Beeple is the pseudonym for Mike Winklemann’s personal work that includes short films, live visuals, graphic design, music and drawings.
You’re about to take a peek inside Mike Winkelmann’s head. It’s fascinating, really. His creations are playful, mechanical and highly complex. He’s a huge influence on many. Still, he refers to his work as “crap.”
You describe your work as ‘crap.’ It’s kind of ironic because you’re work is quite good.
I do think most of it is crap. Just because if I’m looking at something, I’m gauging myself against the best people in that field: whether it be modeling, etc. I don’t have one specialty. It’s a mash of a bunch of different things. I honestly don’t like about 75-80% of my work.
What’s your style?
I get interested in different things at different times. Sometimes, I’ll be interested in something more technical or more robotic like Instrumental Video 9 or Transparent Machines™ . Then sometimes I’ll be interested in stuff that’s a little more playful… characters that are a little more kiddish like Kill Your Co-workers or Instrumental Video 10.
Do you ever collaborate with other artist?
Not very often just because I’m kind of a control freak. I’m a little anal about how I want things. I don’t know. It’s something I fantasize about, “Oh man, I should get some people to work with me on this next thing.” I’d like to try it in the future, but I don’t know how that would work.
You make all your project files available through the creative commons license. Why?
People put up tutorials and stuff like that… It’s my way of giving something back. Hopefully, someone could learn from it. I love seeing people use the clips for different things.
After I render out the clip, I’m never going back to most project files. So, if somebody else could get something out of it then – great.
Have you seen a video that was used from your project files?
The VJ clips are playing all over the world every single night. We went to Hong Kong a couple years ago and saw them there.
As far as the project files, I don’t see a lot of that stuff. It’s definitely getting downloaded a decent amount. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people are using it as projects for their schools.
When you start a project, do you storyboard it or do you feel your way through it?
I almost never storyboard. I’ll have a rough idea of what I’m looking for but it’s never like a super strict process. If anything, I’ll have one very long sketch so I don’t forget my initial idea. The short films evolve over time. It’s endless amount of experimentation.
How do you describe yourself as an artist?
I never went to art school and I never worked with other artist. I went to school for computer science. I think I approach things a little different than a lot of other artists. I look at things less mystical… I see things for what they are.
It’s not so cerebral. It’s more like a puzzle. If it fits, it makes sense.
Yeah, I either like it or I don’t. I’m not going to think about it more than that. It either looks cool or it doesn’t.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on another short film. It’s pretty early so I’m not really sure where it’s going to go.
Can you tell us anything about it?
It’s definitely in its infancy. Who knows by the end what it will turn into. Maybe I’ll move on to another idea. It usually takes a while of playing around to get some traction. If I have enough time invested into it, I need to see it through.
In part 2, see why Beeple creates an design a day and why he thinks you should too. Read more about Beeple’s Everyday Projects.