"Me and My Shadow" (10/10)
When it comes to celebrity, where does the human end and the persona begin?
That conundrum has beguiled fans and indeed trapped many a musician, actor, comedian and artist through the years. Indeed, in today’s day and age, social media influencers and reality TV celebrities find themselves walking the same strange path.
From the audience’s perspective, it’s practically impossible to discern the difference between the artist and their character; and when the performance is really good, the line can get blurred for the person up on stage, too.
In the case of musician and digital artist Joel Zimmerman, the line is pretty clear, as every night, he transforms into the Grammy-nominated producer deadmau5 by donning a giant, light-up mask.
Still, who is the man behind the mask?
A new series of photographs-turned-digital collectibles explores this very question. Dubbed Shadows, the pieces were created in collaboration with American photographer Timothy White, and present Zimmerman at odds and at peace with his larger-than-life alter-ego in a variety of settings which Zimmerman helped produce in the digital realm.
A long-time proponent of Web3 technology and its ability to create connection between artist and audience, Zimmerman is making the thought-provoking collection available to his fans as digital collectibles via the NFT marketplace Makersplace.
There are four images in all, and three editions of each will be offered in digital collectible form, and a few co-signed photographs are up for grabs, too.
White is no stranger to capturing the essence of big-name celebs. He’s worked with Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage and Will Smith; as well as musica icons Queen latifah, Eric Clapton, Outkast and Keith Richards. Still, he’s never quite been a part of a photoshoot like this.
“This collaboration between deadmau5 and myself began with conversations about the story behind the photos and how co-creating a shoot from start to finish and documenting it all would be the perfect definition of blockchain provenance,” White is quoted in a press release. “The shoot took place at a location in East Los Angeles on June 9th, 2021, and both Joel and I were wearing motion sensors during the shoot to enable Joel to create a virtual world surrounding the shoot, while I created the still images, so that both of us as artists could collaborate on telling the story in our own way.”
"Chairman of the Board" (5/5)
The series starts with “Alter Ego,” a 1 of 1 piece whose digital collectible counterpart comes with a museum-quality 30 x 40 co-signed photograph. It shows Zimmerman sitting against a wall, his shadow looming large over him in the shape of his deadmau5 persona. The viewer is invited to look into Zimmerman’s expression to see how he truly feels about his other half.
“Chairman of the Board” shows deadmau5 in black-and-white, standing at the head of a long desk, representing the empire that this alter-ego has helped to build. It will be made available in 5 editions, the fifth of which will trigger an auction to own one 20 x 24 co-signed, museum-quality photograph.
“Me and My Shadow” takes the concept of “Alter Ego” one step closer with a much more intimate shot of Zimmerman, who now looks directly into the viewer’s eyes as the deadmau5 shadow looms large above both. This one is offered in a series of 10 digital collectibles and does not feature a physical counterpart.
The final piece, “dormau5,” is the only photograph in color, and it shows deadmau5 doing his thing on stage with a background of Zimmerman’s studio, inspired by the Dormouse character of Alice in Wonderland. The idea is that the character of deadmau5 is standing on the outside looking in on the sanctum where the real artistry happens, playing up the difference between the man and the mythic character.
The Shadows collection is presented in partnership with Morrison Hotel Gallery, an organization with which White is a partner. The collection is now live and up for grabs at Makersplace. Visit makersplace.com/drop/shadows to learn more.
Photography by: deadmau5 and Timothy White