Supercomputers Meet Self-Actualization – An Interview w/ Justin Totemical A Member Of Threyda Collective

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life

Does your imagination have boundaries? How many dimensions to you think in, presently? If you answered “no” and “infinite,’ you have more in common with this featured artist than you think. I can’t say that his work takes us to the edge of reality because what he depicts is “hyper-reality.” The mythical and the ethereal merge flawlessly, amidst a primer of the only truly universal language, mathematics. You don’t need to step aboard a spaceship or book a flight to Narnia or Middle Earth…just open your eyes.

Justin Totemical is a member of the Threyda Collective. Interesting would be a definite understatement. This gentleman draws his inspiration from all things ethereal and geometric. One thing that is constant is that he is trying, searching, and yearning to discover what his next plateau of artistic exploration will be. The Digital Age has ushered in something remarkable. If this metaphor was achievable in reality, I would like to believe that his art would be the manifestation of a supercomputer: being given LSD, dropped through a wormhole, and being assigned the task of reporting what it’s seeing, feeling, and experiencing. He is an ardent hustler, spiritualist, philosopher, and by no stretch of the imagination, a definitive artist.

A’Damaged Pro – When did the inspiration to express yourself artistically first strike?

Justin Totemical – I’ve always had difficulty with communication in other forms. I Lost a lot of my hearing at a young age in my left ear, which I feel has played a role in my visual development.

A’Damaged Pro – If you don’t mind me asking, how did you lose a portion of your hearing?

Justin Totemical -I had a rare form of meningitis as a child that spread, almost reaching my brain. I was in the hospital for a few weeks and had to have a few operations.

A’Damaged Pro – Did you take art in school?

Justin Totemical – I went to a technical school for web development and new media. At that point (2009-2010), I was more developed than the instructors in some aspects, of photoshop and art. Almost everything I have learned artistically was self-taught online.

A’Damaged Pro – What aspect or discipline appealed the most to you?

Justin Totemical – Doing something creative each day, even if it’s brainstorming is a positive use for my time. I think the best thing we can do as humans for discipline is to create a routine and develop good habits.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your favorite medium?

Justin Totemical – I created 98% of all of my artwork digitally. I find creating on computers to be the highest form of realization for my ideas. Using many different programs has helped me develop new ideas and combine techniques to give them a unique feel.

A’Damaged Pro – What are some of the key influences to your style?

Justin Totemical – I’d say electronic music has been a huge influence. In many ways, music is a more developed art form than visual artwork. I think this has something to do with our perception of audio to be a wider range than our perception of light. One of my goals, in my lifetime, is to help evolve or at least support the creation of visual artwork with computers. It is still a very unexplored medium that, I believe, will only grow with time.

A’Damaged Pro – What types of music do you favor for inspiration?

Justin Totemical – I love many types of music and am always searching for unique sounds. I’d say Electronica is played the most through my speakers though. Downtempo mixes are great to create to, with headphones on, as it creates enough of a vibration without being too overpowering of the other senses.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you feel that there is a connection between this format/style of art and EDM?

Justin Totemical – For sure, I don’t think I would be so heavily focused on creating with computers if it wasn’t for the amazing electronic music being produced.

A’Damaged Pro – Is there a way to emphasize and strengthen this connection?

Justin Totemical – I’ve seen some cool things done with sound-reactive visuals, I’m more of a 2D art guy but I’ve always admired motion graphics.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you end up teaming up with Artificial Intelligence and the Threyda Artist Collective?

Justin Totemical – I consider myself extremely lucky in both cases. As for Artificial Intelligence, I had met Michael Oprisko at a music festival called Lucidity. We connected instantly, over our love for our dimensional universe, and talked briefly about creating a hat together. Our first hat was a great success and we’ve been working together since. Threyda messaged me last year about working together. I was very honoured as their collective is an invite-only group. I have a few local art friends in the collective like Simon Haiduk and Autumn Sky so I felt right at home in a way.

A’Damaged Pro – Have you ever been involved in a live-art exhibit at a music event or festival? If not, would you like to?

Justin Totemical – My first gallery show was actually at a music festival called Envision in Costa Rica ( 2012). I’ve had a great response with showing my art at festivals and also doing performances live to some of my favourite DJ’s. I’ve had the honour to perform for: Bluetech, Tipper, Random Rab, Thriftworks, The Human Experience, and many more.

A’Damaged Pro – What are a few of your career milestones up to this point?

Justin Totemical – I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few of my favorite musicians and electronic producers, which is always a really fun synergistic experience. Some producers I’ve worked with include Kaminanda, Desert Dwellers, David Block (The Human Experience), and Papadosio.

A’Damaged Pro – What has been your most personally important work of art, to date?

Justin Totemical – I’d say I’m constantly creating my most important work, as the best is yet to come, and my skills only improve with each new piece.

A’Damaged Pro – Are there any new personal projects that you are spearheading?

Justin Totemical – I’ve actually branched off into two more personal avenues of exploration with my partner Kimi (kimikat.com) We’ve started an accessories and clothing label called Paradox11 (paradox11.com) which we plan will feature futuristic, yet sleek, clothing and jewelry. The other is VectorKits (vectorkits.com), which was an idea that Android Jones helped us develop. VectorKits focuses on bringing creative tools to artists and designers. I’ve had a lot of interest in my early vector work and I am aiming to provide instructional videos as well as annual freebie packs to people to play around with.

A’Damaged Pro – Where would you like to take the direction of your craft in the next few years?

Justin Totemical – A lot of my art aims to connect with inner emotions we feel, I have a feeling my whole life will be a journey of visually communicating with the soul. Beyond the esoteric exploration of what I can offer to the collective, I am aiming to bring modern relics for people, in the form of physical products and clothing. Limited run sculptures, 3D printed jewelry and futuristic street wear are also on the list.

A’Damaged Pro – Any insight or encouragement for those just getting started?

Justin Totemical – My biggest words of encouragement is to always keep an open heart to experimentation. The digital medium is vastly unexplored (even with music production). We’re barely scraping the surface of possibility and we all hold the capability to evolve the medium and find new means of expression with electricity.

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

When a focus of an aspect of your work is the horizon of: possibility, infinity, life, and your ultimate reality, it’s difficult to say in which direction the next step will be. I can safely speculate that this guy will be enjoying the journey, regardless. The symbiotic relationship between progressive technology and the evolution of digital expression is approaching a critical crossroads, potentially unlocking an era where exponential and uncharted growth is possible. We have only begun to tap into the true potential of what we as humans are capable of achieving. Truth be told, we might just need some visionaries to blaze the path for us.

Connect with Justin Totemical – Website | Facebook