Avatars of Absurd - Michal Mierzejewski

The artistic identity of Michał Mierzejewski is an eclectic bundle of graphic designs, animations and 3D-rendered images. In all of those media, Mierzejewski is equally untamed and ready to push the boundaries of creativity in all possible directions, leading to weird and surprising constellations of images. The artist attended the Polish-Japanese University of Computer Technology, which is a renewed school for computer-based graphic design, where pursued an MA in Visual Communication. Having a cemented artistic education was useful for having a project-management background and a lot of soft skills necessary for navigating the art world and stimulating one’s own creativity through approaching problems in unusual ways. Yet,

Mierzejewski believes that art education is by no means necessary for pursuing an artistic career and a lot of one’s artistic path depends on the individual, meticulous exploration of the themes of interest, rather than hoping for an art academy to instil those ideas in you. As initial inspirations go, Mierzejewski is enigmatic and points towards his constant experience of drawing and experimenting with re-working his sketches. This process, supported by the knowledge of computer programs, lead him to computer graphic design, and then making his drawings in three-dimensional animations – the division between those two sides of his practice is reflected in two separated Instagram accounts - @kredenswproszku, which covers his sketches and animations of them, and @corenick, which showcases the 3-D images. Both of those channels are constantly fuelled by what Mierzejewski calls ‘an Internet-based flow of absurd’, which takes into account all possible Internet-based forms of expressions, like Youtube videos or memes. This ever-present absurdity pushed Mierzejewski toward a slightly more surrealist convention of style, naturally suitable for his out of control compositions. He emphasises the freedom of interpretation that comes with his visual riddles.

For Mierzejewski, David OReilly, a well-known filmmaker and game developer, is one of the sources of inspiration, especially when it comes to his animations, which make the digital side the very forefront of the work, joyfully exploring the potential of an animated medium in a way, which to many might seem exaggerated. The dynamism of OReilly’s animations plays well with the absurdity of Mierzejewski’s animations. One of his most recent works, a ‘mystical fairy cyborg’, as he describes it, features an impressively built skeleton, consisting of flowers, leaves and pieces of cutlery, all rendered in pink metallic. The headpiece worn by the ‘fairy’ appears Transformer-inspired but hear facial features while conforming with a uniform, mainstream beauty standard of symmetrical face, have an angular quality to them, which renders them somewhat aggressive. The background is a romantic open window with flowing curtains, in which the fairy stands, floating in the wind. Mierzejewski’s works have a quality of easily tapping into a convention of a careful computer-game-character rendering but take the viewer’s breath away upon close inspection, with their funny or absurd details. The works he made for his Master’s diploma have also explored the theme of fairies – he created an ‘Avatar Body Shope’, a project for which he interviewed his friends about fantastic bodies they would like to build. Many of us might have wondered about or wished for a feature enabling to completely personalise our avatars, a feature which is always limited by the convention or a theme of the video game. One of the fairy characters born out of this project, is a green slender figure, with long red crystals growing out of her back and grass and succulents on her torso.

Avatar, Michal Mierzejewski, 2021

From the video game fascination, there arises a sense of nostalgia for the 1990s in Mierzejewski’s works, for the sharp, contrasting colours, funny characters, some illusionistic, almost gimmicky visual tricks. This nostalgia in his case does not lead to any repetition but is taken to another level, one on which he turns it inside-out and exaggerates everything that can be exaggerated. The artist speaks about how his everyday life in Poland still bears traces of the 1990s, the grey concrete landscape of estates, which populate many of the large Polish cities, acting as a stimulus to push in an opposite direction – one that is shiny, sleek, colourful and ‘swag’. In his words, it is difficult to shake off the influence of going from black and white visuals and Gameboys to a three-dimensional rendering since the 2000s. Mierzejewski’s 3-D animations have made him one of the leading artists in terms of music video commissions, a field which worldwide has been eager to experiment with a variety of animations produced by digital artists. A number of established stars of the Polish music scene like Natalia Przybysz, VTSS or music event producer Wixapol found Mierzejewski’s work to speak to their, very different, artistic aims and identities.

Cartoons from channels like Cartoon Networks which shaped the childhoods of many kids around the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s are another point of departure for Mierzejewski’s style. He explores them more in-depth on his Instagram account @kredenswproszku (‘powder cupboard’ – a name which, again, reflects his affinity with the absurd) but they make an appearance in his 3-D works and animations as well. In his ‘New tank design for Japanese army’, an elongated head of a girl figurine with ponytails is embedded on a brightly coloured tank’s tracks. A clear blue sky with soft-looking clouds is one of the reoccurring motives in his works, bringing a sense of a dream-like quality, reminiscent of some of the works of the key Surrealists like Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali.

Music video by Michal Mierzejewski for WIXAPOL, 2019

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