Pro Juice Profiles: Guerrilla Artists on the Cutting Edge of All Things Digital | Show Host Arlo Enemark aka Smile on Impact
By Ariel Nishli
Tastemakers and fans of delectable digital eye and ear candies have spoken. They want to know who designed the choicest treats on their Pinterest boards, the animators behind the most viral of videos, and what VJs concocted the laser art spectacle at last weekend’s rave, let alone who produced the unworldly beats spun by the DJ.
To answer the call, we’re running a series profiling five of today’s hottest indie digital artists. Each was selected to reveal craft secrets to the world on KoldCast TV’s Pro Juice, a show that brings the best tips, tricks and showcase clips to legions of creative types from the world of digital media.
Hosts Arlo Enemark and Nick Calpakdjian bring their fast-talking, shoot-from-the-hip style to talented artists who peel back the curtain to show you how the magic is made. Pro Juice has an indiegogo fundraising campaign in the works to bring you Season 2, a truly innovative multi-platform production for which they’ve lined up an impressive cadre of talented new digital artists.
You are watching Episode 1 of Pro Juice
FOURTH of 5 in the Series: ARLO ENEMARK AKA SMILE ON IMPACT
Spend a few minutes speaking with an entrepreneur about their tech startup, and the image of an old Vaudeville act springs to mind. These mavens wear a variety of hats while simultaneously spinning a stack of plates. Arlo Enemark, aside from hosting ITV series Pro Juice, boasts the title of digi-DJ, and unofficially, guerrilla artist cheerleader. He’s exemplary of today’s multitasking hustler, but don’t make the mistake of pigeonholing him. Arlo’s style is undeniably unique. For starters, he sports a Fu Manchu moustache.
As the face of Pro Juice, Arlo the entertainer, educator, and investigator probes the minds and methods of today’s leading digital artists to bring audiences a blend of esoteric information and a damn good time. As digital music producer “Smile on Impact”, he flexes his own artistic muscles by taking eardrums to faraway places they’ve never before treaded. His inspirational, whimsy tracks span cultures and centuries in a matter of minutes. You’ll see what we mean.
What are the most formidable challenges facing independent digital artists today?
Saturation! Because the arts are so much more accessible these days, there is much more being produced. If you want to stand out, it’s much harder due to the sheer mass of product out there. I’m a firm believer in “The cream rises to the top” so if you want to stick out, get better! Do something no one else has done yet but have sound fundamentals so the quality of your work is indisputable.
What are the benefits and drawbacks to working as a “guerrilla artist” rather than as a company man for a major label, design company, or advertising firm?
The major benefit of course has to be creative control. You can explore things that may not be viable in a commercial environment, something that all artists want to do. The trade-off is that you need to learn everything, do your own PR, extra processes that may normally be outsourced, and networking.
Commercial organizations already have existing networks. As a guerrilla artist you have to do it all yourself, find out who your audience is and work out whom the middlemen are between you and them. Who are the people that will get your work exposed and how do you contact them? You have to show them you have something to offer, something exciting, something better than what they normally see and hear.
How did you get started as an artist and what kept you going?
I come from an artistic family. My dad paints and sculpts and worked as a set designer for films and theatre. My mum ran a business that specialized in art and craft supplies. Both my parents had a deep appreciation for music, art and culture, and that rubbed off.
I always drew and made noise, but at fifteen I started tracking music in an old DOS-prompt program called “Fast tracker 2.” It was pretty basic, but you could sequence full songs and arrangements in there, even though the program itself was only a few hundred kilobytes. I then got into bands and started my own projects. When I moved to Melbourne at twenty, I was exposed to a much higher standard of music and art. This is a hard town to stand out in but the sheer quality of work produced here sure lifts your standards.
My current project, “Smile On Impact,” is growing all the time and I’m happier and happier with the quality of the work I’m making. That’s part of living in a creative town. As for what has kept me going? I don’t have a choice. It’s not something I can think about, like “Do I want to do this, or not?” It’s more compulsive then that. It would be like asking someone, “Why do you continue to eat, when it’s such a hassle and expense?” When you love what you do, it’s hard to envision your life without it. I think that most artists probably feel the same way.
How important is a show like Pro Juice in helping to promote independent digital artists’ work, as well as provide new opportunities to emerging artists?
As far as promoting the work of current artists, I think we are no help at all. In fact, we are probably part of the problem. It’s much harder to promote your work now because there are so many artists out there. That being said, we truly believe that the more people have access to the tools and methods for making great work, the higher the standard becomes.
We don’t believe in keeping our best tricks a secret. We break down those barriers with the hope that the best art is yet to come. It doesn’t even matter who makes it. The standard has lifted permanently and if you want to stand out of the pack, get good. Get really good.
How has the digital artistry landscape evolved over the last several years? In what direction do you see it going?
There has been a massive expansion in what is possible over the last few years. I think with music, recordings are of much lower value than they used to be. But, there are fewer middlemen too. Nonetheless, I think musicians will lose recordings as a major revenue stream and start relying much more on gigs and festivals.
In regards to film and television, conventional advertising is struggling to keep up with the Internet. We’ll be looking at more product placement and integrated advertising as a means of paying for programs and films. The dramatic reduction in production costs will mean more and more product being made. Some of the best pieces of art in the history of mankind will be released in the next few years with this change in place! It’s an exciting time to be alive.
What are some of the most innovative projects you’ve worked on and have seen?
Wow… there is some amazing stuff going on right now. The forefront teeters on the border between art and science. For example, there is a camera now that can image at a trillion frames per second. It can take photos of light bouncing off a door and essentially look around the corner. It can see light splashing around in slow motion and even measure the density of an object. Who knows what will happen when artists run wild with this technology!
Tell us a personal story, point of view, or anything else you’d like to share with the world.
Pro Juice has been on break this year as Nick has been working hard in East Timor on the first feature film to come from that nation. However, we’ll be re-focusing in 2013 to get the second season up and running. Both of us have other jobs and Pro Juice is made on a shoestring budget. That is the whole point, though.
Everything we talk about in Pro Juice relates back to the idea that amazing things have become possible in the last few years and budget is no longer a barrier. If we at Pro Juice can’t make our show for little or no money, then our entire message is false. The integrity of the show is almost reliant on the fact that it’s an underground production. If you’d like to help us get our shoestring budget together for season two, please visit indiegogo and become a sponsor.
Ariel Nishli is the Editor-in-Chief of The Sixth Wall. He’s got a big apple in his heart but moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2007, he worked in the motion picture literary department at ICM, then moved on to feature film development at Parkes MacDonald Productions. Ariel’s wardrobe has steadily devolved from designer suits to worn out slippers, as he now focuses on screenwriting and journalism when he’s not obsessing over this magazine.