Sean Mundy is a photographer, digital artist, and music producer from Montréal, Canada. In his work, Sean combines visual vocabulary from iconography, symbolism, and the surreal to probe at themes of division, isolation, and conflict through photography and digital manipulation. Sean is also one of 0x Society’s Ambassadors.
CLEANSING by Sean Mundy
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about the mediums you work with?
My name is Sean Mundy and I come from a photography background. I started off photography by bringing my camera around everywhere I want and eventually, I went from photographing and documenting my life with my camera, to using it to create more conceptual ideas and images. I use my camera more as a tool to compile images and then I bring them into Photoshop to make my final pieces. So for that reason, I often refer to myself as a photographer and a digital artist, because it’s less about waiting for the perfect moment to show up in front of my camera and taking that photo and more about the process to create it. I started taking it more seriously in 2014, and I started to create music for my pieces as well.
Not only do you have a background in photography, but in music as well. Can you talk a bit about that?
My parents are both musicians, but they didn’t do it professionally. I can’t remember a time where there weren’t musical instruments around the house, or they weren’t playing music. They would sometimes stay up until three in the morning playing music. I remember I would go to band practices with them a lot when I was a baby, so I really grew up around it. That’s how I got involved in music as well. I play the guitar, the drums, a little bit of piano, the bass, I sing and I produce all the music as well. I prefer doing everything myself but there have been times that I do outsource because something might take a bit more of a specific skill set that I don’t have that takes years and years and years to refine it, but I do really love being able to do everything myself.
What are some of the influences that guide you in developing your unique style?
I’ve always naturally gravitated towards the darker atmospheres. Even as a kid, I remember that I was really into darker genres in books, video games, films and such things. I started photography in the same dark and moody atmosphere that most photographers approach and then, as I got older, I became more refined. There’s still that darkness to my work, but it’s much more palatable. I really like finding that line between something that can be beautiful, but at the same time, a bit unsettling.
A lot of people talk about your work and call it surreal. Do you agree with them and and describe it as such?
When it comes to describing my work, I wouldn’t say that “surreal” is the first word that comes to mind. But I also think that it would be disingenuous to say that there isn’t an element of surrealism in them. Sometimes the scenes are so strange and out there and there are definitely some callbacks to earlier surreal works. I usually just describe my work as very minimal. Even when there might be a lot of things going on in the image, it’s never visually noisy. I use the visual elements of surrealism more than the entire style itself. I think my work is pretty grounded in reality, but just removed a little bit. I want to make people do a double-take almost and realize that there’s something wrong here, really pushing them to think about what they are seeing.
How has the pandemic affected you as an artist?
The pandemic has to be my most productive year ever. I unfortunately lost my part-time work as a photographer for a small business when it first started, so for me it was just a wake up call. Everything that you have could be pulled out from under you. In a way, it also gave me a good excuse to get more serious with photography. I gave myself a goal to create an image every week. Since I work alone, it didn’t change too much for me in terms of how I created things. I have this huge backlog of images and ideas I’ve always wanted to create, so I never had a moment where I was sitting around doing nothing. I honestly think that 2020 was actually my best year in terms of the works I created since some of my favourites were create then. I was definitely lucky in the sense that I had a decent amount of savings, so I was really able to focus on creating personal works.
How did you get into the NFT world?
I got into NFTs in late January 2021. I had been hearing about them over and over, and I saw that Fvckrender and Aeforia were both talking about it. I kept seeing them use the words “tokenize” and “mint”, and I was like, “what the hell are they talking about?” I finally looked it up and that was my gateway into this world. I spent all of February learning about it and investing in some actual crypto projects to really understand what this world and community is all about. I figured that if I’m going to do this, I really want to learn about it and to know all there is to know. I ended up in some group-chats with other photographers who are in the space and we would just all talk about what we were working on and such.
Do you have any advice for any up-and-coming artists in the NFT world?
One advice I have is to be patient. Just because there is a focus on the people that blow up right now, it doesn’t mean that you won’t sell. There’s such an abundance of talent right now that I think for anyone to break through, it just takes a lot of time for people to notice the smaller guys. Don’t look for immediate results, focus more on the process. I also really think that it’s important to learn it all and take everything in. Learn everything to the point where, if anybody has a question, you can be the person that can answer those questions. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make sales right away, because I did that for awhile. I think it’s really important to be gentle with yourself. Focus on making good art and enjoy making it.