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Meet Performance Artists Mike and Claire: Their Visual Aesthetic is Batshit Brilliant

And you think Gaga's got game…

Zach Sokol

Zach Sokol

Artist team Mike and Claire use so much face paint that they have a club card at Ricky’s. This is a good place to start when thinking about the stylistic integrity of the up-and-coming performance artists, filmmakers, and costume fanatics.

The duo—full names Michael Bailey-Gates and Claire Christerson—met freshman year at SVA studying photography, and after collaborating on a few projects, realized they had the same influences and vision. Now they share a website, apartment, and maybe even their dreams and nightmares (which undoubtedly inspire their work).

Raised on The Mighty Boosh, early Flickr communities, and Myspace-meets-Blingy visual aestheticism, the two have an almost obsessive-compulsive work ethic. They have released a deluge of art projects online over the past year that maintain a consistently ebullient and quasi-psychotic voice.

Across their work, Mike and Claire constantly gender swap, wear Gaga-friendly costumes, and hit viewers with a deluge of visual stimuli that may be a bit intimidating to some.

I’ve heard Mike and Claire fairly compared to Ryan Trecartin and Cindy Sherman, though I believe their photography and ADHD-addled video clips are taking the torch from Tim and Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job! (with maybe a dash of Cindy Lauper, Reed + Rader, and some Rachel Maclean). Videos like "No Commercials Just Adds" (above) could simultaneously fit with Adult Swim, Rookie Magazine, or a queer cinema course taught by, say, Greg Araki.

Mike and Claire recently made costumes for the Mix Film Festival and were selected as finalists for the New York Photo Festival in January. They're also featured in an upcoming Blood Orange video, unsurprisingly wearing crazy outfits. Head over to The Creators Project for an in-depth interview about their GIF portraits and short films, and embrace their batshit-insane style sensibilities below.


Never thought that the goth kids would embrace both mesh and flannel.


The pink robot looks ready to zap these UES divas into a pile of gaudy old chains from Macy's.


The mouth was strategically placed...

LOLs. Also we need to pre-order these scarves, STAT.

Your worst nightmare.

Wouldn't you want to hang with these nice people? The answer is yes.

Zach is on Twitter - @zachsokol.