We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Curiel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, why did you pursue a creative career?
I decided to pursue an artistic career initially because of my love for music and cinema. I began playing guitar while in high school and became amazed at the process of creating a song, as I learned more about sound design and began to notice every little sound in music that often goes overlooked by the casual listener.
Later while in college I took a photography course and realized that not only was I intrigued by photography, but I was good at it, or at least I thought so (haha). I took over photographing nightlife in Tucson at a nightclub after their usual photographer graduated and then began getting into automotive photography since I was very into the Arizona car scene.
I later found the photography scene to be very over-saturated, mainly because one of the great things about photography is that it’s very inexpensive to initially get into, which means A LOT of people do it. Because of this, I set my eyes on creating videos as well, which I’ve found to be more rewarding, because it is more work to create a finished product, but I can convey a story better than a single photo could,. Also I found video editing to be very similar to editing music which I loved!
Working with the ZonaZoo at the University of Arizona allowed me to experiment with videos and start to develop myself as a videographer and helped me realize that this is something that I want to do for a living.
The biggest reward for me in pursuing an artistic career is that I will always have my works to look back on and see how much I’ve progressed through the years, and many years from now, my work will still be out there.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
With my art, I try to have as diverse of a portfolio as I can. I’ve always been a jack-of-all trades, which makes me constantly take on different kinds of projects, meaning that not only do I do photography and videography, but also graphic design, digital art, and fly a drone for my work as well.
A lot of my work has been the result of trial and error and I’ve learned over the years that no matter how great I feel about my work, in a couple of years I will always look back and be embarrassed by my previous work.
For any other creators out there, especially those that are new to the artist and creative world, know that there is always going to be somebody in your field that is better than you, but that doesn’t mean that your work is not good. It is very easy for me to compare my work to other artists, but this only makes me work harder to refine my craft and find my niche, so that I can stand out from other creators.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spot in the city is the Tempe Town Lake. It’s a great spot to take photos and meet friends for a nice late night cruise through the city, especially on the bridge nearby to cross the lake.
I’m also a sucker for a good country bar though so Whiskey Row is an excellent entertainment spot to listen to good music and have a good time with friends.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First of all I would like to shoutout Shona Brinkerhoff of Green Pastures Raw Milk Dairy. Doing photos and videos for her has allowed me to not only shoot things that I normally wouldn’t, but I’ve also been allowed more opportunities such as meeting more people in the community to work with and gaining new clients.
Secondly I’d like to shoutout the University of Arizona’s ZonaZoo and the crew that I worked with while working there. I was really pushed to develop exciting content and I worked with great people, specifically my boss Griffin Riley who taught me so much more about photography and helped me grow and get accustomed to working in the professional photography world while creating content for thousands of people to see.