One thing I regretted about Mike's career was that he never allowed that painterly ability to fully unfold again. Perhaps it was the effect of those "educational complexes" unconsciously weighing on him, or of his own inner self-critic, who was always the most scathing reviewer. He often talked about simplifying his practice and just painting by himself, but he couldn't quite find the time to act on that impulse. Even when we were putting together the Destroy All Monsters show this past spring, he couldn't find it in his heart to regard the little drawings from the period (which he made as an edition of enlargement prints) as artworks, no matter how beautiful they were. It seems that toward the end, unbeknownst to most of us, he had been working on paintings on paper, much in the mode of those earlier works. Now, of course, there are a great many things to regret and I'm sure he had a lot of other things ready to spill out of him (writing, video, drawing, music) but I'll always think of Mike as a born painter.
JIM SHAW IS AN ARTIST BASED IN LOS ANGELES.