#85: Thadeaous Mighell
Bright and community-minded, Thadeaous Mighell devotes his skills in arts administration and practice to causes both aboveground, as Adam Lerner’s recently named Assistant Chief Animator at MCA Denver, and under the radar in the DIY community, working with groups like Unit E and the Birdseed Collective. A living example of the next wave of doers who make art adventures happen, Mighell shares his open-minded views for the 100CC questionnaire.
What (or who) is your creative muse?
If I had to put a pin in what motivates me to do my work, I’d say that the local creative community in Denver is the greatest source of inspiration to me. Also, my friends really inspire me; I’ve somehow surrounded myself with people far more creative than I am, and just being around all that raw talent inspires me to be continually more creative. Actually, those two groups I just described are made of up of pretty much the same people.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?
The two people that I have always thought would be cool to party with are Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla, who actually knew each other, so had I lived at the turn of the nineteenth century, I could have actually had a chance at making this happen. Just imagine the conversations to be had with these two, especially about science, religion and politics….
I suppose the third invite should go to someone to lighten up the place, so I’d invite my Nan, because she is hilarious and really fun to be around. Plus, all three guests could talk about old-timey things if the conversation hits a dull spot.
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?
The best thing about the creative community that I am a part of is the level of resilience and unwavering spirit that artists, musicians and other creatives possess. Another best is that everyone is always open to trying new things and expanding beyond their current practice.
The worst thing is that there aren’t enough opportunities for artists to thrive locally.
How about globally?
My thoughts on the art world, museum world and producing creative experiences on a global scale are complex, and I probably shouldn’t ramble here. Suffice it to say that my opinions aren’t anything you haven’t heard before.
Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?
I actually think that I am the type of person who joins trends far too late. For example: I was still jazzing up my MySpace page long after everyone migrated to Facebook; I wore bootcut jeans until nearly a decade into the skinny jeans revolution; and I’m just now thinking about starting Game of Thrones. This never bothered me, though, because my opinion is that trends don’t matter. You’ll find the stuff you want to explore when the time is right for you. One trend I have never understood, though, is holding your cell phone up to record at a concert. Why not just be there and enjoy it in real time?
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?
Well, besides visiting space, I’d say inventing something, saving a life, doing something no one else has ever done before and having a dog.
What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as a creative?
My favorite program that I ever co-produced was something called American Gladiator Bandstand, which was a competition between bands, but more like a field day and less like a battle of the bands. It was so much fun to watch all these people who usually perform behind instruments all bonding over relay races and feats-of-strength-type games. I’m such a sucker for community-building, and I still dream about doing a round two of this one day.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
I was born and raised in Denver, I have always loved Colorado, and this is my home, so I have never really thought about leaving. The only reason I would leave is to get some sort of experience or training that is only offered somewhere else other than here, in which case I’d only leave temporarily and bring back whatever cool new skills I developed abroad to make my home that much cooler. Why do I love this place? Just look at it.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
That’s a tough question, because there are so many good choices. Also, many of the people I’d give a shout-out to have already been featured in this column. Somebody who I don’t think has been mentioned here before is Charles Russell, aka Electronika, who is one of the most talented electronic- and digital-based artists that I have had the pleasure of working with.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
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I hope to try to do some more stuff in theater, just for fun, because live theater is a big part of who I am. Right now I’m working on producing an adaptation of The Little Prince with some friends from college.
I also hope to launch a few independent projects that I’ve been cooking up for some time, the most exciting being a gallery/workshop space that serves as a platform for teaching quality fabrication skills. I also want to facilitate some Colorado-centric ghost-hunting adventures, which my girlfriend and I have been getting into a bit lately. I’m also pitching some crazy programming ideas at MCA Denver, the place where I work, such as providing a way for patrons to wash their clothes while they view the current exhibitions, almost like a laundromat. Keep an eye out for all that and a few more silly things from me.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
Again, Charles Russell. Please check out his work in person.