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Fortunato, by Micah

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Micah's Instagram: @mitcah

A Conversation with the Artist
We interviewed Micah about his views and artistic journey.
The Full Conversation:
Micah’s InterviewABFA Zine
00:00 / 27:14

Timestamps next to each interview question correspond with the audio version. If there are certain parts of the conversation you'd like to listen to in full detail, feel free to skip around. 


What inspired you to join the zine as both an artist and an editor? [0:21]


Micah: Yeah. I remember it was a while back when we talked about doing a Zine. You seemed really on board, I was really on board — It just seemed really interesting. And I just really liked the group of people in our Discord, so I knew it’d be nice to do it with you guys. As for the reason I submitted: I don't know. I was a part of it, and, you know, I thought it was fun. 

What was the creative process like making it? Was there a specific approach you took or obstacles you faced in the process? [1:26]


Yeah. I knew I wanted to do something with my partner, Mavi. So, I had sketched up a couple of ideas of just the kind of things that I wanted to do with them. Originally, I had this idea for us to be on a ferris wheel, but I didn’t really like it. But, I really liked the faces I drew in the original sketch because I think they look like us. So I took our faces from that, sized them up, and just went that direction with us laying in the grass. It’s a calm, peaceful moment.


Interviewer: I love the little ladybug on your cheek. I didn't even notice it until looking at it up close, but It's adorable. I love it.


Thank you! Mavi told me a story about when they were little — they would look for ladybugs with six dots specifically, or just an even number of dots. And if you found one of those, that meant that you were lucky. So I put it on me because I'm lucky.



So, this next question is something I think about a lot. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always associated specific music or songs with pieces of artwork. I was wondering if you ever connect music with art, and if so how? [3:20]


Um, so this sounds- all of this is really cheesy. But Mavi and I made a shared playlist on spotify. So I just listened to it while making this piece. There’s a couple Animal Crossing songs on our playlist that I really like, more specifically. I think their vibe really connects with this piece.


Hm. I've never listened to the Animal Crossing music.


It's good. I really recommend it!



Speaking more broadly about your art, are there particular artists, concepts, or colour palettes that inspire your work? [5:09]


I should have made a list before this, of artists, but now I cannot remember. I'm very inspired by a lot of artists on Instagram, smaller artists, actually. And as a whole medium, I’m very inspired by digital art. I just think it's beautiful. There's a lot to it, and I've always been really into vibrant colours and cool effects. And I don't know, just pieces that make you look at them for a long time. 


Vibrant colours — I like that too. My artwork is really colour driven. 


In terms of your art, do you ever explore mediums other than visual art? (Music, writing, etc) [6:22]


I'd say yes. I used to play the piano, but I wasn't very good at it so I stopped. I'd like to go on to other things. I really like music, I really like photography, I think films are really interesting — yeah. There's a lot of creative things I'd like to do. But at the moment, I would say, drawing and photography are the only mediums I work with currently. 


That’s dope. How long have you been doing photography for? 


I started photography my freshman year. I actually took it because my counselor was like, you have an extra elective, is there anything you wanted to take? And I was like, “I guess I'll take photography.” I never tried it before, but I really fell in love with it. So it's nice.


It’s cool that school was what got you into photography.


What are your earliest memories involving creative expression? [7:55]


I was in middle school when I really started doing art. Like, I had always liked to doodle, but middle school was when I really wanted to be an artist. That's when I would say my journey really started. But even as a kid, I was always drawing pictures. The other day my dad showed me a bunch of pictures I had drawn with crayons, and they weren't great at all, but I just loved drawing whatever. And then my childhood — let's see. I guess I've always been kind of just a creative person. And I really liked colouring things. I was always drawing on stuff I probably shouldn't have been drawing on.


Like the walls and stuff?


Yeah, I drew on the walls. There's a lot of- a lot of drawings on our living room walls that my mom has covered up with other artwork.


Oh my god hahaha — It's not even painted over?  You guys just put another painting over It.


Yeah! It seems just- like a good memory.


I mean, true. I have this wall in my room that all my friends come and draw on. My mom was like, 

“Okay, this is nice, but they're drawing on our wall.” And I said

 “Yeah, don't worry; I'll paint over it.” She responded,

 “oh, okay, but you know what? That's also kind of sad. Because once you paint over it like it’ll be gone. Because it’s kind of a memento from high school.”

 And I was just kind of like, “Yeah.”

 So it's nice that your mom just puts paintings over your drawings. You can still look back on them.



How have people in your personal life influenced your art journey? [10:27]


So, I thought I wasn't going to be an artist for a long time. It’s not that I didn't want to, but everybody wanted me to go into STEM. And I've always been pretty good at math and science, but I just, I don't know; I wasn't passionate about it. My mom has always just been a huge encouragement my entire life though, telling me to follow my dreams and not focus on what other people wanted me to do, because art is what I really wanted to do. Then my sibling — they're an artist as well. And I remember growing up, watching them draw, and just absolutely loving their stuff. I’ve seen them grow as an artist throughout the years too. 

You know, I'm going to college soon, and I'm taking the same courses that my sibling did. All the teachers know them, and it's kind of cool to have that in my family. 


Kinda like following — not really following in their footsteps, but like going through the same kind of thing that they're doing?


Yeah. Because they really inspire me. So it's been like, pretty cool. 


In general, are there any themes or topics that inform your artwork? [13:47]


Yeah. My entry was more of an emotional piece for me to kind of just show my love. But for other pieces — I have done a lot of my self portraits that deal with my mental health — depression, anxiety, things I go through. And then I've done pieces for animal shelters to raise awareness about adoption — I've done some photography and some like art pieces about that. Let's see. I'm very passionate about a lot of things. And I want to do a lot more with my art in that sense. So definitely on that track, I probably haven't done it as much as I'd like to though.


Is there a topic you’re hoping to portray in your work, that you haven't already?


Yeah. So, I'm transgender, and I really want to bring more awareness to the LGBTQ+ community. And with my art, I just think, you know, I would like to explore being more comfortable with me being trans. It's been kind of difficult for me to kind of be okay with myself, I guess. And then, I'm really passionate about the environment —global warming. I'd like to do some pieces on that. That's all I can think of right now. 


I mean, it's a lot. And it sounds great — I look forward to seeing those artworks. 


Do you ever feel obligated for your work to have a “deeper,” or more profound, meaning? Do you think that “deeper” meaning makes artwork more valuable? [15:56]


Not necessarily. I think that sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Certain pieces definitely should have meaning, but some pieces I think should just be fun.L Like, I do a lot of character design, and I don't think that character design needs to have a meaning. It's just like fun — playing with shapes and color. 


Whenever you have artwork that does have, I guess, more of a deeper meaning, do you ever feel hesitant to tell people the meaning behind your artwork? 

Oh, definitely. I don't think I tell anyone, honestly. Because sometimes I don't even really understand my emotions myself.  I'll draw something like how it feels. And I, I'm just an emotional person. And so sometimes I can't even identify what I'm feeling. So it just kind of is there. But yeah, the things that are like that I know of I don't usually tell people, you know, unless they ask about it.


Is it like, kind of, because like, you know, you want to keep it to yourself? Or like you said, because you talked about some things you don't understand fully. And so, like you're still in the process of processing it. 


Sometimes I process it much later. And I'll be like, Oh, yeah, like, that's what this piece is. And sometimes I process it, you know, as I am doing it. And like the ones that I do, like, no. I rarely tell people just because I want to keep it to myself. So yeah.


How much do you think creative ability is an innate talent? Versus a skill, you can work at over time? [18:51]


I think I'm generally a creative person, but my art technique is just a skill that I have built over time. I think anybody can do art — anybody can do anything if they just practice. I guess you have to have certain traits to, I don't know, be passionate enough to actually want to practice, and that's different for everybody. But I think that the way I am now is not because I had it in me, but because I learned how to do it.


I agree, I think anyone can be an artist if they practice. So I guess it’s like a combination of both. Yeah. Um, do you believe in (and this is not like out of the questions we had originally written down, but) Do you believe in such a thing as the “artist's soul”? I don't even know what that means. But like, do you have an idea of what it means? Does it mean anything to you — the phrase “the artist's soul?”


I guess a little bit. I don't think it's necessarily an artist, but I think just being creative. Like anything in the creative field — having that sort of mind, I guess, to be open to ideas.. I don't know if that even makes sense. And I think that even if you don't have an “artist's soul,” you could still do art, you could do whatever. But I think that, yeah, I guess some people, I can see people having more creativity in them than others.


What do you think differentiates people who have more creativity? What do you think makes someone who's naturally more creative than others?


Oh, god, I don't know. I don't know. It's just kind of something I think- I don't know. You see things differently, I guess? Yeah, I really don't know. 


I mean, yeah, the reason I'm asking is that I have no clue either hahaha. I wanted to get your opinion. Yeah, I have no idea either. But I agree. I think there's certainly people who I see tend to be like, just naturally very creative. Like — they are just full of ideas. 


Going back to your creative process, what role do you think emotions play in it? [22:26]


A lot. In general, I am an emotional person, and not a very logical person, unfortunately. So, I would say my emotion completely drives my art. I think it's also kind of when I'm feeling an overwhelming emotion. Sometimes it's great — I use art as an outlet to let that emotion out. Or sometimes if I'm feeling that overwhelming emotion, I can't even do art. Like physically, it's too much. So, yeah, it really drives whether I even do it. And a lot of my pieces the way I'm feeling is often reflected in the piece.


Like even if you didn't mean it to, the emotion affects the final outcome. 


Yeah, exactly. 


Our last question — what’s something that’s made you smile this week? [25:44]


There, once again, it's so embarrassing, but Mavi. They've been a huge support and just it's been amazing talking to them. I talk to them every day. And they always make me smile and laugh, and, I don't know. It's good because, you know, they're a friend, too. And just in general — friendships, relationships, human connection — it always makes me smile. 


That's not embarrassing at all. Man, that's freaking beautiful. I hope Mavi listens to this. That'd be amazing. 


They probably will. Hi Mavi!



The Abridged Version:
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