Michael Strapac is an artist, special effects designer and fabricator, born and raised just outside the Steel City of Pittsburgh, PA. His artistic habits developed at an early age when his Mom discovered that he began drawing his favorite Looney Tunes and Disney characters. His fascination with animation and cartoons sparked his interest into art. One of his key traits as a child was the obsession to color everything with black crayon, turning the pages into a sea of darkness. Perhaps this is an indication of where the horror and creepy style came into play. He describes his style as a creepy, whimsical horror, with character elements present throughout his artwork.
In addition to cartoons, he also loved movies as a kid. Most notably was the movie Gremlins. He always loved those little green creatures for their dark and pesky demeanor. It wasn't until he came to realize that these monsters were being created by real people and that they weren't actually going to hop out of his kitchen cupboards that he knew his true passion was going to be making monsters and movies.
Before earning his Bachelor of Science degree in graphic design and illustration from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2010, he studied architecture at Pitt and Kent State. Thinking that this was a good marriage of his love for math and art, he gave it a try. He still felt that his creative brain wanted more. The movies and monsters were always in the back of his mind. He always found himself up on the eighth floor at the Art Institute, inspired by all of the work of the special effects students. Looking back on it now, this was probably the floor he should've been on, but hindsight being 20/20, he would say everything worked out just the way it should have.
It wasn't until 2014 that he met another Art Institute alum and his mentor, Steve Tolin of Tolin FX. Here, he learned to hone in many of his skills in special effects, including moldmaking, casting, and sculpting. He worked on various feature films and theater productions while at Tolin FX. It was here that he also learned much more about blood effects, which he still considers his favorite roles to perform on set. Michael describes one of the best feelings as the build up on set from the cast and crew before the blood guys come to blow up a head or spray gallons of blood all over the place. The nerves actually start kicking in because it literally ends up being "your time in the spotlight."
In the fall of 2017, he decided it was time to give it a go and make the move out west to Los Angeles. Much of his success can be accredited to his parents, who knew it wasn't always going to be easy for him in choosing the path as an artist. They always supported his dreams and for that, he is forever grateful.
He continues to work as a freelance special effects artist as well as doing commissioned artwork of all kinds. The childhood love for monsters and movies has also prompted him to begin writing some of his own, in hopes of one day directing his own films. He still utilizes that graphic design degree as well, designing various logos from concept to completion. Concept and composition have always been elements of design that he enjoys, which is why illustrative logos have been some of his favorite to create. He feels that being an artist encompasses everything from building, to making, and just all around creative problem solving. Whether it's making monsters, drawing, painting, and everything in between, he is ready to take on any project idea you throw his way!