Close-up: Speed painter Mike Groe colors his world, in a hurry

UW-Green Bay junior Mike Groe is a YouTube sensation. Groe’s speed painting video had more than 325,000 views entering the new year, and the count continues to grow.

The Design Arts and Communication major has been speed painting for just more than a year, discovering the technique on YouTube. After observing a video by speed painting artist Nico Di Mattia, considered a “founding father” of speed painting on YouTube, Groe rushed to purchase a graphics tablet and has been speed painting ever since.

Speed painting is a relatively new art form that is primarily a digital exercise in which the artist paints on a time budget, using already developed methods to create a work of art.

Speed painting is a widely used term in the entertainment industry, often among concept artists. Groe enhances his artwork by accompanying it with music that fits well with the speed painting process and enhances the viewing experience.

Groe’s artistic roots were formed at a very early age. He spent endless hours doodling and drawing. His freshman year of high school he took an Introduction to Painting class — his first experience using paint as an artistic medium. It was then that Groe realized he was much more detail-oriented than most of his fellow students.

Although Groe considers speed painting a hobby, he has used his work to get jobs in both the art and communication fields. He worked as a public relations intern with the Green Bay Area Public School District in the fall of 2009, and was more recently employed with Home Team Sports and Apparel, a graphic design company in Green Bay, where he created logos for T-shirts. In fact, he has seen some of his designs on shoppers at Festival Foods, where he currently works.

“I saw one of my designs on a T-shirt the other day walking through Festival, it was pretty cool to see,” Groe said.

Groe’s future looks bright in the graphic design field. He’s confident his double major will increase his marketability post-graduation.

“Communication is a skill desired by all companies, and I want to use my training to one day find a design job that also incorporates leadership skills, perhaps even within a management position,” Groe said.

Because of Groe’s interdisciplinary studies at UW-Green Bay, he has not only made a name for himself in UW-Green Bay’s art program, but he is also gaining recognition within the communication program. Danielle Bina, instructor in electronic media and public relations, has been assisting Groe with promoting his speed painting for the last year. Bina shows Groe’s work in her classes and has helped Groe understand the importance and impact of search engine 0ptimization on his artwork.

“Mike is an extremely gifted artist and his speed paintings continue to amaze all who view them,” Bina said. “Mike’s tremendous humility and work ethic will take him far.”

See some of his other work, here and here.

Story by Daniele Frechette, intern, Marketing and University Communication