Close Up interview with story teller Michael from dystopika

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I find these difficult because I don’t really love talking about myself.  I’m a writer/storyteller with lifelong interest in animation.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you create animation?

There’s always a story to be told, even in a tiny looping animation.  I may spend several hours on an animation that lasts 1 second, but that second will loop infinitely and I want to hold people’s attention for as long as I can.

The Fried Egg Rain! by Marie Widolf, Animation by

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Private. Loyal. Funny. Creative. Inscrutable.

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

First job was working at a local community college bookstore.  Summer before senior year of high school, I think. Had to get a permit to work there, because of my age.  My mom helped me get that job, because she’d worked there for a spell. It introduced me to the quiet misery of a 9-5 day job.

After high school, I went to NYU to study Dramatic Writing and Film for four years.  Then plunged into 9-5 office jobs, just to make money and do the creative work on the side.

How do you usually plan your daily activities?

There’s work — the things that absolutely have to be done — and there’s the creative work that I explore in whatever free time I’ve got on any particular day.

Crazy Kitten came across a helium balloon
Artwork by Carrie Webster & Animation by @dystopika 

As an artist, what is your biggest frustration?

It always comes down to money.  Money facilitates and complicates.  I would love to be able to focus on my creative work full time.  At the same time, I have done exactly that, and the creative work can become as much drudgery as a 9-5 job where you don’t care about what you’re doing; in some ways, it can be worse because you DO care about what you’re doing.  When someone is paying you, it changes the nature of the work. You are no longer the sole author of the work — it’s you plus the person who has invested in this. Which is why I’ve not profited off of most of the animation I’ve made in the past few years.  I’d rather give it away for free and do it for the love, rather than having the creative process stymied by money, or getting paid a lot less than what I think my time is worth.

How do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

I am admittedly poor at networking.  I like the work, I’m terrible at the business, which is the prime reason it’s taken me so long to respond to these questions.  I’ve made advances through the magic of social media, though. and instagram are where I’ve found a home.

Gertrude’s Runaway Chickens
Artwork by Marie Widolf & Animation by @dystopika 

Your advice to an artist who is just starting out?

People say to save your money but it’s hard to save money when you’re starting out and barely making anything.  But the trick to the long-term survival of any business is being able to operate during the leanest stretches. You’re an artist, you’re a business.

How did you find out about ArtSHINE?

Through various artists on instagram.

What is your proudest moment so far?

I’m afraid I don’t have that.  A moment I’d take the most pride in.  I’ve got moments that were once proud and have turned bittersweet over a longer period of time.  I’ve got a lot of humbling moments. Moments when I’ve been knocked down in my career. It’s nice whenever people heap praise upon my work, but it’s always tempered by the humbling moments.  A life in the arts is all about long-term survival. Weathering the setbacks, focusing and re-focusing on the things you love in the art that you make.

Green Owl family with Crazy Kitten
Artwork by Carrie Webster & Animation by @dystopika

Who do you most want to meet and why?

Anyone who can help.

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

Tomorrow’s always an opportunity to do better than today.

Where do we find you and your products?

Gertrude’s Pilates With Aubergines
Artwork by Marie Widoft & Animation by @dystopika

About The Author

I am a Business LifeStyle coach who specialises in working with artists, designers, crafters and all creative professionals. Myself and my partner Stuart Horrex are here to help you to achieve your Life & business goal and dreams. We have had over 20 years experience in finance, retail,furniture,food,wine fashion,crafts and hospitality.

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