Mike Kungl Biography
From the mid-1920s to the early-1940s, Art Deco art was ubiquitous. Many of America's most famous architectural landmarks, such as New York's Chrysler Building and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, still bear the stamp of modernist design. In this century, Disney artist Mike Kungl has helped revive the classic style with his widely acclaimed artwork, infusing it with a vitality and relevance, attracting the attention of Hollywood and art collectors from around the world.
A dedicated lover of art deco, both from its original period and reintroduction in the 1950s, Kungl is best known for his contemporary interpretations of nostalgic images. His vintage style is filled with a radiant color palette and a stylish streamlined twist, having studied the great graphic designers and architects of the 20th century, as well as traditional artists that informed his own aesthetic. He is not only passionate about his painting, but also dedicated to creative process, drawing inspiration from many different places and artists. "There is no artist living or dead that I haven't drawn inspiration from. We all rely on one another to keep our industry alive," he said. It's this passion that makes fans and collectors extremely loyal to his work, at the same time constantly spurring him on in new directions.
Beyond his original art, Kungl has also created work for Disney Fine Art. In 2006, Kungl was selected as an official interpretive artist of the Disney Fine Art program, published by Collectors Editions, and has built a loyal following of fans who love his fresh take on Disney. Combining his unique artistic style, which he has termed "21st Century Art Deco," with classic Disney characters and stories, Kungl has built upon Disney's artistic legacy by applying his unique Deco twist his collection of Disney works which are renowned and collected around the world - "You're used to seeing classic Disney characters out of the classic movie scenes. Well, if you look at some of the Disney work that I've done, it really is Mickey on a motorcycle in a vintage format or an art deco-style, something you haven't seen before." He also contributed to Disneyland Paris, designing images for what is essentially the downtown part of the park. Huge murals and bas reliefs grace the biggest featured building. To be seen every day by Disney fans from all over the world, to raise an entire environment to an artistic experience, is an honor not lost on Kungl. It has led to him traveling all over the world for shows in galleries and events from Paris to Tokyo and back home.
The California native knew he was an artist by the time he was four, when he used the family sofa as his canvas and his mother's lipstick as his paint. Eighteen years later, Kungl found more appropriate canvases, having graduated from the Spokane Falls College of Art and returned to his home in Southern California. With a graphic arts education in advertising, he began plying his trade at Cochrane Chase Livingston, creating and producing award-winning logos and package designs for Fortune 500 companies like Panasonic, Johnson and Johnson, Toshiba, Sony, Warner Bros. Television, Bank of America, and Nissan Motors. Soon, Kungl turned in his pens and brushes for a computer and opened his own freelance design, illustration and art director firm, creating logo and package designs, illustrations, advertising, 3D animation and multimedia CD games.
After two decades of commercial success in advertising, Kungl left his firm and turned his attention to fine art full-time. Finding himself attracted to original 1930s posters—specifically that of the Normandie by European graphic painter A.M. Cassandre—and drawing inspiration from American industrial designers Raymond Loewy and Henry Dreyfuss. Unable to purchase the original but wanting to own something similar, Kungl began creating Art Deco and Modern-influenced art, prints and posters. Deeply influenced by these designers' dramatic take on the styles, Kungl elaborates on his attraction to Art Deco - "Art deco is a movement that took place between 1920 in 1945. (The aesthetic is) very streamlined. Graphic. Simple. Elegant. And Bold. I think I just gravitated towards that just by nature...When I was going to college and started studying art history, these things became relevant as to what my native self gravitated towards."
And yet Kungl has created a look that is uniquely his, utilizing nostalgic images of old photographs and vintage ads to bring a vitality and freshness for a distinct art deco style all his own. Starting from a sketch, he then uses ink to fill in and create curves that integrates his everyday objects. Kungl likes to incorporate chrome and metallic elements into his work to give them an Art Deco feel, and his goal in creating each piece is to have fun designing his work and for his audience to be as entertained as he is - "(I) produce work that I'm personally going to have fun designing and painting," he said. "When it's complete, my goal is having the audience be just as entertained looking at it as I was creating it."
His own spin on the Art Deco/streamline movement evolved quickly into his new career, never suspecting that success on the West coast would lead to recognition on another. Soon into his new career, the California artist was selected to create the official artwork for Miami Beach's 25th annual Art Deco Weekend. Ever since, his career has skyrocketed. In fact, the Miami honor is just one of many in a succession of developments that highlight Kungl's growing reputation as a well-known collectible artist across the country. In addition to a burgeoning following in the United States, Kungl's works are widely collected around the world with sales of his images increasing throughout Europe, Japan and Australia. His work is featured regularly in magazine articles, books, and on television.
Today, Kungl is among the world's finest working artists in the Art Deco tradition. He works in his high-tech studio shaping and refining each of his meticulously crafted images, creating vintage art, prints and posters with a modern flair that is uniquely his own. He also designs ceramics such as plates, mugs, coasters and other home decor that has led to him being recognized as a collectible artist. As a result, his art can be found in private, public and corporate collections, and at retailers around the world. In addition, he has done work for many well-known companies through his design studio, and his art can frequently be seen on television shows including Ashton Kutcher's Beauty and the Geek series, CSI, Gilmore Girl's and CBS' Big Bang Theory. His client list features some of the biggest companies in the world, including - Warner Bros., Toyota, Toshiba, Superior Coffee, Sony Pictures Television, Seagate, Sara Lee, Resorts Hotels and Casino, Ralph's Supermarkets, Radius Monitors, Polly's Pies, PhotoShop WOW Books, Panasonic, Nissan Motors, NBC Universal Television, Miro Displays, Marvel, Lotus Software, Leader Technologies, Johnson and Johnson, Interplay Entertainment, Ingram Micro, Hasbro Games, Global Scuba Network, Dreamworks Entertainment, Disney Fine Art, City of Miami Beach Florida, City of Laguna Beach California, Buy.com, Bank of America and Acme Archives.
World Wide Art
World Wide Art is known for its wide selection of limited edition prints by renowned artists, including the luminescent works of Mike Kungl. Their expert staff also specializes in custom conservation framing. In business since 1996, World Wide Art is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a well-known art shop for both serious collectors and casual decorators. The staff at World Wide Art not only deals art, but are collectors and artists themselves who consider their work a labor of love and lifestyle of art appreciation.