The format was inspired by productions of Spoon River Anthology I have seen. The first one, on Broadway in 1965, led by Jason Robards. The writing process requires extensive research followed by the selection of specific, pivotal events in the artist’s life. It becomes a series of free verse snapshots that tells the tale of an extraordinary individual.

Who inspires you as a writer?

My strongest influences as a writer have been Edgar Lee Masters, Dylan Thomas, Paddy Chayefsky, Robert Burns and of course, William Shakespeare.

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Are you involved in other arts?

I have written several screenplays and have also been a featured visual artist at MRAC on two occasions.

I guess you could call my work ‘Gaelic Impression’! Not so strange maybe if I tell you I was born in Dundee Scotland and spent my childhood there. My influences have been the Canadian Group of Seven and French Impressionist painters. On two occasions I won awards for best oil painting in Juried Shows. My use of colors has been described as vibrant and my brush stroke as lyrical.

What do you like about MRAC?

MRAC is a 501 C-3 nonprofit Art Center celebrating its 66th year already. It is an excellent organization for emerging artist and for poets and writers. It also offers art classes for adults and children, as well as literary workshops.

The MRAC’s coat of arms was designed by me for which I chose the Latin phrase, ‘Vita Brevis Ars Longa’ (Life is short Art is long) as the motto.