View Full Version : Interview with Mike Mezyan - Table Tennis Artist

Matt Hetherington
05-03-2013, 12:56 PM
Unveiling the Magic Behind the Art - A Trip into the Mind of Mike Mezyan

For this interview and more visit www.mhtabletennis.com (http://mhtabletennis.com) (Matt Hetherington's TT Blog)

When I first became acquainted with Mike Mezyan some months ago, he was a die hard magician with some of the coolest tricks you've ever seen. He was a great fan of my first international table tennis videos and my blog and a really enthusiastic individual. Some time after that Mike began creating artistic playing cards with Killerspin Krew members on them, it was from here that his imagination blossomed and we were exposed to some of the most thoughtful, creative and inspiring pieces of table tennis artwork which Mike has produced over these months. I decided to have a live interview with Mike, something I have been looking forward to for some time. Let's get inside the mind of Mike Mezyan and find out what drives his amazing artistic pieces!

http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/527420_321241591308041_573509375_n.jpg (http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/527420_321241591308041_573509375_n.jpg)

The Four Elements
Image courtesy of Mike Mezyan

Matt - Well obviously the first question I have to ask is about magic
how did you become involved being a magician and what inspired that?

Mike: I was around 10 years old, my uncle showed me a coin trick and I loved magic.
I then got taught by a very good magician in Chicago and went off from there.
Now when I show my tricks to my uncle he thinks I signed a contract with the devil :P

Matt - hah, so you have always had a creative streak and a bit of imagination?

Mike - Yes magic opened a door for me of believing nothing is impossible
but my imagination got built up in more complex ways.

Matt - Interested to hear :D

Mike - I was raised in a kinda poor family, my dad couldn't afford buying me things ..I used to get a frying pan painted red and imagine it's a table tennis racket. Things like that..I used always to imagine the things I wanted from ordinary stuff twist them around and live in them.

Matt - So table tennis was always something you wanted to pursue?

Mike - Yes indeed! I lived next to a table tennis cub when I was a kid. I was never able to play since I didn't have a racket it was too expensive to buy I used to sit and watch and imagine
then I started cutting pictures of famous players from magazines and stick them to a book I had
and draw weird things around them and cut pictures of me and put them there as well :)

Matt - So how long was it before you were actually able to start playing?

Mike - Actually that's a good story.
The owner of the club noticed me regularly there and asked me why I never play.
I told him I don't have a racket....so he gave me one as a gift, he kinda liked my attitude about it.
I was like 13 years old if I remember correctly.

Matt - That is a great story

Mike - Yup..I still have that racket to this day. I hide it as a memory and a reminder.

Matt - Very cool indeed. So let's get onto the artwork side of things. You've been spurring some pretty big interest lately. Tell us more about the beginning of the artwork, the collector cards.

Mike - Well the collector card was inspired by a card game I like called magic the gathering, I always thought wouldn't it be cool to have cards like these but table tennis themed? :)

I used my graphic design skills and imagination to come up with some of those cards, however I was very limited by what I could do since the card space is small and I can't show many details in the artwork.
I then decided to start doing a full scale artworks but it was a lot harder than I thought.
I had to brush up on my photoshop skills intensely with extra courses. I still learn everyday more and more and I always believe I can do better.

Matt - Where did your initial graphic design skills come from? Is it something you studied?

Mike - I am a computer engineer originally, I hold a masters degree, but I didn't know much about graphic design. I started teaching myself little by little...but nevertheless it always looked amateur and fake.
It took me a very very long time to grasp the software and make it work to what my imagination needs.

Matt - Let's talk a little bit more about the thought process of your artwork. Where the ideas come from. Perhaps we can use one piece to illustrate it, which one is your favourite?

Mike - The thought process is weird actually, I never think of a concept or idea they just come to me through mental experiences...meaning I just imagine one thing I like and then I start building upon it while working on the artwork.
The idea or concept is never fully complete before the start of my artwork

Matt - Intruiging!

Mike - My favourite one is the one I made with Biba and King Lang playing with sword versus dragon

http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/375844_320772914688242_784672829_n.jpg (http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/375844_320772914688242_784672829_n.jpg)

Mine and Mike's favourite art piece
Courtesy of Mike Mezyan

Matt - I think that's my favourite too haha

Mike - And Lord Zhang Jike flying with 2 rackets

What people don't know is most of my artworks is not what they seem to be, meaning its not one continuous piece...sometimes it's more than 15-20 pictures stitched together and blended seamlessly.

Matt - I know you are quite involved with Killerspin. Your good friend Rajeev Sharma had this to say about you: 'Crazily creative, crazily in love with Table Tennis and his imagination is very futuristic.'
So I have to ask you this. How important is a bit of craziness to what you do?

Mike - Yes I do some projects with Killerspin. I am involved in a couple at the moment as well...Rajeev is one of the biggest influences in my artworks...he has always supported me pushed me forward! We are a very good friends indeed!
I remember many times I put a large smile on his face indeed. :)

This is a very important question indeed!
Good one!
In any creative job you have to come up with things others won't think about that's why it's called creativity. To be able to do that you have to let yourself mentally go free. Everyone who knows me personally admit I do have a streak of craziness in me :)

Matt - So I'm sure a few people would love to know a bit more about your hair. What's the story mate?
Mike - Ahhh the hair! Hahaha
I just had a hair dresser once told me I want to make something cool for your hair I said ok
He said grow it and come back...
So I came back and he styled it. For some reason I felt really good about it, like it suits my personality...crazy..mentally free..imaginative and different hair....and it has always been there.

Matt - Another cool story
So how far can you go? What are the big plans?

Mike - Actually here is the thing
The more I am doing this the better I get and the more experience I am gaining.
The doors are opening for me left and right..I've been offered multiple jobs.
Nevertheless I am starting to work now on more things like racket artworks and conceptual equipment.

Matt - Speaking of big plans, let's backtrack to the Chicago International Table Tennis Festival. I'm sure you would agree, possibly one of, if not THE most exciting moment of your life. Tell us a bit more about it.

Mike - Oh yes it was a wonderful time and very inspiring for me! :)
I actually had the honor to design the graphics for the event for Kilerspin with the guidance of Mr. Robert Blackwell the CEO of Killerspin
I had some of my artworks printed on banners ,t-shirts,flyers,etc...

http://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/148841_321078604657673_1097922244_n.jpg (http://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/148841_321078604657673_1097922244_n.jpg)

Mike Mezyan at the Chicago International Table Tennis Festival
with Ma Lin, Chen Weixing and Chen Qi

Matt - That's right, t-shirts, you were meant to save me one of those lol

Mike - Yes the shirts will be available on Killerspin's new website once it launches, I'll make sure I save you one.
It was very exciting and it definitely helped me understand the possibilities and scope of the work I do.

Oh one thing...I met Zoran Primorac at the event. I showed him an artwork of him and Lupi in the living room on the wallpepr, Zoran was so impressed that he gave me his personal contact info and asked me to send him more of my work!
He is one of my secret fans ...no one knew this piece of info till now! :P

Matt - Ok I guess this is the moral of the story
It's passion right?
Everything you do, everything we all do for table tennis. You started with a dream.

Mike - Passion, determination and a vision
Indeed. We want more from our sport; more exposure, more tours, more money, more whatever.
If we, the young generation, don't start doing this to get the sport better....who will?

Matt - A nice sentiment for the future generations. Ok well I have to jet to training myself. I'm glad I finally sat down to take up the opportunity to talk to you a bit more about your story.

Mike - Are we done here? Can I have my cookie now? Virus flavored please :P

Matt - As I have always said and many others are saying, I do hope you continue to move on to bigger and better things.
And we look forward to seeing more amazing creations from you in the future
and yes, you can have your cookie now :)

Mike - One more thing

Matt - Go ahead

Mike - Most important thing that keeps me going is the fans and friends...Without them none of this would have been possible, I keep in touch with every single one of them and treat them with utmost respect and friendship.
The End. :)

[/URL]Matt - Well said, I couldn't agree more myself
Thanks for the time mate!

Mike - No thank you. I really appreciate it very much.
You can go training now ...and I can go make more artworks...see the irony?

Matt - Hey I'm a little more diverse than that ok :P
Catch you next time.

[URL="http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/16708_342265085872358_1743947196_n.jpg"]http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/16708_342265085872358_1743947196_n.jpg (http://www.facebook.com/pingpongwizard)

The Gates of Killertopia
Features in Mike Mezyan's Fantasy Series

05-03-2013, 07:42 PM
FANTASTIC! I really enjoyed reading this! The art is something totally unique and never before seen. Looks amazing! You really got talent Mike Mezyan, keep doing more of these! You just got one fan more :)

Matt Hetherington
05-04-2013, 01:43 AM
FANTASTIC! I really enjoyed reading this! The art is something totally unique and never before seen. Looks amazing! You really got talent Mike Mezyan, keep doing more of these! You just got one fan more :)

I think he's produced over 100 pieces now, it's great for the sport :) keeps things fresh and creative

05-04-2013, 12:23 PM
Love it! Do you have a website with your artwork ?

Ben Larcombe
05-04-2013, 12:29 PM
http://mikemezyan.com/ :)

Matt Hetherington
05-05-2013, 08:14 AM
He posts most of his items on facebook, 'Mike Mezyan Table Tennis Artworks'

05-05-2013, 12:56 PM
Simply amazing artwork and thanks for sharing, didn't knew him yet.

Most professional I've seen so far and for sure a big leap forward against the dusty image table tennis still holds.

If all ad banners would consists of this work, we'd probably solve our junior recruitment problems everywhere and attract much more spectators for any event.

Matt Hetherington
05-05-2013, 01:12 PM
Simply amazing artwork and thanks for sharing, didn't knew him yet.

Most professional I've seen so far and for sure a big leap forward against the dusty image table tennis still holds.

If all ad banners would consists of this work, we'd probably solve our junior recruitment problems everywhere and attract much more spectators for any event.

Nice of you to say so, I agree. I'll pass that on to him :)