Michael Vincent Manalo is an artist based in Taichung, Taiwan. He is a visual artist who focuses on photography, photo-manipulation and installations. His work is inspired by the imagined memories of nostalgic and dream-like environments; his works documents their decline into post-apocalyptic, nightmarish creations. Let us now more about him in his interview.
Hi Michael ! Welcome to PSD Stack!
Tell us something about yourself!
Hi PSD Stack! I’m Michael Manalo, I love photography but I express myself more through visual art, mainly photo-manipulation and lately, digital painting. I also like music a lot, I listen to a wide variety, from hiphop to post-rock, ambient music to classical, jazz to indie rock. I also make music! I love travelling,longboarding (I’m not pro) and I like to cook. I like RPG games as well.
Your artworks are superb. How long does it actually takes you to complete a piece of artwork?
Thank you! It depends, sometimes I run out of ideas and I would put the work on hold for several days, then come back to it. Although when I have a lot of ideas and also when I have everything that I need (stock photos) I can make it in less than 5-6 hours. That is not average though, sometimes I go back to it on the next day to see if my mind has changed on the aesthetics of that image.
Your artworks mostly revolve around nostalgic and dreamlike environment. Can you tell us why is it so?
It’s because I love this feeling a lot. It’s a feeling I chase a lot, it’s not that I’m a sad person but for me, this feeling of nostalgia is so sweet and beautiful and I want to express it through my work.
Creating such kind of artworks require enormous amount of inspiration. What is the stem of your inspiration? Do you have any favorite artist in particular?
I actually adore a lot from the surreal movement, like Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Joan Miro, Giorgio de Chirico and some modern artists like Michal Karcz, Murat Turan, Vitaly S. Alexius, Benoit Paille, and many more.
My inspiration most of the time, however comes from my own experiences in travelling, stories from the people that I meet, my own memory which I twist and from the happenings in society.
How do you go about creating a piece? Can you share with us your creating process?
When I started photo-manipulation, I would usually think of a concept first, and sketch it on paper. As I progressed, and when I became more familiar with Photoshop, and the stock photos that I had, I knew what I wanted to create.
I remember creating back then, just by looking at a photo and imagining what could happen in this photo, and my mind flies to this wild imaginary part of my head and I think of the stock photos I need and then I start to create.
Also, there was this style of creating which I did before as well: The Surreal Manifesto by Andre Breton, which states: “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”
The last part is the style of creation that I did in some of my works.
When and why did you came to photo manipulation field?
I started photo-manipulation back in 2008 because I was so poor to buy a DSLR camera! With photo-manipulation I could create photos without a camera. That was my main reason back then but when I learned more about it, I realized I could do so much more.
When I got a DSLR for the first time in 2009, I was really into photography but my thirst for photo-manipulation was much more already at that time.
What is your most favorite artwork that you’ve made and why?
I think the one I really really like, is “Tales from the Hidden Attic”, it really tells those times I started doing photo-manipulation, when everything started, before I started traveling, when everything that happened now was just a wistful dream back then. I always like looking back to it and feeling nostalgic about my days when I started.
Thank you very much for your time! Lastly, any advice would you love to give to the beginner starting in same field?
Honestly, I can just say that you should really let your passion drive you. Avoid people who will put your passion down. Just keep on doing what you want, I guess, well of course, in a reasonable way too!