"I am a Pittsburgh based artist who received my BFA at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2000. I focused on printmaking at the time which is where I learned about artists like Jose Guadalupe Posada and the German Expressionists like Kathe Kollwitz. After I finished school and returned home I did not have the necessary supplies to continue making my prints, so I turned to painting so I could keep making art. While I wanted to be an artist I felt having a day job that I found interesting was important. I had discovered that there was a mortuary school in Pittsburgh where I could get licensed as a funeral director/embalmer. I knew nothing about the business or what I was getting myself into. I went to school for a year and followed that up with an internship for another year. I learned how to do removals, embalm, do restorations, dress and casket people, do the cosmetics and assist on funerals. I continued to paint and made a lot of bad art. I eventually got a job as an embalmer out in Reading, PA in 2005. Between four locations we did 500 calls a year, so it was a busy time for me. The hard thing about being an embalmer is that you're on call when someone dies, so I spent a lot of time alone in my apartment waiting for the phone to ring. This is where I learned to craft my paintings and style. I thought back to my printmaking days in 2000 and how I loved the bold line work I was doing. So I started to paint in that style and things started to click for me. In 2006, a friend of mine put together a gallery show in Pittsburgh and included my paintings. I sold three the opening night and thought I'm doing something right. I've been working with galleries all over the U.S., Canada and the UK ever since."
- Mike Egan
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