Going to work isn’t bad at all when you love what you do. I am blessed to be able to say that and never want to take it for granted. What I love most about being a working digital artist is problem solving, where each day presents a brand new challenge. I’ve always been like that–when I was a kid I’d build some crazy Lego masterpiece and immediately smash it to build something else. Maybe I enjoy the process more than the product, though I do love to look back at a piece that succeeded in telling a meaningful story and was cool to look at, knowing I played a part in that success. This is why I am constantly looking for more difficult problems and more creative ways to solve them.
My name is Michael Dolan and I am a digital filmmaker, visual effects and 3D artist, and motion designer currently residing in the greater Detroit area. My career so far has been built around my love for imagination (it’s not just for kids … ) and an aptitude for generalism: Producing, directing, editing, compositing, programming, matchmoving, modeling, animation, lighting, rendering, matte painting, VFX supervision, design, and motion graphics. I have often worked on small teams and learned to fill multiple roles simultaniously, gaining experience across-the-board of content creation and post-production, while always having much more to learn. I love to sit down to a fresh idea, a drive full of footage or an untouched shot, crank up some tunes, and just vanish into another world. I have to be reminded to eat.
My career has been a constant time of learning and growing, bridging technical challenges with aesthetic opportunities, and working very hard to to one-up my own expectations for what a product could be. If I have had the opportunity to try something new or push a bit further than where I put the bar last time, I’ve taken it, and those are the jobs that satisfy me the most. What started as an 80′s kid messing around with painting software on a Commodore 128 has blossomed into much more than I could ever have imagined. I finished my bachelor’s degree in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics in 2006 and, besides a six-month stint roaming the country in a van, have been working ever since. Again, I am very thankful.
In-and-through my work, my God and my passion for making an impact on this world for Him are what compell me. My greatest joy is when my art can serve a purpose greater than myself, and If nothing else I want to be an encouragement to those around me while I work. I have great joy in wondering about God and His mysteries, seeing His beauty and mercy all around us, and I pray that my life inspires others to that end. My heart breaks for so many people who are hurting, whether visibly or invisibly, and I often dream that my use of pixels and bytes can in some way give them hope and point them to Jesus, in whom I have received hope and freedom. If you want to know more about my thoughts on this you’ll have to read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, where there’s a conversation at the end of chapter nine that discuses artists and light. I can’t explain it better.
After hours I enjoy experimenting and learning through my personal work; making digital art nobody will pay me to make. I can take all the growth from my career work and put it toward something purely for passion. Beyond computers, being with my wife and son is my simple reward these days, and I love it. You shouldn’t be surprised either to find me reading a classic novel, catching a movie, digging in at church, hiking in some wild place, or painting on garbage (visit my gallery)… I can only sit at a computer so long. In spite of that reality, I hope you enjoy the fruits of the countless hours I do spend gazing into the cold flickering light of a computer monitor. I do enjoy it.