NEST HQ was created with the intention of being a platform aimed at promoting and encouraging the growth of artists of all genres and mediums. While we’ve worked mostly within music up to this point, we are expanding on a new content series that will showcase multimedia artists of various backgrounds including painters, graphic designers, architects, and others of the sort; this is installation. Every other week, we’ll post hand-selected pieces from our featured artists via our Instagram @nesthq, along with excerpts from the full interviews which will be posted on the Friday of that week.
This week on installation we present photographer Mikesbutt.
Mikesbutt is an incredibly out of the box artist. His photography is resourceful, cunning, and highly visceral. Read on below to get to know Mike’s story and influences.
Can you tell us a bit about how your story as a photographer began?
Growing up in Connecticut, my friends and I got video cameras to make videos of ourselves skating and running around doing weird shit. Later in life I moved to California to work in motion pictures. Photography always seemed like a fun alternative to motion pictures and my friends and I dabbled in it when we got a chance. Around 2013 I started to take more and more photos and it became a passion. Those photos were mostly of my roommate jumping off our house or burying his face in the ground.
At what point did you realize that art was something you’d be doing long term?
It was in high school when I got the sense that expressing myself through photography or film would be the job I would choose to pursue.
What is the reason for the medium you chose to become proficient in? What does this medium allow you to do that other mediums may not?
Photography was able to offer the same amount of pleasure that a short film or music video would; I began to enjoy the process more. It was usually just me and one other person and we were able to shoot multiple photos in one day. I highly enjoyed the ability to accomplish so much with so little. I got really bogged down with editing music videos, I think it might be a dyslexic thing — I have trouble with things like multiple choice tests or reading menus. There are many routes to editing a music video and I never felt that I reached the best option. The photography that I have been experimenting in is a little more cookie-cut in a way that keeps me more focused.
Much of your work manages to capture an organized representation of otherwise catastrophic situations – what does movement in photography mean to you?
I am highly attracted to photos that involve action. I like to look at a photo and guess where the subject started from and where he is going, or where he is falling too; falling is great – it’s either funny or dangerous. Gravity within photography reminds me of my skating years and having to rely on physical intuition.
The rest of your work deals with somewhat surrealist themes – are these projects metaphorical and thought out, or more random and spur of the moment?
Most of my photography is thought out for at least a day or two before the shoot. I would like to get better at spur of the moment photos. I think I tend to lean towards photos that would make me laugh or involve some simple photoshop that looks too easy to be fake.
What were the inspirations behind these 3 pieces specifically?
(bike photo) This fence was in front of a bank down the street from my house. It had been hit by a car or something and left broken. This was actually the first day I shot photos with Jordan Steinert (@astrobandit) and I had only met her about 2 hours prior to this photo… I asked her if she was comfortable in laying face down in the ground in a fence, she was all about it – we have been working together ever since… In this photos she is 100% balanced with her full weight on her face, I stitched in the bike and cut out a ladder that was being used to help her balance.
(sideways wall photo) I shot this photo coming home one morning at like 7am, it is definitely the earliest photo I have ever shot. I had my camera on a tripod and used an intervalometer to take a photo every second and I went out and balanced my hip on a ladder and placed my feet against the wall. I was alone on this one so I ended up resetting the camera about 5 times. This was also taken on a really busy street next to a street light so people were watching me the entire time and I was sweating balls.
(hair hang photo) This was one of my favorite photos for a while but it got posted to a blog and got endless hate comments about how racist and sexist this photo is… I was shocked and haven’t been able to enjoy it the same haha I definitely had no hateful intentions and just liked the idea of someone hanging by their hair… This photo was done in two pieces, we really tied her hair to the branch and had her step on a ladder for the top half of her body and we untied her hair and had her hang by her arms to get the second half plate…
What are some of the defining moments in your career so far? How have they affected the way you approach your art and your creations?
Feedback from friends and strangers has been a huge motivating factor to these photos. Hearing people’s different interpretations of the photos has been beautiful and highly inspiring, and usually gives me an idea of how to try and trick them next.
What are some other artists that you are currently into?
Ryan Schude is definitely one of my favorite photographers, his book is amazing. I also highly enjoy Ben Zank. My favorite IG account right now is @without_shank, everything they post is slightly surreal or disturbing in a great way.
What are some of your goals for 2016?
I would love to shoot a few organized series before the end of the year. It;s something I never did on purpose but I love to look at other artists’ work and awe in their ability to organize wild thoughts into galleries.
Why did you choose these pieces to represent yourself on this spread?
These are a few photos that I feel are the closest to the style of photography that I enjoy making most. Some involve lots of post work and some not at all. My goal is to blend the world of practical stunts and simple photoshop.