CA·TALK｜Dejan Mirchevski：”Identity” is the basis we always are looking for
If the snake hadn’t cheated Eve and Adam to eat
The fruit of wisdom that can distinguish between good and evil,
So, is the Garden of Eden,
actually the “cave” in the Utopia
where everyone is imprisoned without guards?
“In the 16th century, in the Realm of Politics written by Guillaume de La Perriere, you will find that the definition of ‘government’ does not mean territory at all, but means people dominate things. I do not think this is a problem of opposition between people and things, but describes that it is not territory that relates to the government but the complex formed by people and thing. According to the definition, the ‘thing’ concerned by the government is actually ‘people’ who are in the connection and superposition with other things such as wealth and resources, existing mode, and specific nature, climate, irrigation and territory of productivity, and in the relationship with other things, customs, habits, behaviors and ways of thinking and people who are in the relationship with other things, accidents and disasters, such as famine, epidemic disease and death.”- Michel Foucault.
The above is Foucault’s viewpoint on “governance of things” based on the concept of Guillaume Perrier in 1991. In combination with the “network society” described by sociologist Manuel Castells in 1993, we can find that the relationship between the people, ecology, environment and control in the era of internet cluster or metaverse. In the creation of Dejan Mirchevski, in the new social scenario generated based on digital display screen and Internet server, the generation of ecology is pulled back to the origin: who created the universe and human beings? How should the relationship between human beings and the universe, with time and space and with things be defined? How can identity lose its own basis as a concept in this non-traditional context?
Dejan Mirchevski is a 3D digital design generalist from Skopje, the capital of northern Macedonia.
Northern Macedonia is a landlocked country in southern Europe in the middle of the Balkans in Southeast Europe. Under the leadership of Tito after World War II, it formed the “Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia” together with six republics such as Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro and two autonomous provinces Kosovo and Vojvodina. Macedonia did not declare independence until 1991 and changed the name to the “Republic of Macedonia”, with its capital Skopje. Until February 2019, the government of northern Macedonia finally announced the formal change of the country name to “Republic of North Macedonia” after 28 years of efforts, and then successfully joined “NATO” formally in March 2020.
The reason why we spend a lot of time on North Macedonia is because of the historical and cultural particularity of this country and its region — as the only country that peacefully seceded from the Federation after the disintegration of Yugoslavia due to years of civil war at the end of the 20th century, North Macedonia may be the developing country with most stable economic development on Balkan Peninsula. We should know that the Balkan Peninsula has always been one of the most complex areas of cultural, political and economic development in the world. In such a region, the mixed culture, history and religious traditions cannot have no impact on Dejan Mirchevski. Moreover, Dejan Mirchevski’s father is a professional artist. Influenced by his father, no matter whether he eventually becomes an artist or not, his way of thinking about the environment and things is undoubtedly different from that of ordinary people. Just because of this, in Dejan Mirchevski’s works such as Myth Eden and Diogenes Looking for an Honest Man, we can clearly see the influence of Yugoslav Orthodox Church and Greek philosophy on him.
But I think that Dejan Mirchevski explored the development of human being from three dimension of the past (“Eden series” — referring to the birth of the world and mankind, history and civilization), the present (“intruder” series — the present changed or even dominated by new things, and the attempt to peel off the constraint), and the future (indicating the involution of human surreal digital age on real life) and how it steps from the initial “divine decree” to the reality wrapped in lies, and then to the virtual reality. In the whole process, the question of “identity” is the penetrative main line.
The dialogue of “CA Talk” of this episode is made with Dejan Mirchevski, a 3D digital designer in northern Macedonia. From the dialogue with him, I found that perhaps for a creator like Dejan Mirchevski, the definition of “identity” is the coordinate that he has always been discussing and trying to blur. This pursuit may be the group consensus that we will actually face in the “network society” in the future.
CA：Out of the habit of interviewing, I Googled you, and also read your portfolio. But there is a little regrets, it seems that all the present are the commissioned designs which you have started in 2018. I’m a little curious. In addition to the commissioned design，have you create independently?
Dejan：I’m so sorry that my portfolio is outdated, it has nothing to do with the work I have done in the past. But I actually started drawing as a child, pencil and paper were my passion. The first unique piece that I’ve drawn, back then, was a tree, formed from three women’s, waving with their arms, their torso was linked, representing the Tree of life.
CA：Why did you choose to be a 3D designer in the first place? Has anyone inspired you, such as your parents or a famous artist?
Dejan：I studied design and multimedia at the American University of Europe — FON
My father was a good artist, he taught me how to draw. I started creating clay figures as a child, I think the passion was always there.
My first work was creating character sketches for kids’ shows here in North Macedonia.
I worked for a production company called Blue Tang Entertainment.Back then I was creating sketches for the lead 3d designer, and I loved how he was able to transform my sketches into “living” characters.So I dedicated 2hours a day every day to learning 3D software and I fell in love with it. I started using Cinema4D R13 and now I am using the same software updated to Cinema4D R23.
CA：Well，how about the work experience in so many TV stations？You said that you have worked in about 10 TV stations before. Does the work of the TV station have any influence on you, especially in the creation of motion pictures?
Dejan：Of course, it did, it got me more responsible, connected me with a lot of clients/people. I was working as a lead 3D designer. I have done a lot of reconstruction scenes from lifetime events (bombing in Turkey’s airport) (assassin attack on Macedonian Minister of health, bombing in Germany) a chaotic era.
CA：Then what made you choose to become a freelancer?
Dejan：I started working as a sketch artist, I end up creating lyric videos for major artists around the globe. I haven’t sed on a desk to work for someone else for nearly 2years.
I have done a lot of work here in North Macedonia, I have a good relationship with 3 major marketing agencies who are satisfied with my work and we collaborate monthly.
CA：So，is the “paggybank” and “policecar” you created in August 2019 a commercial commission? They seem like a coherent story，or they are actually not related?
Dejan：No, they are some personal projects that I have been doing back then. They were created the same day that’s why they look alike and complement each other.
CA：Starting from the “storm” work, your creations began to have some more autonomous symbols, or symbols with symbolic and allegorical meaning, such as “robotics” and “crystals”. Is it happen with accidental? Or actually you are starting to create more autonomously?
Dejan：Not really the creating works. At that time，I started to follow artists on Instagram which work was pretty awesome and created a couple of different renders to catch up with them.
CA：Can you introduce the two works of “octane” and “redshift”? Is there a correlation between them? What was the idea of creating these two works?
Dejan：”Goddess” and “Diogenes looking for an Honest Man”, both artworks represent power and determination. “Goddess” is a digital being a bitcoin seeker. “Diogenes looking for an Honest Man” is a soulless form, a soul seeker.
CA：I found that the naming of most of your works is almost non-indicative, and there is no direct connection between the interpretation of the audience, is it deliberately named like this?
Dejan：Do you refer to the one uploaded on CA or the one uploaded on Instagram? Maybe for some of my artworks, I seek a deeper meaning in the naming, that’s probably something that in the end sounds almost non-indicative.
CA：Of course, sometimes no prompt is the prompt. But I am more interested in finding the connection between them in these seemingly loose works, so as to understand your creative ideas, rather than just looking for some interesting hint.
Dejan：I should say I just wanted to show the public a different look. I am trying to create diversity.
CA：Let’s talk about some of the NFT works you posted on CA. I divided them into four major themes in a less rigorous way: the first theme is “Interloper” and the second theme is “ Myth-Garden of Eden” (including works: “Garden of Eden-Paradise”, “Temptation of Eve-Paradise”, “The Walk”, “Goddess”, “Peaceful”), the third theme is “Future Surrealism” (Including works: “Journey”, “ETH GAS Station”, “Sentinel”, “Diogenes Looking for an Honest Man”), the fourth theme is “interesting” (including works: “The Beginning”, “Covid-19 lockdown !”, “The bird”). Among them, some works have actually been done two years ago on INS. Why do you want to creat them again into NFT?
Dejan：I couldn’t divide them better myself I am impressed.
Well, the first Theme “Interloper” a 100 artworks all one of a kind, and they are presenting the identity issue, that remains a huge driver of intractable conflicts worldwide. The second theme “ Myth-Garden of Eden” is presenting past beliefs, the unknown, the lack of knowledge, the deception. The third theme is “Future Surrealism” is representing the “Digital era”, the future. The fourth theme is presenting the free mind or the present. All of them are artistic expressions.
CA：In the work “Diogenes in Search of the Honest People”, Diogenes is an important gem in ancient Greece, but in this work you give her a feminine physical sign and wear a horn that seems to symbolize the devil. Avatar”, why build such a character image? How did you think about this work, or what do you want to express?
Dejan：”Diogenes Looking for an Honest Man” in this composition, is represented as a mirrored image of the human soul. That makes Eve (Diogenes) a corrupted being, looking for an Honest Man. It’s an artistic expression.
Actually，”Garden of Eden” literally was the first NFT that I made and put for sale. I was wondering what can create strong eye contact for collectors. I looked for the answer in the past also tried the future, so I thought maybe it will be an imaginary present. Then I decided to go with the past and build an imaginary future. And I put the artwork “Garden of Eden” on http://cryptoart.ai for sale, and build the “Turning Point” a series of artworks that will be available on the same platform.
CA：What does the female body, or the character “Eve”, represent in your opinion? Does she have a clear symbolic meaning, in the culture of North Macedonia, or in your cognitive experience?
Dejan：I think of it as a reminder of the curiosity and the lack of knowledge we encounter every day. Eve represents the first impression of the human being.
CA：Let’s talk about “Interloper” in detail, which is a very popular series of works you currently have. How did this group of works come about? Why would you want to create such an IP image?
Dejan：The Interlopers series is 100 artworks all one of a kind, unique. The main idea is to successfully remove the stereotype from all genders, to show different personalities all unique and all shaped the same. Maybe the surrounding enforced me to think of a project like that. Split personalities, narcissism, people’s fake smiles all that negativity finally superset into something meaningful an art piece.
CA：Does it have a summary of its story?
Dejan：Of course, it has a summary, I think that people will be amazed but also I think it’s too soon for me to reveal what it’s gonna be, so follow me if you’re interested.
CA：I am looking forward to it! Regarding the “Interloper” group of works, I have a detail question, all these characters have different patterns on their skins, do they have special meanings?
Dejan：All the characters from “The Interlopers” series will have different patterns on their skin.This means that they all have different identities.I want to present them as equals, despite the name “Interloper” they will be a hundred, it’s a community.
CA：Should be said，the current global international situation is very tense，at this time, discussing the issue of “identity” ，does it has anything to do with the social environment you live in real life?
Dejan：Clearly, identity remains a huge driver of intractable conflicts worldwide. As a human race, we are stubborn and cruel. I am from The Republic of Macedonia a small country in the Balkans we recently changed the name of our country to The Republic of North Macedonia. We have a strong disagreement about our country name with Greece and disagreement with our history and language with Bulgaria. It’s a political strategy that lasted 30 years and still does.
Everyone has multiple identities, their relative importance and compatibility differ in various times and circumstances.
CA：It’s a too serious topic, let’s answer a simple question. When did you start to became a NFT artist?
Dejan：I follow Mike Winkelmann AKA Beeple on Instagram one day I saw an Instagram post from him I think it was November 2020 that 3D Artists are not paid, appreciated enough, and that they will need to take a new turn a deep quest into the soo called NFT world, where every artist can create digital content and try to find/reach an audience such as people interested in Art (collectors). And after I witnessed his collage of 5000 digital images artworks sold in one picture for $69.3 million. What a wake-up call! Thank you @beeple！
I started creating NFTs in January 2021 I created a series called “Turning Point” — the 24. The first piece went live on cryptoart.ai on Apr-11–2021. I opened this chapter with the artwork named “Garden of Eden” — Paradise ，a unique piece, my first NFT！
CA：How do you think about NFT art? Does the encryption technology have an impact on your creation?
Dejan：I think of it as an opportunity to show off, and income. As an Artist, I have been selling my digital work online since 2013. I started with platforms like Videohive, Pond5, Motion elements. NFTs are a good push for the technology to come. A new era, “Digital Era” — unlimited digital resources, all unique with proof of ownership.
CA：In the past two years, the COVID-19 has had a great impact on the world. Do you have any thoughts on that？
Dejan：I am disappointed in the strength and brains we have to deal with this pandemic. I hope that people will wake up and do better, act differently. We are divided into groups and have different opinions, we are all losers if we walk this path.