The Curious Interview: Mike Pelletier
Mike Pelletier is a 3D Artist based in Amsterdam whose pieces are made using animation, often involve kinetic installation and sometimes interact with the viewer.
Mike most notably explores the portraiture of classical art using technologies such as motion capture, body scanning, and body tracking, and adds an androgynous, post-human, and often uncanny protohuman aesthetic.
Have you ever found yourself in a modern art museum looking at work thinking, "I could do that"? Well I guarantee that is not what goes through your mind when seeing Mike's pieces; they are mesmerising, fascinating and often provoking.
Mike's work is exhibited all over the world (including previously the Goethe Institute, London), and he has just accepted a part time teaching post at Rotterdam University.
The Curious Interview with Mike Pelletier
What are you most Curious about?
I am always curious about how a piece of art works, how a form of communication works and the structure behind it.
What are the processes for that 'thing', how did it come into the world, how did people make it? All these questions lead me to want to find ways to break things and find the edges where things don't work as well. The boundary in-between things working and not working is always interesting to me.
How does your Curiosity serve your Creativity?
It's the big drive behind what I do, the interest and...obsession into how something is made leads me to learn and collect new skills. I then want to find ways to use those new skills in my practice, in the work I want to make. It's a big part of how things even get started for me.
I always discover things along the way. I think some people have an idea beforehand, they sketch it out and take steps to bring the initial idea to life but for me I am always exploring the processes so I have a rough idea of what I want to experiment with but most of the time I don't know what the outcome will be. All I know is that I am going to set myself on a path and then I see where I go from there.
For me the idea of having a plan from the beginning is scary, having to stick to something, it makes me feel you could miss opportunities along the way. I feel more comfortable going in blind.
It is still somewhat of a 'rules' based approach though, I select a few techniques I am going to work with and then make small variations within them and I'll keep working with them over and over again until I am in a place where I am happy or interesting results start to take shape.
I think that way of creating helps reduce that inner critical voice, if I started with a plan then there's room for those 'what are you doing!?" thoughts but by being experimental with no expectation of the result there's nothing to pre-maturely critique and edit. Of course that voice still comes up, right at the end or when editing but I just put it out in the world and let it be, let other people tell me how they see it. The reactions are always surprising, they're not always positive but that can be quite fun, to see the things people get upset about.
What Inspires you?
Initially it's the processes, I set out wanting to learn about character and character modelling in 3D and playing with those tools is a really weird feeling. It's kind of like playing with dolls but you have to think about all the physical decisions people make to express an emotion.
There are a set of 12 sliders which move the lips or the eyebrows etc and by finding the right percentage combination you get something that looks like a genuine emotion but yet it is and can be weird and uncomfortable. I like finding those edges and skating along them...it makes you think a little more about what it means to be human.
When seeking inspiration I tend to draw a lot from visual culture in general, I am big into Tumblr and can spend hours scrolling through photography, sculpture and fashion imagery.
I also regularly go back to classical art, Renaissance painting in particular is always inspiring. Rubens is a big influence in terms of rendering the body, the shapely forms, floating figures. Lucien Freud too of course, the way he plays with the form but then breaking the form apart too.
How would you describe your Style?
I think about the way I want to present myself, I try to be a little put together but not too much. I use well considered details but nothing overly formal.
I definitely have the typical artist habit of wearing and buying too much black, it's easy, goes with everything, is always flattering. I alternate phases between button up shirts and t-shirts.
I am drawn to well designed accessories, particularly a clean, crisp, fresh pair of sneakers. Things like bags that are well constructed but also just look good.
I would like to be able to wear suits at some point, in my older age I would like to move into that stage of my wardrobe. In fact I just met some of my new teaching colleagues and a few rock some pretty eccentric suits so it did occur to me that the opportunity may have arrived.
What do you particularly like about Wool & Water?
I like the craftsmanship, the well considered details. The nice balance between handmade and a high level of finishing. There's a lot of thought in it, the packaging, the un-boxing experience, how it is presented to the world. It shows when people care about what they are doing.
"When I wear my W&W Bow Tie I feel...
...like a time traveller."
Mike's W&W piece of choice is the Black & White Marl Bow Tie made in 100% Eco Cotton.
To learn more about Mike's work and see more visit his website: www.mikepelletier.net