mikecampau • Artist Spotlight
"Motion in Air" is a personal project and collaborative series between digital artist Mike Campau and dance photographer Alexander Yakovlev in which they capture the motion, beauty, and style of each dancer's aerial manoeuver in a single frame.
The original concept behind this project was inspired by Mike's daughter's dance competitions and how each performance had a unique visual story and style. Mike Campau created 3d sculptures to compliment the overall movement and style of each dancer wonderfully captured by Alexander.
This project was also the turning point in Mike's career where he made the decision to quit his full time job and focused on freelancing as a digital artist combining CGI and photography. This is the original project in the "Motion in Air" series that went on to have 2 more iterations - Motion in Air 2 and Motion in Air 3.
What got you in to Crypto art?
I have been a digital artist for over 20 years and during this time I have produced hundreds of personal projects simply for the love of art. Quite a few of these projects went viral online, but going viral only meant the platforms were getting paid and not the artists. So, back in December of 2019 I started to see some of my fellow digital artists selling their work as NFTs and it grabbed my attention. I was super excited about the possibility of being able to present and sell my personal work on the blockchain.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from many places, but I find that I can't search out inspiration it will usually find me. What I mean is, I can't force being inspired sitting at my computer trying to think of ideas. My ideas come to me when I'm living life away from work or the computer. When I have these moments, I make sure to write them down and then go back to the studio to follow up on this "inspiration". I'm also a consumer of visual art. I look through art as much as I can to see what I like and just as important, what I don't like and why. The combination of these two things are how I get my inspiration for my projects.
What do you think of traditional artwork?
I think traditional art is fantastic and definitely requires a ton of patience and fearlessness. When I first started out, I was solely a traditional illustrator but when I discovered computer graphics back in the 90s I never looked back. I still have a soft spot for traditional art and appreciate those artists that continue in that medium. But like I said, I just don't have the patience to do it anymore. Do you think your art is fulfilling a purpose?
Absolutely. I feel it fills a purpose for myself and my audience. I do most of my art for myself, but there are projects that I want to make people think or question how they view the world. This can range from political statements to cultural viewpoints... but no matter what, I always try to bring the same level of craftsmanship and clean visuals that I am known for to help tell these stories.
I see it (blockchain tech) as a brand new channel where I can explore some ideas, but also as a revolutionary step in cutting the 'middle person(s)' that one finds so often in the arts world, allowing for a direct (even if somehow abstract and anonymous) contact between artists and art lovers.
These ideas of decentralization, verifiable origins and incorruptibility are very appealing to me but, it was surely the conceptual alchemical side of it, the possibility of creating a Philosophers Stone out of bytes and let it rest in the Ethereum that got me into all of this.
How did you start out as an artist?
Funny thing is, I always knew I wanted to be an artists and it goes back to when I was 3 years old. I entered a drawing contest at my local McDonalds and won first place! From that day, I knew I wanted to do art for the rest of my life. I kept on drawing and painting until I discovered Photoshop 1.0 and that is the day my journey as a Digital Artist began. As cliché as it might be: on life. Heavily inspired by Hermetics and Gnostic thought in general, I look for symbols and signs in Nature.
Who or what inspires your work?
I draw a lot of inspiration from photography, sports, and pop culture. I love a well crafted photo, use of light and shadow, composition, and concept. I try to convey these same techniques in my digital work or team up with other artists to gain inspiration through collaboration. The collaboration process is truly inspiring as both artists will push each other into areas they wouldn't have created on their own. Plus, when you collaborate you can see a different point of view or a whole new creative process that can help you grow as an artist.
I do not make a clear distinction between Arts.
I studied Painting for two years and as such, I do have a strong connection to great masters like Cézanne and Matisse, but I often find myself relating my work to both the Dada and the Pop.
I guess I can only say that this new medium (crypto) will, eventually, also be called traditional.
Which other artist(s) do you admire?
This would be a super long list, there are so many talented artists out there... but here are a few: Tristan Eaton, Ash Thorp, Cornelius Dammrich, Filip Hodas, Richard Avedon, Gregory Crewdson, Tim Tadder …
I am sure of that, even if only as sigils :)
On a superficial level, I believe my art as aesthetical appeal and, for me, Beauty for Beauty is a validation just as fine as any other more complex conceptual developments, or ideas that people affix to Art.
A higher purpose might be fulfilled but only time will tell and, at the moment, I am just very happy to make pieces that people relate to (for known or unknown reasons).
Final question, what’s next for you as an artist?
I am exploring more collaborations and using this to push myself as an artist. I want to use my years of experience to help elevate undiscovered artists and the community at large. Searching out artists who have a high level of craft, but a different style will help push me into different directions of discovery as well as helping another artist do the same. A recent project I completed with photographer Tim Tadder is a perfect example of this. The project was called "Block Head Punks" and is the first and only PFP project that is photography based in combination with CGI. We had a very successful launch and plan on doing more interations and collaborations with this project in the near future. I also think there is an opportunity to work with non-artists, and visually tell their story or capture their life long legacy in a piece of digital artwork. These are the projects I'm super excited about and can't wait to share.
More of the same, and more of the unknown!
I will keep on developing my ideas and thoughts, on creating more artwork (physical, digital and, hopefully, a blend of the two) and on exploring as much as I can the vast domains of the representations of reality.
We would like to thank mikecampau for giving up their time to collaborate on this with us.