What’s up everyone, my name is Nathan Michael. I am a photographer/entrepreneur and look to help brands tell a better visual story.
How was life growing up?
Life was always on the go. I like having my hands in a lot of pots. I was raised in a small city in Texas called Saginaw. One of the perks of growing up in a small town is having the opportunity to really take part in the community around you. I truly believe that if you can’t live well with those around you, you’re not really doing good life at all.
When did you begin to witness you had creative talents?
First off, I’m a big believer in that everybody is creative. I first started exploring creativity when I was around 5-6. I started drawing and strangely enough, my parents allowed me to draw all over my walls. I was thankful to have parents that granted me access to express myself. A little later, I started exploring music and playing drums. I’d spend a majority of my childhood trying different mediums. For me, it was all about having fun, maintaining interest and exploring new ideas.
You’ve been able to move around a lot, what finally landed you in Chicago?
I moved to Chicago after getting an offer to work as a designer at a church. After about a year, I decided to take the jump into freelance. I loved living Chicago so much that I never looked back.
As someone who travels and moves around a lot, have you witnessed a correlation between expanding creativity and traveling?
Totally, if anything, traveling just keeps you fresh. Traveling opens you up to new ideas, perspectives, allow you to see how others work and live. When you’re doing the same thing over and over again, it can become stagnant. Traveling breathes a sense of life into the day-to-day and keeps wanting to dig for the deeper things in life.
Photography is a passion we see of yours.
I got into photography when I was 22. My parents gave me a camera as a graduation gift (although I never ended up graduating). I always loved the ability to freeze time with a photo. There was something about capturing moments and creating moments that really fascinated me. After University, I spent the first few years working as a designer but kept being drawn to the simplicity of working as a photographer. When working with clients, a design was much more subjective, and therefore, took a lot longer. With photography, I found people either liked the photo or not, so I decided to move towards what was working faster.
Talk about how you first got involved with Instagram
I’m typically not an early adopter. I like to see how things work first and then figure out ways to make it different and/or better. Before joining Instagram, I was writing for some blogs and creating culture guides. And at the time, not many people were creating culture guides on Instagram, so I decided to take those ideas and share them on my feed too. I started creating content around my everyday life and highlighted the places I shopped, ate, and traveled to, and people started to catch on.
From a marketing perspective, what’s one thing you think Instagram should update or work on?
I think in some ways Instagram has started to become very congested. It’s not that I’m against change, I just don’t believe in change in the way of trying to meet everybody’s needs.
You have been involved with advertising for a while now, are millennials starting to change advertising?
If there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that things will change. I think every generation changes the way things work and that’s the beautiful thing about change. My hope is that as the landscape of advertising changes, we focus on making better human experiences and focus on selling/advertising products that enhance people’s lives without manipulating them.
I first heard of you from Popular pays
Allan and I were friends before Popular Pays, and one evening we bumped into each after a long evening of drinking. We are both southern boys, so we had a hankering for Chicken, Popeyes to be exact. The next day he called me up and told me he had an idea that he wanted to share with me. He came over with Corbett and pitched me the idea of what has now become Popular Pays. I thought the idea was really smart and told them I wanted to be a part of it. Allan was looking for ways to connect the ideas with local shops and I sold them on ways I could make it a better product and a great experience for people. After a few nights of eating burgers and writing ideas on napkins, we thought, “what the heck, we should do this!”
Now, your main focus is on your new ad creative studio Low Res
I loved Popular Pays because it was something new and adventurous. When you’re doing a startup you’re running at a pace that is unlike anything natural, it totally defies human behavior. For me, running that pace became very exhausting. I also realized that I enjoyed creating and building community more than building an App. When I decided to leave, I took some time off and worked on a few other projects. Around a year or so later, I found a way to bring all of my ideas into one spot, and that’s when I decided to start Low Res.
Low Res is a creative agency and a hub for creative minded people. We create batches of monthly content for brands in an effort to help them tell a better visual story. We also open our studio up for the community to be able to get inspired and resourced by other like-minded creative in Chicago. My hope has always been to create something here in Chicago to help our city become a better place for artists and creative-minded people.
Over the last year, we’ve been able to work with brands like Knob Creek, Wendy’s, Basil Hayden’s, American Express, Shure, Farmers Fridge, Kolo Topdrawer, RX Bar, and many others. It’s been an exciting time and we really just want to continue working with brands that are trying to make a difference.
Rumor is, you started a new Podcast?
We did! I started the podcast with Dan Sumpter, Jonny Mendez, Tyler Thompson, and Jon &Valerie Strattan Guerra. The podcast is called “The Creative Muscle” and it’s available on iTunes & Googleplay now. Our goal is to demystify creativity. We want to show that creativity isn’t just for artists, it’s for everybody. And just like a muscle, the more you use it, the more it grows. We are going to have bi-weekly interviews, discussions, and performances that all guide listeners on how to channel their creativity to create a better life for themselves and the world around them. This past Friday we just released our pilot episode. In the first episode, we break down the four elements of the creative life, which will be the main premise of each show.
When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who brought people together in a way that celebrates the greatest story of life – an abundant life with Jesus. My hope is to use creativity to point to our creator and show others that they were called to be co-creators in life with God.
Written By: Nicholas Rud