The Art of ‘Meat Man’ Mike Geno

Ribeyes, 12"x12" oil on wood

For this edition of Food Art Friday, we keep the meat train rollin’. After recently covering one of our favorite artists and meat connoisseurs, Alyson Thomas, I was psyched to get introduced to Mike Geno — known amongst some circles as ‘Meat Man Mike’. How could we go wrong?

Philadelphia-based artist, Mike Geno, a.k.a. Meat Man Mike, has earned his moniker in more ways than one. First, Mike actually worked as a meat cutter, while an undergrad at Temple University. That familiarity with the product, along with the typical financial hardships of an art major, is what led him to his subject matter of choice.

Boneless Pork, 12"x12" oil on wood

While trying to come up with a subject for his senior thesis project, Mike decided rather brilliantly to use various cuts of meat in a series of still life paintings. The thought being, that if he painted fast enough, they would also provide his dinner for the day. Everybody wins.

This is seemingly where Mike also honed his signature style. Besides the ‘reach-out-and-touch-it’ textures that he creates with the thick application of oil paint, it is that race against food borne bacteria that is evident in Mike’s work. Not to say that his paintings appear rushed. The detail is at times extraordinary. It is actually that sense of urgency that gives his paintings their charm. They are simple but elegant, and at times — please forgive me for using the term — cute.

His works of bacon — of course he does bacon — capture that beautiful marbly pattern of red and white, and the strips are positioned with a deliberate curvature that give them a sense of motion. Seen below, we get a taste of what Mike is capable of when he has a bit more time, using already cooked strips of meat candy. Please, no screen-licking.

#2 (cooked strips), 30"x22" oil pastel on Somerset paper

Although he’s rightfully earned his title of Meat Man, Mike occasionally relies on subject matter disassociated from his carnivorous instinct. He has been known to create works of cheese, sushi, donuts, and even some non-edibles.

But regardless of the subject, the signature style remains — that we’d like to think was inspired by his works of meat. And who hasn’t been inspired by meat at one time or another? Perhaps vegetarians, those art haters.

Mike Geno has work for sale at his Etsy shop, his website can be found here, or follow his meat musings 140 characters at a time over on Twitter. Thanks to Ellen for recommending Mike.

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