Updated: Sep 29, 2021
Craig Mildrexler, a local Kansas City Artist, has his unique way of creating art. Mildrexler has been painting his Power and Black Light Art since 2010. The blacklight art began in Mildrexler’s studio in his basement as a stress relief from mundane work. Mildrexler had his first successful Power and Black Light Art Show in 2010 in Casper, Wyoming. He didn’t realize how popular Black Light Art was until his show in Casper. People loved his style of painting with the neon acrylic blacklight paint. Mildrexler first began doing Cubic Abstracts and did a show in Castle Rock, Colorado, in 2001 and did well. Mildrexler is a self-taught artist and started playing around with paint in 1989. His daughter had bought him some neon paint, and the bottles sat on the shelf for a couple of years. Then he decided to experiment with the neon colors and see what he could create. “For me, art is about the discovery of a new process, an epiphany,” Kansas City, Missouri, local artist Craig Mildrexler states. Mildrexler comes from a family of artists, his mother, Linton Mildrexler, father, Robert (Bob), Mildrexler. Bob Mildrexler set up and founded Art-Westport, Brookside Art Annual, and many more. Bob Mildrexler also restarted the Plaza Art Fair in 1947. Mildrexler’s parents got their art degrees at the Kansas City Art Institute and prospered in the art world after their education.
Walking into Mildrexler’s house, there are stacks of finished paintings by the front door ready to sell at an art show. Hanging on the walls is the artwork by Mildrexler’s parents. Mildrexler keeps adding to the collection, buying up any piece of his fathers’ that he finds for sale online. The studio is in the basement down a steep set of stairs, and this is where Mildrexler’s creative side kicks in. Mildrexler has two different working areas, a flat table and an elevated standing table, to paint his boards and get them ready for the magic to happen. Mildrexler even has blacklight to check out the work of each finished piece. Mildrexler uses Masonite board and Neon acrylic paints on each of his projects and says the secret is using water in the colors.
Photo by Kat Day Design Artist, Craig Mildrexler beginning one of his black light art paintings, starting with a base coat on the masonite board.
Mildrexler went to Kansas University for three years, working on a business degree, where he worked as an accountant. He has long abandoned that position and works outside for a business taking care of the grounds. Mildrexler then comes home to work on his paintings and frame making.
Mildrexler now spends his First Fridays at MOD Gallery & Space in the Crossroads Art District with his Blacklight Booth on the front patio of MOD. Customers can put on 3-D blacklight glasses and look at what piece of art they would like to purchase in the blacklight booth.
“People come to the booth, and you tell them it’s a blacklight painting it changes under the blacklight, and the people say, oh really? “Yea, I’m not lying. That is why the sign says enter. You have to see it under the blacklight; the painting changes, so I take off the hook, open the curtain and tell them to go in to see for yourself.” Kansas City local Artist Craig Mildrexler states, “It’s a trip every time they walk in with the painting, and they say, Wow! That is the rush of being an artist is that WOW moment!”
Mildrexler showed his process and how he creates his blacklight paintings. The finished product is quite powerful and impressive.