At first from Atlanta, Michael Todd Horne, ideal identified by his sobriquet Bijijoo (b. 1975), is a Portland-primarily based artist who has garnered attention for the imaginative cast of people and monsters in his medium-agnostic performs. Bijijoo’s creative proclivity was evident in childhood, but he went on to research in the sciences—including math, computer science, and chemistry, amongst others—leading to a PhD in biophysics in 2008. Using both his passion for artwork and specialized qualifications as the bedrock of his imaginative apply, Bijijoo has established an inimitable fashion that employs a extensive array of mediums and procedures, and no little amount of money of whimsy.
Soon immediately after the initial yr of the pandemic, the polymath artist joined TikTok, where his brightly colored and charismatic monster paintings captured the imagination of a around the globe audience. His video clips (which typically aspect self-composed digital music) enable followers catch a glimpse of his dynamic and multifaceted artistic approach, with most of his operates involving a number of mediums, tools, and techniques.
This week on March 16, Bijijoo unveils his 1st solo demonstrate at Saatchi Yates, London, which provides a entire troupe of his energetic characters. The collection of massive-scale paintings brings to the fore themes of nostalgia, the grotesque, daily life, and demise.
We caught up with Bijijoo to learn far more about the place these monsters arrived from and what he can make of his TikTok good results.
When did you initially start off producing monsters and characters in your perform? What initial impressed them?
When my daughter was a baby (she is 6 a long time aged now), she saw a photo of Chewbacca on a cereal box that fully fascinated her. That obtained me into making silly drawings of Chewbacca and other monsters for her delight. At the time, I was battling to obtain a way again into art just after a extensive crack. Producing art for her set me on a route that felt authentic—I’ve normally produced doodles and cartoons due to the fact childhood. As my daughter bought older, she bought into drawing and making artwork, too (she’s presently into drawing cats and Pokémon), so it’s a amazing detail we share.
Your inaugural solo exhibition opens at Saatchi Yates this 7 days. Can you convey to us a bit about the functions bundled in the exhibit and the inspiration behind it?
The perform in the demonstrate draws on sketches and painting experiments from the previous 12 months, reflecting my practical experience coming out of the pandemic. I was also motivated by my go to to London all through the Frieze truthful previous year: being exposed to the lots of distinct types, tactics, and textures of functions exhibited in the course of that time. A painter mate, Eric Wert, released me to Andrea del Castagno’s Final Supper (1447). The marbled galaxy textures in the track record of that portray genuinely resonated with me and influenced things of some of the will work.
Because joining TikTok in March 2021, you have amassed in excess of 100,000 followers. How has the system influenced or educated your exercise?
I have just lately been characterized as “TikTok popular,” or a “TikTok feeling,” which I really don’t totally concur with. For me, TikTok is just another social media system that allows the sharing of my function and process. I imagine social media can be harmful to one’s psychological overall health in several techniques. That said, these platforms permit artists and creators to share their operate in a discussion board discoverable by so several and can present exposure and networking options that can further one’s occupation. Social media does not notify my art follow, but instead permits me to convey what I do to a extensive audience—and ideally encourage some others to develop too.
What does your imaginative process look like, exactly where do you start? What is the most significant resource in your studio?
I sketch all the time applying an automatic and naive approach to drawing: totally free-variety doodling and meandering strains that aid me explore kinds and compositions. In parallel with my sketching exercise, I have an ongoing experimental painting practice: paint experiments on swatches of canvas and other substrates. I pull all this together when rendering a portray, drawing on the imagery from a sketch, knowledgeable by the chaos of paint flows and a toolkit of techniques and processes I’ve produced about time.
While I started as an oil painter (I began oil portray in childhood), I’ve grow to be a genuine blended-media artist and rely on a established of resources and mediums these kinds of as airbrush, portray needles, masking tape, oil sticks, sanding equipment, brushes, and so forth.
You commonly use electronic methods in your function and have encounter in laptop or computer science. Do you have any thoughts on A.I. artwork?
I’ve used of large amount of time studying and doing the job with several digital strategies. I assume whenever advancements are manufactured in know-how, these kinds of as with A.I., there is a interval of reactivity just before the new instruments mature and grow to be much better understood. I see fantastic likely with A.I. engineering and think it will ultimately offer new instruments and processes that advance creative imagination, in the method of Photoshop.
What are you functioning on now or future? Are there any themes or tips that you want to have interaction that you haven’t still?
I’ve invested a great deal of time experimenting with diverse media but have not expended as a lot time experimenting with different substrates, e.g., textiles on which the media is utilized and manipulated. But I do have knowledge with textiles and want to deliver that into my get the job done. I have begun some discussions with some textile artists to perform in that house to see in which it sales opportunities.
I’m also scheduling on expending additional time acquiring and publishing my tunes. I have a massive archive of experimental songs going back to the 1990s. I’m operating to create that apply together with my visual art.
What assistance do you have for youthful artists or artists just setting up out?
I think the most important detail is to just make things, establish matters, get comfortable with failure, and continue to keep executing it. Artists can succeed—however you want to outline that—by operating to locate the points they are passionate about and applying that enthusiasm as the foundation of their get the job done.
“Bijijoo” is on see at Saatchi Yates, London, March 16–May 28, 2023.
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