John Mutter is an artist, photographer, director at BIRD’S GOT YOUR BACK, producer, and composer. He has directed music videos for Sub Pop, been a finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition, been nominated for multiple Leo Awards, worked as a senior visual effects compositor for Disney, Marvel, and Netflix, and exhibited photo and video works internationally in critically acclaimed solo and group shows. He is also an active performer of both improvised and composed music. His current project, billed under his name, is a live solo multimedia experience that combines projections of his self-produced music videos and video art with a live performance of his music. He studied composition with Giorgio Magnanensi and Jon Siddall in Vancouver and with Benoit Delbecq in Paris after receiving a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. He also studied visual art at the University of British Columbia and The School of Visual Arts in New York city. He currently runs a virtual venue and live music streaming channel called NICEDOGSUNIVERSE which presents artists in interactive, audio responsive 3D worlds.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
I'm a director, photographer, visual effects artist, and composer. I've worked in both visual and audio mediums since a young age and am fascinated by the ways these two mediums can heighten each other's impact on audiences, especially in the context of narratives.
What inspires you, where do you draw influence from in your creative work?
I'm very interested in the patterns and themes found in human storytelling. I like to reference these tropes, question why they seem to occur so often in our art, and use them as both a contextual backdrop and a structural framework.
Who are some of your favourite artists/creators?
There are perhaps too many to name and the list is constantly growing. If I have to name just one group that continues to inspire me, it would be the string quartet from the Titanic (who famously kept playing as the ship went down.) I think about them a lot whenever things are not going to plan or situations are out of my control. Oh, and the artists in the Spotify playlist.
Where did the idea for your recent collaboration with TAIKAN come from?
I had been considering the concept of using my parents as models for some time, but the core of the idea began to take shape when TAIKAN expressed their desire to create a video highlighting the fact that they began as a bag brand. This prompted the idea of doing something nostalgic and I decided to reference a life-changing artist residency I did recently at a gallery overseas. My white Vans (which appear in the video still covered in the dirt of various cities) and TAIKAN Shoki bag accompanied me for the entire trip. I couldn't help but feel a profound connection to these two items, and this connection ended up heavily influencing the nostalgic theme of the video.
Tell us more about the visual effects in the TAIKAN collaboration. Where did the concepts come from?
The visuals effect shots are metaphorical nods to the trips I did while on residency. I didn't actually scale glaciers or sit atop volcanoes, but the experiences, although more subtle, prompted a comparable sense of wonder and accomplishment. It’s easier to get that feeling across with a little exaggeration though.
What projects do you have on the horizon for people to keep an eye out for?
I'm currently working on the 2.0 version of my multimedia show which is a live performance that combines my distorted alt-pop songs with my music videos and video art. I'll likely do both in-person and virtual live streams in the near future. I've also just started a new creative studio called BIRD'S GOT YOUR BACK which creates work in a variety of mediums, collaborates with other artists, and is available for commissions.
What is your favourite TAIKAN product so far?
I have to say my travel buddy, my black Shoki bag. I'm on a plane as I write this and guess what bag is by my side? ;).