Wk 11 — Artist OTW — Student Choice
Artist: Mike Winkleman
Media: VJ Loops, Film, Digital Art
Mike Winkelmann is a self-taught digital and video artist who goes by the name Beeple Crap. His creation of the Creative Commons VJ loops has garnered him much popularity; his visual creations have been used by the likes of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Eminem, Zedd, and many more. He is also known for his Everydays series in which he creates a picture each day and has done so consecutively for the past 4938 days. Mike is an innovator and is constantly experimenting with new software as well exploring the fundamentals of art.
Mike’s artworks consist primarily of three different media: film, VJ loops, and graphic art. He creates all his films digitally with no use of any video cameras. All of his films contain music with many being animated to the rhythm of the songs which makes the videos visually and auditorily appealing to the viewers. Additionally, he includes voiceovers, recordings, and text to amplify his message to the audience. For example, his film Zero-Day combines these aspects to create a dark, frightening, and violent atmosphere that increases in intensity. The loud music, flashing of lights, and rapid movements of the machines highlight the threat cyberwarfare poses today. Furthermore, Mike has created numerous VJ loops. VJ loops are video loops that can be used in a wide range of media from music videos to live performances. He has made each loop to have their own distinct style. His video building tubes uses a hand-drawn style for animations and light-toned colors to create a warm and fun atmosphere. In contrast, his video CUTTT creates a futuristic setting with flashing lights and columns with a liquid metal-like texture. Lastly, Mike’s graphic art illustrations use a variety of different art styles, color, tone, and texture with no two being alike. His art ranges from abstract to hyper realistic. One aspect many of his graphic art shares is that there typically one subject in the photo placed in the middle of the art and takes up much of the space. His piece Turkey Savior depicts a large, cooked turkey on a cross in front of a sunrise which creates a holy atmosphere. Overall, Mike consistently pushes the boundaries of the different media he uses though an experimentation of different styles, music, tones, and animation.
Similar to how Mike’s art varies visually, each has a different meaning and message to them. However, all his art contains some mixture of science fiction and serves as a way for Michael to learn the technology the 21st century has provided him. Mike has been creating daily art for his series Everydays for the past 14 years. He explained how the series is a means for him to practice his art and that by practicing every day, he has a better knowledge of his capabilities and what needs improvement. Additionally, Mike usually has a particular topic for the year to focus on; this year his art is being made from Cinema 4D and Octane with a focus on the fundamentals such as color, composition, and value. Furthermore, many of his works have themes of technology, surveillance, and privacy; his art can be perceived as critiques on how the world is using technology and the dark future it can lead to. As mentioned before his film Zero-Day comments on the dangers of cyberwar warfare as the United States can create cyber viruses that cause mass destruction. Other artwork such as Weaponize Everything and Xeon7.SUPERDANK depict dystopian futures caused by the current way we use technology. All in all, Mike uses his art to improve his skills but to also to provide commentary on how technology can be both used for nefarious and creative purposes.
From my own personal experiences, I can relate to Mike’s artwork. I was born in the year 2000 and I have grown up surrounded by technology. I have learned how powerful but dangerous technology and the internet has become. Because of this, I understand and support the many themes of technology Mike has in his art. Additionally, I can also relate to Mike’s drive to improve his art skills. Recently, I bought a small graphic tablet that I used for the first time for Week 9. Since then, I have been spending my free time trying to get accustomed to it and learning how to use different art software. In conclusion, Mike’s artworks are technical achievements of present technology and I find his art inspirational and motivating.