About Michael Mallis
Michael Mallis (yes, as in “malice”) is another on our long list of artists who came to Pittsburgh for school and are still here. Fresh off his degree in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon, Michael - who works primarily in video and animation - is already showing his work around the region.
If you attended either of the Three Rivers Film Festival’s short programs last Friday, you would have had the fortune of one of the following videos: The Pittsburgh Wing Ding Miracle, one of a small group of short films in Pittsburgh 250’s Pittsburgh Reframed, or Natural Selection: The Rise of the Proletariat, which was awarded third place in the short competition.
If you missed their screenings, don’t fret. Natural Selection is already up at his website, and Miracle will be added soon. If you’ve seen them, and you’re wondering what kind of mind is behind the absurd, at times demented, animation, just give his interview (below) a read.
Straight From the Artist’s Mouth!
OT Blog: You came to Pittsburgh from the Philadelphia area in 2004 to attend Carnegie Mellon, recently graduating with a degree in Fine Arts. What made you decide to stay?
Michael Mallis: I already had a huge following of harem and helpers here and it would have been too costly to transport them elsewhere. I’m working on a plan now though to fit them all inside a caravan that I’ll take out west with me. Mustn’t forget my love of free Wing Dings every Tuesday.
OT: What does Pittsburgh offer that a larger city like Philadelphia cannot?
MM: I have a better chance of becoming mayor here than in Philly. I only need to campaign for, what like, a few hundred thousand people. Compare that to reaching over a million homes if I were to run in Philly. Also it would be easier to sell the Stillers to Cleveland. I would get shot if I tried selling the Eagles to Dallas.
OT: Your work has been featured in several festivals, including Pittsburgh’s own Three Rivers Film Festival. Though your work could be described as experimental animation, it is often sandwiched between more standard fare. How do audiences react to your work? What is your intended audience?
MM: My biggest fans are the elderly. I feel it’s important to try to reach them as a key audience and let the support trickle down to younger generations. Pittsburgh is heavily populated in the old, so why not be maybe the only animator catering to their interests? I’ll have a monopoly on that market.
OT: As an animator, what sort of support (from institutions, other artists, etc.) have you found in the Pittsburgh area?
MM: The Church of Scientology here is very kind to me. They have helped me with all my spiritual needs and have even expressed an interest in my future fame and fortune.
OT: Though your work is concentrated mainly in media, you also make comics. How has that form influenced your own work, and where do you see those forms overlap?
MM: I would like to start making comics again, sorta like Kathy meets Dilbert because I don’t feel like my work is reaching the middle-aged office-crowd demographic, the kind who love their water cooler jokes. Or I could make Dil-Kathy-Peanut cartoons.
OT: What can OT Blog readers expect to hear from you in the coming months?
MM: Great things, very great things. I’ve already begun an animation on the life of L. Ron Hubbard, who is a personal hero of mine, and I hope I’ll be able to spread his message of pseudo-Hindu/Freudian self-help to the masses. Oh, and I just found out I won third place in the Three Rivers Film Festival Shorts Competition.