Computer Arts: How did you get into VJing and what does it entail?
Michaela Chmelickova: I first got into VJing six years ago, when I studied visual communication at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava. This was where I learned to use VJ software, and realised I absolutely loved it. Even though I did visuals sporadicly in venues around Bratislava, it was at the Nu Spirit Club where I started doing them on a regular basis. I really enjoy making visuals for live music and I love the way I can use them to add to the overall atmosphere. To me, making live visuals means taking on the responsibility for the way the audience experience the performance.
Bespoke visuals are much better than just playing random images from the web. I believe it's the VJ's job to be prepared for the show, to be willing to actively listen to the music and be guided by it. Ideally the VJ and musician spur each other on. I always try my best to capture the flow of the music with moving images – though I'm not against the narrative approach, either. What I like most is when the VJ and musician interact directly during the performance.
CA: How do you create and then project these visuals?
MC: It's always the concept I begin with. I listen to the music I'm going to make visuals for; I make some sketches and drawings and transform my ideas into vectors, which I animate later on. I use the Resolume VJ software, to mix the images in real-time, and also use a midi-controller.
It usually takes me several days to get ready for a performance. What I find challenging is making visuals for music that's not really my cup of tea. On the other hand, I also put a lot of time and effort in preparing visuals for a performer whose music I really like and want to make really good visuals for.
CA: How did you get into design and how would you describe you style?
MA: I stumbled into graphic design when I was little. As a kid, at primary school, I used to make my own magazines and sell them to my classmates. After primary school, I went to an art school and then did my master’s in graphic design.
I'd describe my style as: simple, lively, geometric, vibrant, funky, sci-fi, futuristic. I often make use of nostalgia. I draw inspiration from my childhood, from PC games, comic books or kids' TV shows from the 80s. I often get inspired quite randomly. For instance, when I'm on the bus or train. There's a link between the landscapes unfolding outside the window and live visuals on the screen. In a way, they're the same thing.