Today we highlight the truly innovative work of Adam Makarenko (@adamgdog). Adam's construction of miniature exoplanets has led him down an amazingly creative path and we're downright giddy to share it with all of you. Dig in to his words and images below!
My name is Adam Makarenko and I'm from Toronto, Canada.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL?
I was outgoing in high school all those many years ago. But I was happy to leave the small town I grew up in. I enjoy going back and visiting my parents and exploring the abandoned mining landscapes
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
I wanted to be a rockstar but I couldn’t sing.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD?
Favorite food - popcorn.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
Since I am from northwestern Ontario originally it would have to be a raven.
WHAT TWO CELEBRITIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOUR PARENTS?
Kanye west and Kim Kardashian of course
WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST THING YOU'VE EVER DONE?
I accidentally set a forest on fire. Fortunately it didn’t cause too much damage.
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN'T LEARN FROM INSTAGRAM?
I am a filmmaker and Musician.
WHAT STARTED YOU ON THIS JOURNEY OF BUILDING AND PHOTOGRAPHING MINIATURE EXOPLANETS?
I spent one summer taking pictures of real bees and apiaries, and I really enjoyed that experience - until the winter arrived. All of a sudden I found myself wondering what to do. It was at this point where I decided to make a miniature world of bees and apiaries. This was my first foray into miniature.
Before the current exoplanets series, I started a photographic series of miniature-made space probes (that is still ongoing). I originally began making exoplanets, because I needed planetary backdrops for some of the probe scenes that I was creating. After a while, the exoplanet work just took off on its own. Now both series run in tandem with each other.
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCED YOUR WORK?
I use Instagram the most for social media. Overall it's a treasure trove of amazing artists, and it's inspiring. I think Instagram is a useful tool to spread your work around, because everyone is looking at it.
I've also had a few blogs mention my work and then this allowed me to pick up more followers. Instagram has also played a role in the format of the 'Exoplanet' work, being square.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
My new work ultimately questions the extension of our reach in both the universe and our imaginations, and the lengths we'll go to to find meaning in our own existence. I am making a thousand of them both as an artistic challenge, and a testament to the vast reality that exists beyond us.
Essentially I find aspects of other worlds to be paradoxical. We have the ability to locate them, and possibly find life on them, but getting to them is going to be the biggest challenge we face. How do we overcome the barrier of space time? We live temporally. For example, you can't communicate with an alien civilization 150 light years away, because a two way conversation would take 300 years. This fascinates me, because it's the unknown.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
I finish my pictures in Photoshop and then send them to my phone. I want them to feel 'illustrative' versus a straight up photograph.
HOW DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN THAT PROCESS?
For Mextures I like using Grit and Grain, Emulsion, and Grunge... but I have used all of them. I typically don't change too much about the color of the image (but it's nice to have those options). The overlays, and flexibility of the app is what makes it so great. So I use Mextures in at least 50% of my Instagram images for that added touch.
WHAT MAKES MEXTURES A VITAL PIECE OF YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
I think Mextures provides that added/finished touch. Overall, what I like is the versatility of the app. Specifically, how you can control the levels and the overlays in terms of the blending modes.
It's vital in the sense that the application can really make some of my pictures stand out. Sometimes when I finish a photo in Photoshop it feels a bit flat, and I like the look that Mextures can provide. In a nutshell, it's vintage-like and nostalgic for me - like the image could have been an illustration ripped out of an old magazine.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE?
It is simply satisfying to create something from nothing. This goes for anything art related, and for any artist. It allows you to explore your feelings, ideas, and concepts.
Inspiration comes from nature, and the universe - and the mystery of it all.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR WORK?
I like the work of cinematographer Bill Roe, filmmakers Chris Carter, Ridley Scott, painters like David Casper Fredrick, The classic impressionists, The group of seven especially Lauren Harris, and Emily Carr. Photographers like William Mortensen.
Discover much more of Adam's work here!