Artist Check-in: Jonathan Machado of THE SHIFT

artistcheckin

We love chatting with artists across the spectrum – writers, visual artists, performers, and more. Everyone has a unique story about why they create and what speaks to them. And we all love a good story.

Welcome this week’s artist, Jonathan Machado, a Miami-based filmmaker who is working on a three-pronged project entitled The Shift. It will encompass a film, an instrumental audio album, and an animated graphic art reel that intertwine to show how society is undergoing great changes. This multimedia experience will attempt to redefine the art of storytelling & creative expression.

The project is composed of three distinct pieces:

ACT 1 : The story of a young rebel who is intent on exposing the fraud and corruption he witnesses in politics. His good natured motives, however, are taken to the drastic extreme in his quest to expose the POLITRICKS
ACT 2 : Rachel is a young woman who is envied by most around her. Young, beautiful, and successful, she leads an apparently fulfilled life. But she battles an inner darkness as she is unconsciously addicted to social media, continuously seeking external validation via MORE LIKES
ACT 3 : A loner / nomad / explorer who has been an outsider most of his life is determined to find that unknown spark which he seeks for. After failing to find it in the external world, he moves the search into the depths of his own mind on his quest to ASCEND

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When did you first realize you had an interest in the arts and storytelling? Do you remember the first thing you created?
I first realized I had this interest when I was about 5 or 6. My stepdad came into our life around that time, and he was an incredibly talented craftsman. Literally anything he would tell you he could build with his hands.
One of his strongest fortes was wood sculpting. I remember as a kid just watching him for hours on end sculpting sculpture after sculpture. The fact that he could craft anything he visualized with his own hands stuck to me. We actually collaborated on some pieces, one of which I still have in my living room. I think that mentally laid the groundwork for my interest in the arts.
The first media or artpiece I created on my own was a hip hop beat on a cracked version of Fruity Loops. I remember the first time I played that recording on speakers for my friends. They nodded their heads to it and complimented me on it. The feeling I got from that was unlike any other I ever felt. I was hooked.

What is the scene like in Miami for filmmaking and music? Is it a supportive one?

The film scene in Miami is still very young and raw. It lacks a certain polish that other major markets have. But thats also one of its best aspects. That pure, unadulterated talent is there. If you know where to look.

There’s a lot of competition and egos of course, it is Miami after all. But there’s also an emerging presence of unity and collaboration happening as well.

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Could you describe your current (very ambitious!) project? 

The Shift is an encapsulation of what’s happening now. Our generation is faced with the most distractions than any other before it, but also the most opportunities as well.

There are several goals we are aiming for with this project. The basic one being to create a  fully immersive multimedia experience that innovates the way art is created. People make films. People make albums. People make art books. It’s very rare to see people who create all three, with corresponding themes and stories.

We live in the age where technology grants us the capability to create pretty much anything we hear or visualize in our minds. The Shift is my way of expressing that (or at least, expressing the scattered thoughts in my brain ) It’s controlled chaos.

Looking at the bigger picture, our aim is to express to people that indeed there are great changes occurring at an exponential rate. It’s occurring so fast that most people cant even process whats going on. Were not here to preach, condemn, or suggest a way of life. Basically we’re just asking people “Are you paying attention? ” If you’re not paying attention, it will cost you.

Which part of this project came first: the music which informed the film, or the film’s thematic ideas which then informed the music?

Definitely the music came first. A large part of what we do is music videos, where clients come to us with a song which we mentally transcribe to visuals. Visualizing music became second nature.

[The composer] Matthew and I built a collection of recordings which most people never really heard (or were aware we made in the first place) I thought what better way to debut those recordings than with matching visuals. That eventually snowballed into what it is now.

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What about our current state of technology, media, connectedness frightens you? What about it inspires you?

Nothing about it frightens me really. A knife can be used to stab someone to death, or it can be used to cook dinner for your kids. The knife is not good or bad in itself. It just is. It’s a tool. it’s all on how you use it.

The wonderful thing about this social media revolution is that it grants people access to other people, knowledge, and resources that we never had before. I have received emails, messages, and even funding from people across the world who I would have never came into contact with otherwise. It’s grants us an incredible platform to spread whatever interests us, and connects us to those with the same interest.

On the other hand, I feel its dehumanizing us. We are being conditioned to think less, buy more, and have everything faster. People place less emphasis on establishing personal relationships, and more on how many followers, views, or likes they get.

There have been studies that show that social media is physically rewiring our brains synapses. The research literally suggest we are becoming more robotic like in nature. That’s pretty crazy.

Your project begs of the audience to pay attention to the shifts occurring rapidly around them. What do you hope people take away from the project?

I just hope they grasp the notion that indeed the changes are happening. It shocks me to see how many people are asleep to what’s really going on.

Any sources of inspiration you would like to mention? Other filmmakers or storytellers that made you want to do what you do?

I have vast range of influences:

Musically: The Roots, Flying Lotus, Santana, Nas, Jay Electronica, Hendrix, Clint Mansell.
Film-wise : Kubrick, Tarantino, Scorcese, Guy Ritchie, The Coen Brothers, Park Chan-wook, Christopher Nolan.

Other than that, I would have to say my team (LightWorks Production) definitely pushed me to this level. I probably wouldn’t be into film if not for them.

theshiftIf you want to support Jonathan’s project,
hop on over to the Kickstarter page.

Image Sources: Artist Check-in, other photos courtesy of Trecia Brown

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4 thoughts on “Artist Check-in: Jonathan Machado of THE SHIFT

  1. Awesome accomplishment. I wish you all the best. Shift has been ‘my word’ of the year, several years running. Have you heard of Kickstarter.com? There are others like it out there. Check them out.

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