Hello and welcome to the sixth “Wow Me Wednesday,” a weekly series in which I interview and feature artists who inspire me. My name is Jeffrey Thelin founder of teyleen.com, a lifestyle clothing brand dedicated to boldness and simplicity. Today I’ll be featuring Mephisto Bates. Mephisto is a creative in every aspect of his life, based out of Montreal, Canada. He believes being creative is how we can truly connect with our innermost self. At 19 years old he’s already a talented Painter, Mobile Designer, and Musician.
Describe your typical process when creating your pieces?
Creation is all about giving into yourself to your own imagination. Your subconscious is a part of you and a part of your entire body. To give into your subconscious and imagination to create is a form of meditation and also a way to connect with your body and soul. It took me a lot of work and self-confidence to get in touch with this ‘’trance-mode’’. Once you get there, you can create stuff, only by physical drive and by letting your subconscious take control can you create for yourself.
Free your mind and create what you feel.
When I create it’s a way to feel truly alive, but also to disconnect with the reality we face every day. It’s a time to create your own world and your own boundaries. When I create, depending on with art form I work on, I just try to do, paradoxically, something I’ve never seen or heard, with all my artistic and technical knowledge I have. I try to create with my own thoughts and feelings, without any limits or preconceived ideas. At the end of that creation flow, I can find a part of myself , or my thoughts, in every creation I did.
What tools do you use when creating your art?
I don’t need special equipment to create. I think, as artists, we should be able to create with everything we find. A particular object I find on the street that I can use as a canvas to paint, or a vinyl I found in a 1$ store to use as a sample to create music. Art can be found everywhere and created from everything. When I produce my music, I use my old 2000’s casio keyboard I bought for couple of dollars, and software on my computer, nothing more. For my painting and physical stuff, I try to get any non-conventional canvas I can find. An old door, or pieces of wood someone left on the street. If I think about primitive art, where they were painting from just natural resources, we should also be able to create with any kind of stuff. Tools don’t matter, as long as you can let your imagination free with everything you can get in your hands.
What do you see as the future of creativity?
Creativity, has reached one of the highest levels we can imagine by far, with the wave of contemporary art, where everything can become art - as long as it is supported by concepts or an idea behind it. With that being said, imagination doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have any boundaries by now. Art can be everything. Contrary to ourself in society, we are free, in the Art World. This is the best thing we can ask for. But as any artistic current, we’ll probably face the opposite of this artistic freedom, in the next years, or decade. So I think, as I wish, that we will be able to bring up more of our feelings and sentimental atmosphere in our creation, to see kind of post-contemporary-romantic stuff.
What do you think the balance is between technology and analog when being creative?
This isn’t really important to me; I’ll never judge a piece by the way it has been created, rather it gives a total dimension to the piece. What I mean is, any tools we use can bring a different aspect to a piece. For example, someone who couldn’t sing, or play any music instrument, in the 50-60’s, could never play music, or compose music, but with today’s technology, music can be done without any instrument. There are great, and bad points about this, but creation is more accessible in that way. For myself, I’ve work a lot with mobile stuff, creation iphone only stuff, before finding myself doing painting and sculpture. So technology has been a really important for me to get access to creation, with all the resources we can find. A Purist thinker would say that, for example, “music done with computer isn’t real music”, but this is totally false. Technology is giving us a great and unavoidable reason to ask ourselves “what’s really art”.
Do you consider yourself an artist? What other words would you use to describe yourself and abilities?
From my opinion, an artist is a type of person and temperament. Being able to communicate with art, and express ourselves with art, is something really powerful, that not everyone can do. In that way, some crazy good designer or drawer, who can make a great piece, but without any sentimental aspect, can be a great technician, but not an artist. We shouldn’t make commonplace of that “artist” term. It takes a lot of connection with our body,spirit, and a lot of introspection to come to the point of creating something unique that talks on your behalf. With all that being said, I consider myself as an artist in every aspect of my life.
Who are some creatives that you really look up to and inspire your work daily?
I love searching for new art pieces, or new artists, that makes me get in touch with pieces that I totally don’t know; I want a piece to make me feel something I’ve never felt, I’ve never seen. I want a piece to bring me into a particular world. To get that, I search a lot for avant-garde artist, such as Pauline Oliveros, and contemporary artists to get inspired. But also, a great artist, doing more “popular stuff” such as Tyler The Creater for example, who is able to do great visual direction for his movies, or even great clothes, an artist who is able to push is own limits, is truly inspiring for me.
Did you always know you were an artist or designer? What’s your story about how you got into all this?
When I was younger, I loved doing drawing and creating some portraits. When I started high school, I wasn’t really that kind of teenager that was always partying or outside doing stuff, I preferred to stay inside and spend all my nights trying to figure out Photoshop’s world. In these same years, I was trying to create some music using demo version of FL studio (this is when I got my Casio keyboard). Nothing really impressive. When I got my first iphone, I started doing some mobile stuff, using my Photoshop skills with app tools. I then wanted to do photography so I tried to study it, but I didn't get any place in the program, so I decided to study Fine Art. There I found out this is what I am, what I want, and what I’m suppose to do. I’ve always tried to push my artistic vision as far as I can, but this program has make me see things totally differently.
What do you do for a living?
I’m now working on a corner store. Minimum salary, but enough money to buy everything I need to create... Oh and pay my Mom’s rent too.
What is your dream for your next 5 years?
I want to travel, and get in touch with different cultures and ways of thinking. I want to see other culture’s arts, and get all the knowledge I can, from people that are living differently, and in differents ways than I. For the next 5 years, I just want Life to bring me to where I should be, and let my own creativity to continue to expand and to reach different platforms. Then, I wish one day I’ll be able to live only by creating.
Any final quotes, mantras to inspire the readers?
Nothing is real. Nothing really exists. What you see is what you think. What you think is what you get. Don’t stop yourself for any society boundaries. People are afraid to step out the box, to walk outside the grid. Losing our point of reference can scare a lot of people, because nobody taught us that we could create our own land by our self, that we can do big things without answering to the government or social standards. Just be yourself, and do what seems right for you.
A big thanks to Mephisto for making this a successful "Wow Me Wednesday."
If you'd like to see more of Mephisto’s work here’s some links:
And thank you all so much for joining me! If you have any artists you think I should interview leave a comment below.