Maxim Mitenkov is a designer from Belarus known for his mystical photo manipulations. Today, we will discuss how Maxim got his start as a designer, his inspiration, his technique, and style.
Q Hello, welcome to the PSDTUTS! Please, introduce yourself, tell us briefly about yourself, where are you from, and how did you start in digital art?
Hi everyone! My name is Maxim Mitenkov, better known in network as Vimark. I live in the city of Minsk, Belarus. I have been a digital artist since 2006 when I signed up for the site worth1000.com. Before that I was involved in the "domestic market" where I created illustrations for flyers, logos and corporate identity elements. Before that, I was studying and teaching. I am self-trained, learned mostly from books (design essentials, coloring, composition, etc.), online tutorials and guru advice.
Worth1000 gave me the opportunity to participate in competitions. These were illustration and corporate style contests. There I learned to work logically and purposefully. In addition, it helped to systematize knowledge and to optimize the work, since there were only a few days given for the development of the contest project. During those days you had to introduce an idea and implement it. I won a couple of contests, . Basically this is how I started. Now my gallery is located on Deviantart. I am there for more than 2 years. I work rather for pleasure.
Q How would you describe your work, your style – your approach to design and illustration?
Mostly I work in the genre of photo manipulation. My work is my hobby: I get to work only when I have ideas, when I “feel” the them. My illustrations are full of fantasy and surrealism. There are works done in bright colors, and ones done in dark colors. This is a reflection of my mood. In my works I try to express a different perspective, from an outside point of view. It is hard to say that works have a certain style, only the viewer can determine that. I just try to make my works look as it is.
QCould you tell us briefly about your career? What is your favorite project? Tell us about your current or upcoming projects.
I never really thought about my career. I did illustrations for rock bands. The "Random Reality” project came out to be quite an interesting one. I was in it for several months. As a result there appeared three interrelated illustrations. Briefly, this project was born in the elevator and is about the ride in an elevator. The idea was that if you type a certain key combination on the keyboard of the elevator, it can take you to a different reality. So later the first poster became the album cover for metal band GranDesign – "Time Elevation", and the second poster got Daily Deviation on deviantart. I should say I love all my projects. I work beyond the pale, everything is given to imagination. I work, when I’m ready (the ideas). I am currently working on the project "Invasion". It is about the invasion of another reality into ours, or vice versa – our reality into another. This is sort of yin-yang.
QTell us about the programs you work in. Give some tips you want to share with us.
I spend a great deal of my time in Photoshop (I started in version 5). I am ok with everything in the program: it has a logical interface, elaborate features and settings. I use 3Dmax and CorelDraw too. I think that in order to work comfortably with any software product you need to understand the philosophy of the program and then it will go easy enough. I do not like giving advice. The main thing is that you have to trust and believe in yourself.
QCould you tell about your workflow, what does it look like, what steps does it consists of?
A workflow consists of three steps (probably like with anyone else): the search for ideas and details enhancement, search for necessary materials, idea’s implementation. I let the process of search for ideas take it course. I do not force myself: moreover I just wait for the idea to come itself. Usually, it hovers around in my head, do not miss it! Then I think it over, bring it in the head to more sharp-cut shape. After that, I look for the materials needed for its implementation. To do this I use my photos (I have been into photography not long ago, but I have a large base of my shots from trips, hikes, etc.). I take some additional pictures, use stock photo resources. I go through several stages, when I create an illustration, I try not to finish the work in one go. It is necessary for excess removal and for getting back to work with fresh mind. You may have to give up some of the ideas, as they stop “shining” in the process of implementation.
QI know that many of your works are used without your consent, how do you fight against this. Can you recommend something for designers, who find themselves in the same situation?
Yes, this is a big problem. It is quite difficult to monitor each theft. In such cases I try to contact the thief and ask him not to do so again. Only together can we fight theft, this is how it works on Deviantart. If the work is stolen, and someone finds it, the author almost immediately became well-known. And then comes along the fight with a thief.
QWhat are your favorite web sites that you visit before starting a new project? What pulls your attention to them? What makes them unique?
Most often I use stock site sxc.hu in my work. I participate in this project myself (there are more than 400 pictures of mine). Main advantages: high resolution imaging, satisfactory image quality, minimal restrictions for use. Web site administration selects images, monitors the quality. Thus, everyone who is involved in this project has his or her own benefits. Designers receive the necessary material, photographers promote their works. In addition, there takes place communication, constructive criticism.
QYour works are unique. Can you tell us what inspires you? Can you give a particular example of how the idea of making an artwork was created?
Thank you for the kind words. Ideas are born when and where they want, sometimes even in the most unexpected places. Conversation, words, music or view out of the window sometimes lead to the creation of an idea. For example, it happened with the project named – “F ** ck off”. I was coming back from work very tired. On my way I saw the statue on the square. Its head was stained with pigeons. "How much can you take?" – came to my mind. And here where the idea was born. What if one day the statue tired of nasty birds will gave the answer. Patience must be exhaustible. So this is how the work appeared, which, in my opinion, represents the readiness to fight. As the saying is – the spark can cause the flame!
QTime is the topic of many of your works, what inspires you to create these projects?
Time. This topic is very tremendous and significant for everyone. Time affects everyone. Once I wanted to stop time, and there appeared «Stop time» artwork (by the way it’s one of my first more or less serious works). It seemed to me after that that time is running out, and so there appeared «Time is gone» artwork. Recently, I wondered how time is being made, and as a result there appeared artwork – «Creation of time». This project is not completed yet. It seems to me that I will return to it not once in my creativity.
QWhat is the most important thing you have learned after you started doing design? How does it help you now?
Trust yourself and believe in yourself. I like the Archimedes quote: "Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the world."
QHow do you see yourself in 5-10 years in the design industry? What are the goals you want to achieve by this time?
I really would like to participate in exhibitions. I hope that by that time interest to my work will allow me to exhibit my works. Besides I really want to try a hand in traditional art for example, in painting. But time and money is not enough for this. But the most important thing is not to lose the desire to create.
QThanks for the interview. It was a pleasure talking to you. A few final thoughts. What would you wish the designers reading this interview?
Thank you too. I wish more ideas! Big and bright ideas, which do not let you sleep and give you the desire to create.
Maxim Mitenkov on Web