Interview: Slime Sunday Dishes On Playboy, NFT’s & Pushing Buttons With His Evocative Artistry
"Erotic digital collage, and other weird shit."
Mad Love 2m

Artists like Mike Parisella are few and far between.

Known online as @slimesunday, the Massachusetts-born collagist has spent over eight years developing what might be the most eye-popping artistry since Michelangelo splashed a bunch of willies on the Sistine Chapel. Continuously sending shadow-banners into a tailspin with his evocative aesthetic- equal parts erotic and tasteful- Mike’s catalogue has moved the goalposts in graphic design, which for him are located anywhere south of the torso.   

 

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A post shared by Mike Parisella (@slimesunday)

Prudes should be forewarned. If you are shocked by the micropenises in The Creation of Adam, then you should preemptively clutch your pearls again before reading on. Unafraid of a cheeky innuendo (or outright nip-slip), R-rated imagery is a staple overtone in Mike’s work, spanning suggestively shaped fruit, barely-there garments and a harvest farm’s worth of weed- all intoxicants which make it near-impossible to look away. 

 

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So moreish are his depictions of a spliff-smoking Mona Lisa or a thigh-bound landing strip that consuming Mike’s work feels like something of an addiction. You could scroll for hours and still find an artwork more daring and bizarre than the last.

With this eye for the seductive, and a clear technical prowess that goes beyond shock value, Mike’s career has continued to soar despite mainstream media’s frequent censorship (content warnings are a mainstay on his Instagram page). Over the course of his career, Mike has appeared in some of the world’s biggest publications from The New York Times to the match made in nudist heaven Playboy, and has collaborated with music industry giants like J. Cole and Lana Del Ray. 

 

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We caught up with Mike Parisella to have a chat about his career, inspirations, and recent foray into cryptocurrency. Catch the full interview below, and head here to follow him on Instagram.  

When did you first start out in the digital art space?

I started seriously creating art around 2013 and made it an obsession. I quit my job working on an ambulance and decided to go full in on art. 

 

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A post shared by Mike Parisella (@slimesunday)

When did you first start gaining such a large social media following? Was there a particular artwork that prompted it? Did it happen quickly?

Back when I joined Instagram back in 2014ish, it was a lot easier to gain a following especially with hashtags. I used to use like 30 very niche digital art specific hashtags per post. I don’t think there was a particular piece that really set anything off, but at the time it was all about the hashtags and getting your work reposted by other big accounts.

Today, for me at least it’s definitely harder to increase your following, since Instagram censors my work and I show up in less places, #shadowbanned, and it’s hard for me to post something without it getting deleted.

Do you have a favourite piece or collection of pieces? What is it that makes this your favourite?

Yep, it would be Eschscholzia Californica. I was in a massive creative block that was lasting weeks. One day at a local vintage comic store I was rummaging through old magazines, and I flipped to a page with a photo of a girl snorting a line of coke off a rug. The magazine was from the 70s, there was only one in the store, and it was buried amongst a stack of thousands of other magazines. Flipping to that page at that exact time was like finding a needle in a haystack. Everything else came together naturally after finding that image.

 

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A post shared by Mike Parisella (@slimesunday)

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

I look at a lot of old advertisements, older photographs, and nature images. I think a lot of my ideas are just a culmination of the millions of photos I’ve seen over the years.

If you could sum up your style in a sentence, what would it be?

Erotic digital collage and other weird shit.

Some of your pieces have been removed from Instagram, do the community guidelines frustrate you, or are they a good sign that you’re pushing the envelope?

The goal is to push the envelope as far as humanly possible without getting banned. It’s frustrating for sure, especially when it takes days to create something, but I guess it’s just part of the gig. If I wanted to make some boring ass mediocre art, I could, but I have way more fun pushing buttons and normalising nudity in art.

 

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A post shared by Mike Parisella (@slimesunday)

Your work has also made ground as NFT’s. Could you explain how you came to this space and what you like about it?

It really just evolved out of Covid-era boredom and lack of funds. I hit up my friend Justin Blau (aka 3LAU) last August and asked him if he had any ideas for me, as I was bored and wasn’t making any money. He wasn’t touring at the time and he started to explain NFTs to me.

At first I was like, WTF? A Bitcoin bull jpeg sold for 50k on this Nifty Gateway website… WTF is going on here? But the more he explained it, and the more I understood the technology, I became hooked. Both Justin and I started SSX3LAU as a collaborative project right after that call. Since then I have been releasing NFTs as Slimesunday, and with Justin as SSX3LAU. It’s been a wild ride so far.

Do you think the hype for NFTs will be short-lived or are they here to stay?

Here to stay 100%. Digital art isn’t going anywhere, and the tech behind NFTs is the only technology that currently exists to verify a digital asset. 

Your work has been featured in some big-name publications. Which one was the most exciting or the best to collaborate with?

Playboy for sure. I got to work with them briefly when the magazine was still being released but we did a major collaboration in the NFT space that I had a lot of fun with. The whole team was super cool and getting a chance to be involved with one of the most iconic magazines of all time is a pretty legendary life goal.

 

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A post shared by Mike Parisella (@slimesunday)

You’ve also worked with some high-profile musicians. Who was your favourite to work with and what was your role in the collaboration?

I’ve been doing work for 3LAU for years as a freelance artist. Over the years we have become great friends and I never passed up an opportunity to make something for him. Then NFTs happened and we started SSX3LAU, which is a 50/50 art project. We both played an equal part in the creation of each piece and it’s one of the most important projects of my career.

Words by Tom Disalvo August 4, 2021
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