This series is aimed at getting to know exceptional UBC staff and faculty who are doing anything but the typical day to day. Discover the stories of these UBC Vancouver and Okanagan individuals, who contribute to making UBC an inspiring place to be.
Myron Campbell is a media arts instructor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. After graduating from the visual communication program at Medicine Hat College in Alberta, Campbell started his career at the Banff Centre for the Arts as a web designer. He considers this time to be educational, where he learned how to conduct himself as a creative arts professional.
In 2008, at age 29, he joined the digital and interactive media company, Switch United, as its youngest ever art director. In this role he co-created two different installations for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, which were met with great critical acclaim. He was awarded ‘Best Interactive Designer’ at the Toronto Canadian New Media Awards in December 2010.
Campbell first “got the bug for teaching” while mentoring design students at the Vancouver Film School (VFS). He started teaching nights at VFS and eventually became full-time. Shortly after joining VFS, he completed his master’s degree at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, majoring in media arts. After graduation, he sought out a stronger relationship with his art practice and decided to join the UBC community in 2014.
A: A number of artists come to mind. But when I really reach back, there was one that was really inspirational to me as a young child. I was a kid of the 1980’s, so Jim Henson was very important to me and still is for that matter. Everyone loves The Muppet Show and Sesame Street but it was his more personal endeavours that I was really attracted to. The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth are highly innovative in their puppetry and art direction and moved away from the mainstream. I really admire that.
[Canadian sculptor] David Altmejd uses half-human creatures to explore the side of being human that is dark and monstrous. There is also a child-like naivety in his work, which helps suggests that the creatures may not be dangerous. They’re large and grotesque but ultimately fragile and tired, like giants enchanted into stone for eternal sleep. Like Altmejd, I’m also interested in our duality as animals and how animal-human hybrid characters can act as predominant metaphors for the underlying animal nature present in sentient beings.
Mark Lewis is an amazing artist and filmmaker from Vancouver. I once heard him say in an interview that he isn’t an “idea artist”. He doesn’t go into making work with a big plan. He just starts working and allows the ideas to reveal themselves in front of him. I find this idea so liberating. We all live full lives and there are often too many reasons not to make art. Statements like “I’m too busy” or “I’m waiting for inspiration” can really debilitate an artist. I like the idea of just jumping in.
Myron Campbell’s creativity seems to be infinitely supplied. His work is not only imaginative but relevant in today’s societal dialogues. From overseeing large city installations, to lecturing on digital imaging and design, his work encompasses that of a true contemporary artist.
His next project at Robert Lake and Little Robert Lake will launch in May 2017. It will be installed by the Kelowna Art Gallery in the departure area of the Kelowna International Airport. For more information about Campbell’s work, visit his website.