HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - BLOODY SAMOAN
Comic Book Artist, Professional Wrestler and Owner of 'Bloody Samoan Art' Company
We got to hear from multidisciplinary artist Michel Mulipola also known as Bloody Samoan, about the amazing work he has been doing since our original Humans Of The Island profile on him in 2016. Since then he has accomplished a long list of achievements including working on an exciting new project with Disney.
Hear about Michel's work here...
You've been working with Disney this year, what has that experience been like for you?
Working as a Story Artist for the Disney Animation Studios has been an absolutely fantastic experience for me. As I have no background in the animation field, the challenges presented by this new (to me) medium has pushed my creative limits in a good way. I have learnt so much over the last 6 months from everyone in the Story Team.
I've been fortunate to be able to work from home in Māngere for Disney but I was lucky enough to work from the Disney Animation Building in Burbank, Los Angeles in November/December. Being in such a historic building filled with artwork from the 100 years of Disney was such a surreal experience. The synergy of that building is something else. You can feel the fizzing of creative energy as everyone throughout the building is trying to tell the best stories possible. That's the type of energy I vibe with.
While working in the Disney building, I also happened to be the first creative employee to place flags in Aotearoa and Sāmoa on their World Map of Hometowns in the Patch common area. I was so excited by that prospect, I actually filmed myself planting the flags on social media to document the occasion. Being a 'first' at Disney is no small feat.
Can you tell us much about this upcoming Disney project?
At the moment, I can't quite disclose the nature of the project I'm working on for Disney Animation. I can't wait till I'm able to publicly talk about it because it's an amazing project that I think a lot of people will be excited to watch. Look out for some announcements later this year and also keep an eye out for its release hopefully in the first half of 2024 on Disney+
Is there a project you've worked on over the past year that you're particularly proud of?
Since my initial Humans of the Islands interview in 2016, I have done so much in those 6/7 years:
- Illustrated comics for the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) which were released in comic stores all around the world
- Co-created the first ever Sāmoan language comic - O Le Aiga Sāmoa - with Nafanuatele Lafitaga Mafaufau
- Wrestled and had artwork in the Legend of Baron To'a film
- Illustrated artwork for the SIS TV show
- Illustrated billboards for the Unite Against COVID-19 campaign
- Illustrated a kids book on the High Chief Fānene Peter Maivia
- Illustrated a NZ School Journal about the Polynesian Panthers written by Victor Rodger
- Illustrated a hopeful response to the racist Otago Daily Times cartoon about the Sāmoan Measles epidemic
- Became the IPW NZ Heavyweight Champion for the first time
- Placed in the top 10% of Tekken 7 players in the world last year at the EVO tournament in Las Vegas
- Logitech Ambassador in 2022
- I'm the current IPW NZ Tag Team Champion
- Currently a Story Artist for Disney Animation Studios
- Currently working on a video game project TBA for a AAA gaming studio
So yeah - I haven't exactly been sitting idle over the last few years. I've been achieving so much it is surprising to me that I'm often ignored and overlooked by Pasifika media. I'm an outsider, an outlier and a trailblazer when it comes to Moana creativity but in that same breath, I do my own thing and let my work speak for itself.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we should keep an eye out for?
At the moment, the Disney Animation project I'm working on has taken up the bulk of my time so that is definitely the biggest upcoming project of mine to keep an eye out. I also illustrated artwork for an upcoming documentary film for GFC Films and Universal Pictures. There's also the upcoming AAA studio video game project as well. Those are the BIG things to look out for but I'm always working on something so follow my social media to get the updates: @bloodysamoan on Instagram and Twitter
What are some of your big picture goals for the future of your multifaceted career?
I've always wanted to be a comic artist since I was a little kid, and I still introduce myself as one but I've realised over the last couple of years that I am a Storyteller. I'm a Storyteller who utilises 'atypical' artforms for a Moana creatives to tell stories i.e comic books, pro wrestling, video games and animation. As a Storyteller, I look for the best medium possible to tell the stories I want to tell. I'm hoping to work for Disney Animation Studios on more projects but I also know my work and experience with them will also open doors to work with other animation studios like Dreamworks.
I had some great meetings with DC Comics editors at San Diego Comic Con in 2022 so hopefully I'll get to do some work with DC Comics too. Definitely a big bucket list thing to check off for me - draw comics for DC Comics and/or Marvel. Some of my 'big picture' goals is to direct a live action short film, TV show or feature film. In fact, I have written a first draft for a short film already, I've just been too busy to dedicate more time to it.
Maybe sometime in the future, I would also love to be able to create a creative studio for Moana artists to be able to create work in the illustration, animation and commercial art fields. I've always been fairly proactive when it comes to my career (you kinda have to be when you occupy an art space all on your own) so keep an eye out for more work coming from me soon. As they say, watch this space.
Check out more of Michels work on his website HERE
For Michel first Human of the Island's profile visit HERE