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A Solid Foundation: Academy Graduate Micke Tong Prepares for First Solo Show

The basic skills Micke Tong learned in his Academy of Art University foundation classes have taken him a long way: the BFA Computer Arts: New Media graduate is exhibiting his innovative digital illustrations in his first solo show, The Spectacle. Micke applies the traditional techniques of painting and illustration he learned at the Academy to his digital arts. The result is a unique and truly unforgettable visual experience.

Raised in an artistic family, Micke discovered he had a natural talent for illustration. He came to the Academy in 1995 and started his first year as a 3D Animation student. When the Internet began gaining popularity, he switched his major to Computer Arts: New Media. He was captivated by new technology and wanted to join the digital arts movement to express his creativity in an entirely different way.

"Turf Wars"

In order to achieve this, however, he needed to learn the essentials of art and design. Academy of Art University offers a foundations curriculum that gives students the traditional core skills of drawing, composition, color, design, and perspective.

“AAU had great foundation courses, especially for illustration, and taking a variety of drawing classes really inspired me the most,” he said.

In Micke’s opinion, the Academy’s greatest resource is its instructors. Former Fine Art instructor Ning Hou continues to influence his work.

“He really taught me the beauty of illustration and technique, foundations I still use today in my digital work,” he said.

Fate Be the Handspike

His show, The Spectacle, is composed of all-digital illustration and handmade installation pieces. Micke enjoys mixing up digital work with craftsmanship. All of the images are mounted on custom-made wooden frames. Micke considers his work to be experimental because he is still exploring new techniques in the digital medium. He describes his work as “a dreamscape of exotic cultures, personal truths and elevated realities with an equal measure of sophistication.”

"Dolly of Edinburgh"

The show is a part of the Rising Artists series, created by project: Gallery in Los Angeles. He started showing with project: Gallery in early 2006 and after impressing them with his work, they offered him his first solo show.

“I guess you can say the Rising Artist Series is where emerging artists can gain recognition for their labor,” he said.

Micke, who considers himself a “control freak,” did all of promotional work for the show. He wrote his own press release, promoted on blogs and online publications, bought ad space, invited surrounding Los Angeles Galleries and much more. He hopes that the exhibition will draw a new fan base, as his work is very unique from any other artists’ work. Most importantly, he wants to expose the public to the world of digital art.

“I just really hope to push the digital art movement and show that it has a place of importance, especially for this generation of pixel heads.”


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