Mikey Georgeson (born 1967) is an artist, working in various media. He is a painter and illustrator, who regularly exhibits his work at Sartorial Contemporary Art and other galleries. As "the Vessel", he is songwriter and singer of the cult art-rock band, David Devant and his Spirit Wife. Side projects include Carfax, a collaboration with Jyoti Mishra, Glam Chops, a glam rock band formed with Eddie Argos of Art Brut, This Happy Band and The Civilised Scene. Georgeson also performs on his own, as Mr Solo. Peter Kimpton, writing in The Guardian praised Georgeson's "impish genius for melody".
After a childhood in Bexhill-on-Sea and Horsham, Mikey Georgeson attended Worthing College of Art (1985–86) and Chelsea School of Art (1986–1989), where he studied illustration when it was a figurative painting course. In 1989, he moved to Brighton, for a postgraduate illustration degree at Brighton University (1989–91). As an illustrator, he published a series of quirky screenprinted booklets, which he sold in Brighton gallery shops. A Shady Tale (1993) contained a series of unlikely shadowgraphy[disambiguation needed] images. The Hat He Mistook for His Wife (1993), reversing the title of Oliver Sacks' famous book, showed a fedora hat in various marital situations – covered with confetti, posing for a honeymoon photograph beside the Eiffel Tower, on a caravanning holiday, and being weighed on bathroom scales. Georgeson lectures in art at the University of East London, and is a practising painter. He has exhibited his work in the following group exhibitions: 'Wapobaloobop', Transition Gallery London 2008, 'Legends of Circumstance' Whitecross Gallery London 2009, Bargate Gallery Southampton 2010 and the Liverpool Biennial 2010. In London, he has had three solo shows: 'My Magic Life' Sartorial Art 2008, 'Father, Son & Holy Smoke', Bear Gallery 2009, and 'Tragicosmic' at Sartorial Art in 2010
Georgeson describes his paintings, which use thickly applied bright oil colours, as 'a distillation of a desire to capture what I consider to be episodic globules in the glistening, sticky fluid called paint.' With My Magic Life, his 2008 exhibition inspired by magic and David Devant, he brought the different strands of his work together. Georgeson explained in the exhibition catalogue:
I believe in magic and the power of following passions to lead to instances of backwards causality. In his autobiography there is an illustration of Devant making a ghost disappear 'in front of a critical audience' which, as a title alone, has parallels to painting pictures if you ask me....About the time Harry Pye first suggested time was right for a Devant themed show, I was sorting through some books I hadn't touched since they had come into my possession via my polymath cousin, Ricky Rhubarb. The first chapter of the first book was a sketch of Augustus John basically saying he was a bit hit or miss but when his work clicked 'one stares at it with amazement as if this were a Maskelyne and Devant trick and one saw a box floating in mid air'. My jaw slackened and I read on to discover the next chapter was a poetical tip toe through the dichotomy of magic and science. Reaching for my lighter I found it gone. Coincidence? No I don't smoke any more.
In June 2012, Georgeson exhibited a new solo show, 'Trope' at the Royal Standard in Liverpool. According to the gallery website, Georgeson identifies the 'Trope' as 'the crack that opens between the audience (life) and the artist (art). Eleven paintings in the show focus on Georgeson's ongoing love of Liverpool Football Club as a trope through which he can explore 'sending an emissary from his adult rational self to mix with the transcendental awe of his childhood'. He taps into memories of his boyhood bedroom in which his father had created a large scale recreation of the Kop, pasted together with faces cut from the Observer Magazine.'
In Brighton, in May 1992, Georgeson formed his first band, David Devant & His Spirit Wife, with Foz Foster, the ex-guitarist of the Monochrome Set, Jem Egerton, a classically trained musician, who played bass, and the drummer Graham Carlow. Georgeson derived the name for his band from a second-hand copy of My Magic Life, the autobiography of the great English stage magician, David Devant. A Devant show was conceived as an act of invocation, in which the spirit of the late magician would speak through Georgeson, and the songs would summon down the Spirit Wife. In concert, Georgeson performed as "the Vessel", wearing a black pompadour wig and a pencil moustache.
The elaborate stage show created a false impression that the band was a novelty act. But, as a songwriter, Georgeson was easily the equal of any of his Britpop contemporaries. In 1997 the band released their first album, Work, Lovelife, Miscellaneous. Its tour was accompanied by a Channel 4 film crew from The Other Side series. The documentary, shown in 1999, marked a farewell to the first incarnation of David Devant as, in the final sequence, filmed in 1999, Georgeson symbolically set fire to his wig.
In 2001, while Devant were not performing, Georgeson began to work with Jyoti Mishra of White Town, whom he met at a Devant concert. As Carfax, they released two albums, Momento from a Digital Age and Minky Pauve". According to Georgeson, the band took its name from 'the centre of Horsham where the last public hanging took place'.
In 2005, Georgeson began to perform as a solo act. Using the stage name Mr Solo, he accompanied his new songs with backing tapes while playing ukulele, keyboards or acoustic guitar. As Mr Solo, he has released two albums, All Will Be Revealed (2006) and Wonders Never Cease (2009). Mr Solo often performs at live art events, as a member of The School of English Dada and Daniel Lehan's This Happy Band, a group of roving musicians, inspired by medieval troubadours. As part of Margate's 'Dead Season Live Art' festival of 2010, This Happy Band paraded 'around the seaside town, commemorating its past, and the themes of Winter Dormancy, and Glorious Resurrection'. In 2011, in honour of the Royal wedding, he performed with the English School of Dada, at Cabaret Voltaire, the home of Dada, in Zurich. In London, he has appeared at three other live art events: 'Mr Solo' Whitechapel Gallery (2009), 'Return of the Repressed' Portman Gallery (2009) and 'Artist As Scapegoat' Norn Projects (2010).
In 2008, Georgeson collaborated with Eddie Argos to create Glam Chops, inspired by the stomping rhythms of the The Glitter Band and the image of Sweet. The critic Simon Price described the new band: 'Think Evel Knievel jumpsuits, Red Indian head-dresses and star-shaped warpaint, think lyrics about Bowie vs. Gary rivalry, think parping saxes and stomping stack-heeled beats.' The band released a Glam cover of Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA, with a video showing Georgeson and Argos singing the song while driving down the M4. The version was a showcase for their different singing styles, with Argos speak-singing the verses, and Georgeson providing a soaring operatic refrain. There was also a Christmas single, "Countdown to Christmas", released as a free download.
In 2012, Georgeson began to make music with Rob Jones (The Voluntary Butler Scheme), Simon Love, Simon Breed, Arec Koundarjian, Nathan Thomas, Iain McCallum and Ben Handysides. The new band, called The Civilised Scene, released a single "Moth in the Flame"/"Bringing Rocks Back from the Moon" (Corporate Records). In 2013, the band recorded for a new label, Popianosz, releasing a single, "Candy Floss", to be followed by an album later in the year. Georgeson has said, 'With the Civilised Scene there's a similar thought process as with the paintings.'
- Georgeson, Mikey (1991). A List of Lives. M Press. ISBN 0-9518037-0-0.
- Georgeson, Mikey (1993). A Shady Tale. M Press.
- Georgeson, Mikey (1993). From the Heart. M Press.
- Georgeson, Mikey (1993). The Hat He Mistook for His Wife. M Press.
- Georgeson, Mikey (1994). David Devant and His Spirit Wife. A Magic Egg Comic.
As David Devant
- Don Spirit Specs Now! (1993) [Cassette Only]
- Work, Lovelife, Miscellaneous (1997)
- Shiney on the Inside (1998)
- Power Words For Better Living (2004)
- The Lost World of David Devant (2006)
- Momento from a Digital Age
- Minky Pauve Corporate Records
As Mr Solo
- All Will Be Revealed Outstanding Records 18 September 2006
- Wonders Never Cease Outstanding Records 7 April 2009
As David Devant
- "Pimlico" Humbug Records HUM4 1995
- "This Is For Real"
- "Lie Detector"
- "Space Daddy"
- "Contact" Outstanding Records OSTRS002 10 May 2004
- "About It" Outstanding Records OSTRS003 8 November 2004
As Mr Solo
- "Number One" * Outstanding Records18 September 2006
- "Countdown to Christmas/Baby Jesus was the First Glam Rocker" 2008
- "Born in the USA" Where It's at Is Where You Are 10 August 2009
Mikey Georgeson and the Civilised Scene
- "Moth in the Flame"/"Bringing Rocks Back from the Moon" Corporate Records 2012
- "Candy Floss" Popianosz Recorded Words and Sounds 2013
- Peter Kimpton, 'http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/apr/10/readers-recommend-eccentric-songs-peter-kimpton', The Guardian, 11 April 2014
- , Artist's biography from the website of the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
- , Dave Evans MA RCA, Review of Tragicosmic, ArtRabbit.
- Exhibition Catalogue of My Magic Life, 2008.
- "Mikey Georgeson – Trope". The Royal Standard. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- http://wondersnevercease.webs.com/apps/blog/show/2467762-momento-por-favor/l, Mikey Georgeson blog.
- , Event Info for This Happy Band's performance in Margate, from the ArtRabbit website.
- , Simon Price, Stay Beautiful, quoted on bristolbands.com.
- "Who is Mikey Georgeson?". The Double Negative. Retrieved 5 September 2013.