A Look Behind the Space Age Concert Visuals of Beeple

To see more of Mike’s work, check out @beeple_crap on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

The first time Wisconsin-based digital animator Mike Winkelmann (@beeple_crap) saw his video clips in action was on a family vacation in 2011. “We were outside a nightclub in Hong Kong,” Mike remembers. “I was freaking out. Just to be on the other side of the world and see something that I’d done being used.”

Months later, he attended Lollapalooza and was further stunned to find his visuals plastered behind most of the performers. When Mike got home, he checked the stats of his Creative Commons uploads. Lo and behold, his free-for-use video clips, released under the affable moniker Beeple, were being downloaded roughly 1,000 times a day.

“It’s super weird,” he says. “I run into them now in tons of places. They’re ubiquitous. If you go to a lot of shows, you’ve probably seen them.”

Mike has been putting out Beeple creations at the astounding rate of at least one piece of work daily for the last nine years. Everything he publishes online is free for download, though he often does work directly with artists, having produced live visuals for Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Eminem and Justin Bieber, among others. In those cases, Mike is one person in a team of about 10. It’s fun, but it’s stressful, and not nearly as free-form as what he does with Zedd, having become the producer’s sole visual designer three years ago.

“That was cool for me,” says Mike, about his ongoing collaboration with Zedd and their work on the recent True Colors tour. “When I got to see it live, it was like anybody else seeing it live. I didn’t know what was coming next.”

––Kat Bein for Instagram @music