Untitled Final Friday logo. Untitled Final Friday is July 26 6-10 pm and photo of Michael Sperandeo the featured artist at July's Untitled

Q&A with Michael Sperandeo

Michael Sperandeo is the featured artist for Untitled Final Friday: "Cyber Future" at the Denver Art Museum on July 26, 2019. Read our Q&A below to learn more, and then join us at Untitled! (You can see the program of events here.) Untitled is included with general admission, which is free for members.

I hope that [after attending this month's Untitled] the visitor will leave the museum with their imagination on hyperdrive, eager to have another adventure at the DAM.

– Michael Sperandeo

What inspires you?

I find most of my inspiration in books and friends. I love to read about Hermetic and Western philosophy whilst working through those practices in my artwork and in conversation with those closest to me. I also find gold in the conversations I have with my wife Ashley Frazier. She is an amazing artist and friend.

What aspects of your creative practice are you excited to share with visitors at Untitled?

Part of my practice is centered around our interactions with narratives, and the impact stories have on both our imagination and personal growth. I'm very excited to provide a style of storytelling that throws the audience into an enhanced empathetic immersion; you become the story. My interest in the enveloping nature of story led me to investigate the immersive properties of video game simulation realities. The experience visitors will have at the museum was heavily influenced by my fascination with real-world simulation. I want to create an imaginative world that can be maneuvered through the guidance of a game like a simulated adventure hosted on a mobile device.

What opportunities has Untitled given you to see your practice in a new way?

The opportunities to create a large-scale simulation experience through the Untitled event helped my perception of functional art flourish. Initially, I sought to create an app as a tool for an experience. As the process gained momentum, and collaboration with the DAM staff increased, I became aware of the exciting possibilities to scale this idea. I realized that the app became more than a utilitarian element and transmuted into a work of art in and of itself.

The app also has the capability to be used by a large group of people, exponentially increasing the impact of the app's undertones and narrative. This shook the core of my original idea and challenged me to push the app further into something more aligned with a mobile art piece. This has made a massive impact on my practice and has opened up the floodgates for further exploration of large-scale mobile experiences that are driven by aesthetics and story. Truly, this opportunity has facilitated a metamorphosis of my practice.

What collections/exhibitions are you connecting to for this event, and how are they inspiring you?

I was lucky enough to host the Untitled event alongside The Light Show exhibition. This was an honor beyond honor. The collection of these works have been pieces I have been in awe of for ages. The symbolism of light and shadow echo throughout the exhibition. These core elements of polarity are foundations of my own practice. In that regard, the show’s underpinnings became the roots of the experience and narrative that July’s Untitled event will procure.

What do you hope visitors will get out of your Untitled event at the Denver Art Museum?

The main takeaway I hope the visitor will have is FUN. The story is filled with philosophical nods, but ultimately this is my attempt to redefine the museum experience by bringing a simulated game that incorporates the importance of art. I hope that the visitor will leave the museum with their imagination on hyperdrive, eager to have another adventure at the DAM.

What does a program like Untitled mean to the local Denver arts community?

Fostering relationships between the DAM and local artists creates a type of communal dialogue that expands the inclusion of new art practices and facilitates the freedom for extravagant ideas to survive within platforms of high rapport. The Untitled program becomes a progressive conduit for communication that allows for the exploration and experimentation of both the artists and the museum, generating outcomes that accelerate creative initiatives.

What’s up next?

The Story of Alpha and Omega will continue. The next chapter will take place in a future timeline. I don't want to give much away, but if the first arc was enjoyed, there will be some fun new storylines in the second version. I will also be releasing a new animated short film that deals with the output of the synergy of two opposite forces. This will be released in September of 2019.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My website is michaelsperandeo.com. Also, I'm a current resident at RedLine Contemporary Art Center so if you would like to have a studio visit with me, feel free to reach out to me via my website.

Sarah Rockett is the artist programs coordinator in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum.

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