Mikka Byarugaba, Woollahra, NSW
Images by Joe Brennan
We first met the delightful and endlessly talented digital artist Mikka Byarugaba as he tore his way through a bustling dance floor at one of Sydney’s newest underground bars. DJ Acyde had been flown in from Los Angeles for the night and Donna Summer’s classic ‘I Feel Love’ was reverberating through the room. It was a hedonistic, hot and sweaty moment that feels like a life-time ago today; it’s also a world away from the tranquil apartment Mikka shares with his partner Emanuela, nestled in the treetops of a leafy street in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. We visited Mikka to talk about his ever-evolving creative practice and to take a look at some of his favourite things.
“I grew up in New Zealand and moved around the North Island a lot, but I spent the most time in Wellington, that's where my family is as well. I haven't been living in this apartment for long, about three months now. I absolutely LOVE the amount of natural light that comes into the house, it’s north facing. I love seeing the sunset in my room and having a birds eye view of everything below.”
“My favourite thing about the area is the greenery, the abundance of trees. Walking around the neighborhood is always so nice and I also love the fact that Centennial Park is super close.”
“Our bedroom is fairly minimal, I have a pair of La Marie Kartell chairs right opposite my bed, and above the bed I have a very beautiful pencil artwork by Gabriella Bowden.”
“In the sunroom I have a pair of vintage Casalino chairs by my desk, my Pro-Ject turntable and SP404 placed opposite the desk with an original 1980’s Chinese propaganda poster Emanuela got whilst in Shanghai. Above my desk on the left there's a photo of me and my grandad taken in Uganda, and on the right is an artwork of my own, on aluminium.”
“All the pieces of art in my bedroom have significant meaning to me, but I’d probably say the two objects that are particularly special to me are my SP404 I've had for about 5 years now, I use for sampling and making mixes. As well as my absolute favorite vinyl by Cortex, ‘Troupeau Bleu’ (first edition reissue from 1999, relatively rare) a record that I've desperately wanted for the longest time, very reminiscent of my childhood as it reminds me of my grandad. He collected a lot of jazz/funk records and one of them was Troupeau Blue.”
All the pieces of art in my bedroom have significant meaning to me.
As a digital artist, Mikka's work revolves mostly around augmented reality, however he hopes to incorporate his love of music into his creative practice more in the future. Most recently Mikka has worked in collaboration with a selection of brands and leading Australian publications like Russh and GQ.
“I love working within the world of augmented reality, I’m also currently exploring the possibilities with interactive 3D art as I feel like there's unique future possibilities with them both.”
“I first got into filters through Snapchat! I remember being so intrigued by them when Snapchat first introduced augmented reality on their platform four years ago and wanting to create my own. I’m still learning as technology is constantly evolving, this is often shown through my work as I’m always exploring a new skill or technique.”
When he’s not making art or mixing music Mikka enjoys getting out of the city and seeing new places on his motorbike.
“I absolutely love taking my motorbike up to Webbs Creek along the most beautiful sweeping roads. I find myself in such a meditative state where I feel I’m one with my bike, sounds super cliche but since the roads are quite narrow and largely unpredictable you almost feel like you develop a 6th sense and pay close attention to your surroundings as well as how the bike feels and reacts to the road. I find that it's relatively rare for me to get into that state but when I do it feels incredibly euphoric.
I absolutely love taking my motorbike up to Webbs Creek along the most beautiful sweeping roads.