Occultism, quantum physics, music and new media might seem like strange bedfellows, but they all play a part in RedLine resident artist Michael Sperandeo’s visual practice, making for dark, dreamy and symbolic imagery that he’s now striving to render immersive. How does Sperandeo connect all the dots? Learn more as he answers the Colorado Creatives questionnaire.
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?
Michael Sperandeo: I pull much of my influence from those around me. Ashley Frazier is a local artist who has made a huge impact on my life. She pushed me to evaluate and investigate my conceptual ideas deeper than I had before. Ashley’s ability to use materials as an instrument for communication had profound influences on the way I maneuver my brainstorming process. We both share a curiosity toward the simulation of the natural. This birthed wonderful conversations that brought to light concepts that keep finding their way into my work.
I truly enjoy absorbing information and actively engaging with these learned concepts. In turn, the amalgamation of these eclectic thoughts become the fertilization of my ideas. Authors like Alexander Roob, Archtraitor Bluefluke, Israel Regardie, Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner are only but a few writers who have made a substantial impact on the thinking behind my art work.
It wouldn't be a complete image of my influences without tipping my hat to the music in my life. My father is a musician, and therefore I, too, am a musician. I have been active in live performance and music production my entire life. I find that the process of creating and writing music informs the compositional decisions in my visual practice. Music also evokes stylistic elements of my work. I listen to a lot of drum and bass and other fast-pace/cutting-edge forms of electronic music. The sound design and dynamic rhythms contained in this music subconsciously impacts the aesthetics of my art.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?
My party would be more like a philosophical tea party. The first person to be invited would be the famous engineer and great mind Buckminster Fuller. His knowledge of geometry and the structural elements of aesthetics are among the greatest. Also, his philosophies surrounding philanthropy and the distribution of resources are extremely honorable and prolific. I would love to chat with him, as he would be a wonderful participant in the overall conversations at my party.
The second person I would invite to this special get-together is mastermind Manly Palmer Hall. A mentor referred me to his recorded lectures on YouTube. I was blown away, not only by his vocabulary, but by his implementation of complex ideas in a modest and truly understanding manner. His great work is, to a degree, what I aspire to. Therefore, his philosophical know-all would be a crucial addition to the egregore of this party.
The last and definitely not least invitation would be given to a character named Gohan, from the manga Dragon Ball. In the manga, he is the son of the most powerful being in the universe. Gohan's powers were projected to be equal or greater than his father's. But rather then following the path of his father, he chose a different path, a road toward education and knowledge. He could have been the most powerful being and surpassed his father's strength. Instead, he found his destiny in information and mental fitness. The dual traits of raw power and intellectual adeptness display a humble and profound element to his character that, I feel, earned him an invitation to my party.
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?
The most crucial and outstanding elements of the community in my particular field is the openness to share information about processes. As a digital artist, I find that the open-source movements that surround Internet culture has been pivotal for my progression and exploration of the field. This open-source movement has direct global implications. The capacity to share information and techniques, across massive distances, is now a foundational thread in the fabric of our global communications and technological progression.
What’s your dream project?
My dream project is to utilize an open space the size of a hangar or warehouse and incorporate cordless virtual-reality technology to create a virtual environment that can be explored at great lengths by the users.
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?
I want to scan a 3-D Ta Prohm Temple, with lidar, photogrammetry and aerial photogrammetry. After everything is scanned, I want to convert it to real-time capable formats so that it can be explored in virtual reality.
If you died tomorrow, what or whom would you come back as?
After I die, I want to be reincarnated as the last bit of mass that will push a star past the Chandrasekhar limit, to initiate a supernova.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
I love Denver; I was born and raised here, and feel that it is a blessing. I can be in the city and then minutes later be on a trail, surrounded by nature. I don't think I could leave that. Also, I enjoy the company of my family. My family is from Colorado and still lives here. If I had to leave, I would definitely miss them.
Who is your favorite Colorado creative?
I have to say that Ashley Frazier is my favorite Colorado creative. I understand this is a biased response, but I feel her credit is well-deserved. Ashley has a truly eclectic practice. I have seen the progression of her work and am astonished at her ability to use a dynamic array of materials conceptually. Her hair topographies are profound, her turbulence charts are clever and her urban geodes are genius. As you can see, I’m a big fan!
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
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This year I really want to dive further into virtual and augmented reality. I feel that these two mediums will be highly integrated into our daily lives in the future. I would like to explore the artistic implications surrounding the influence and impact these mediums will have on our culture. I also plan to dial in a collection model for this medium. I want to figure out some sort of forum to begin dialogue about the implication of digital art in regard to the distribution of the content that is beneficial for all parties involved.
Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
It's not necessarily one person, but Ashley Frazier, Drew Austin and myself are co-curating an exhibition titled Lights Out/Lights On. This exhibition highlights local artists who are using light as their focus or main medium. The exhibition will be in RedLine’s large gallery space, with all the lights turned off, so that the light-driven installations can be viewed in their intended atmosphere. In collaboration with the Temple, the exhibition will facilitate connection between organizations in the neighborhood.