Rose isn’t joking around, however. “I’m not trying to be ironic or sarcastic,” he says. He just likes to paint monsters. This led Rose to search out landscape paintings at garage sales and thrift stores that he could paint figures into. Yeti Throws My Great Grandfather from Mount Washington, British Columbia, 1913 is such a piece; Rose picked it up for $15 at the Salvation Army shop in New Paltz and filled in the figures on top of the Bob Ross-esque background. “Maybe my landscapes aren’t as good as they should be because I’m waiting to get to the red meat,” he says.
In addition to being a painter, the 45-year-old Rose is a father of seven (aged 1 to 16); an art educator; a musician (his band, Brian Wilson Shock Treatment, just released its ninth album, Operation Sun Probe); and a filmmaker (he is currently raising money via Kickstarter for a cinematic version of his paintings, Bloodlust of the Druid Overlords). Rose is also the subject of a documentary currently in production by local filmmakers Steve Scibelli and Will Joel.
Rose’s most recently completed painting is a large-scale (78” x 54”) variation on the Biblical flood, which will debut as part of a three-person show at Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art (KMOCA) in January. In the painting, the last surviving members of humanity scramble for a sole point of higher ground as the water rises—drowning people, animals, and temples indiscriminately. Of course, there’s not enough room for everyone, so those already on the rock attempt to keep the hapless masses in the roiling waters. “What’s funny about it, I think, is that even as they’re about to die, they’re murdering each other,” says Rose. “Which is what people would do, right?”
Paintings by Michael X. Rose are currently being exhibited in the Hudson Valley group show “Dear Mother Nature,” at the Dorsky Museum through November 4. Kickstarter: Kickstarter.com/projects/michaelxrose/bloodlust-of-the-druid-overlords-film; Portfolio: Michaelxrose.com.