Mike Winklemann aka Beeple is a graphic artist, video director and photographer from Neenah, Wisconsin. You may not have heard of him, but his work has been featured on Wired.com, Coolhunting.com, Pitchfork.com and other prominent websites. He also had some of his work screened at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Ann Arbor Film Festival and other festivals throughout the country. One of his works won best animation in the 2007 Milwaukee 24 Hour Film Festival. He is recently best known for directing the latest Flying Lotus video for the song “Kill Your Co-Workers”, which has received over 100,000 views on Vimeo.com since October 5, 2010. He was also a finalist the first annual Vimeo Festival & Awards.
Beeple's "Instrumental Video Nine" – Finalist For The First Annual Vimeo Festival & Awards
I got a chance to talk to Beeple over the phone about his work, inspirations, and how he got the opportunity to direct Flying Lotus latest video for the song "Kill Your Co-Workers."
(CAUTION: VIDEO CONTAINS 3D ANIMATED VIOLENCE AND NOT MEANT FOR THE KIDDIES)
Originally from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, Beeple went to school for computer science at Purdue in Indiana and when we graduated he decided he was more interested in design than computer programming. While at school studying computer science, Beeple spent a lot of time working on design and short films. Beeple started to teach himself 3d amination using a program called Cinema 4d.
His first 3D animated film took about 5 months to create and it is called “Subprime.” The short film was about the current economic situation of America at the time. The music in the short was produced by Minneapolis electronic band Nobot. The video has received a close to a half a million views since April of 2009. The video was actually meant to be as a learning exercise and not to be made as strong social commentary of the current economic times. Beeple even made the source files of the video available for a free download for anyone to use and/or remix.
Beeple went on to create an amazing portfolio of video work, which you can view and download the source files from his site. Then a few months back, Beeple did an interview for one of Flying Lotus friend’s site createdigitalmotion.com. Flying Lotus saw some of Beeple’s work via Lotus’ friend and then email him out of blue and asked them to do a music video for him. At the time, Beeple never heard of Flying Lotus work, but he is big fan of the music on Lotus’ label Warp Records. Beeple created a video for Flying Lotus’ song “Kill All Your Co-Workers” from his album “Pattern + Grid World” on Warp Records. The 3D video starts off with a very happy and sunny parade then turns real ‘bloody’. He also made the video source file available for free download.
“When the video is released I will also be posting all of the 3D animation project files on my website so that people can see exactly how each shot and every character was animated. They are also free to use these 3D models and scenes in any way they’d like. I like to think of it as sort of an “open source video” in that all of the pieces of the project are also released for people to do what they’d like with.”
Music plays a huge influence and inspiration for Beeple’s creations. He is a big fan of Flying Lotus’ album Cosmogramma, Four Tet’s latest album, Tortosie and other electronic music. As far as a dream artist who we would love to a video for he told me any artist off of the Warp Records label would be his ideal client.
He will also be working on the post-production for the latest Erykah Badu video, which will be directed by Flying Lotus. It will be for the song “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long.”
You can listen to my entire interview with Beeple below. (download)