beeple is Mike Winkelmann, a graphic designer from Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. His short films have screened at onedotzero, Prix Ars Electronica, the Sydney Biennale, and have been rejected at many others.
He has also released a series of Creative Commons live visuals that have been used by electronic acts such as deadmau5, Skrillex, Avicii, Zedd, Taio Cruz, Tiësto, Amon Tobin, Wolfgang Gartner, and Flying Lotus and many others.
By the third day of FITC Toronto 2019 he will have released an #everyday for 12 years without missing even one. He's also behind the titles and creative direction for the event! Grab your tickets with code "beeple" and read on for more on Mike.
Your work has a pretty clear dystopian theme - where do you see people and the planet in 10 years? Do you have an apocalypse survival plan? Do you worry that day will coincide with the day you miss posting an #everyday?
Hahah, I actually have a fairly optimistic view of the future. I think technology has made things a lot of better for a huge amount of people on the planet.
I think it’s easy for us to focus on the our first world problems like “how dare Facebook look at my browser history” but if you take a broader look at humanity things things are getting better for the poorest people in terms of access to clean water, food, medicine, etc.
So I think while there may be bumps along the way, things will continue to get better. The dystopian pictures are a lot more tongue in cheek than I think people assume. And it’s also just more fun and interesting to imagine a future where we’re slaves to robots than one in which we all have access to affordable healthcare. ;)
What does your workspace look like? Do you keep art or objects or anything around to inspire you?
Honestly it’s pretty barebones. I have literally ZERO art on my walls and a crappy desk with cords running everywhere.
I do have 2 big TV’s right next to each other on my other wall that are on all day but muted. One is set to CNN and the other Fox News so I have a constant stream of fresh stupidity to inspire my work.
If you hadn’t started down the #everydays path over a decade ago, what do you think you’d be doing now? Did you have other career paths in mind?
I think I would be doing the same thing as I had done artwork and personal projects for almost 10 years before that… I think I just would have done much less work and have a lot less skills.
Cinema4D is one of your main tools, but are you experimenting with any new hardware or software?
Not really, I haven’t really incorporated anything too drastically new as right now I’m trying to just get better at the basics of making pretty pictures…. colour, composition, value, etc.
I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of constantly getting the next shiny new toy to play with rather than focusing on the fundamentals which has a bit less instant gratification and is much more incremental and subjective.
Which collaboration have you done that was the most mind-blowing for you to be approached for? Have you turned down many opportunities that simply don’t fit your brand?
I think the Louis Vuitton project was easily the most surreal and unexpected.
I would have never imagined the picture, especially the more sci-fi ones being used in such a way. I have turned down a few things because they weren’t really “on brand” but that was also because they didn’t have a great budget. For the most part I will sellout like a motherfucker for enough money…
Can you give us some insight into your process and vision behind the FITC titles? Did you have other ideas in mind that were scrapped?
The theme of the conference is “pure imagination” and I really wanted to create an experience that has a ton of energy and life that you experience when you are in that true flow state.
I also wanted to address the struggle that it often takes to get to that state. So the titles are trying to illustrate the entire creative experience of an from start to finish.
Speaking of “Pure Imagination” how would you say you embrace this concept in your work, or career?
I at least try to embrace this on a literally daily project with my everydays. Sometimes it’s hard though because you’re feeling unmotivated or your busy or you just feel like you have no more ideas left to give.
But I think if you can get past that by forcing yourself to sit down, you will get to some level of pure imagination. It might be shockingly brief but there is always something that will come out.
What’s your favourite memory or experience from an FITC event?
Oh man, there are way too many to even recount. I’ve met so many new friends that it’s really hard to even count.
For me the talks are really very secondary to being able to meet your heroes and connect with new people doing what you do, or sometimes things totally different than what you do. It’s got just such a great, cool vibe and I would highly recommend everyone experience for themselves!! :)