CaptaiNemo.net

I started making internet projects in 2005. I may have been earlier, but 2005 is what the earliest files I found are dated. For example, this one.

captainemo.net logo 2005

I have no idea what this was about, initially. I remember that at a certain point I wanted to make it into an online mall kind of place, and packed it with all affiliate programs that would take me, mostly from Commission Junction. That’s when I made this spy-glass logo.

The project didn’t make a single cent. It was all hand-written HTML, no backend. I remember using tables a lot to make all those banners fit together this way or another, each screaming with different colours, different fonts, each from a different opera.

I wish I would remember why I called it that. If it comes to me I suppose I’ll update this text.

Series of Postcards, 2002

In 2002, after the unforeseen luck with the t-shirt design and after the failure to sell any of my paintings (which was even more unforeseen), I tried to approach somebody from a postcard company.

I don’t remember how I found them — must have found some RFP somewhere. I decided to make a series of postcards about some recurring characters, a family.

guy in bed, sick A man with his son a boy on top of the roof a man with a picture of himself

The person who saw them actually liked them, but asked me to make them less computery. I had no idea how to do that (in Paint, or whatever I used for these), cause I never had a computer before, not one with a graphic interface. I just came to Canada, you see, and back in Russia I only had computers running BASIC

Properly, I should have drawn them with ink, scanned, and coloured in the computer, but I don’t remember what happened then. Maybe my aunt (in whose house I lived with the family) didn’t have a scanner, but more likely I was too cocky a 22-year old to submit to any art-direction. I came to Canada as an Artist — not some lowly designer :-) Little did I know, little indeed.

Chinese Guy for a T-shirt

In 2002 I got my very first commission to draw an illustration. The people wanted to print a wise old Chinese guy as a small logo and some fortune-cookie-style phrases across the chest.

So I did some research (it was so long ago that I think it was Yahoo at the time):

old chinese guy in a hat

old chinese drawing of a government official of some sort

So I produced a few variations:

jolly guy in a hat hobo-looking guy Jesus-looking guy in a chinese hat skinny chinese guy

Those were drawn by hand, then scanned or photoed, and then I don’t remember what I did to them that the last two look strange.

The people who wanted to make t-shirts said something like: “We like that hat, and that face, the one that looks like Jesus. It’s even better if the guy doesn’t look too Chinese, so we can’t be called racist.” They were really nice people.

So they bought this one:

guy in a chinese hat

They said: “How much do you want?” I replied that I had no idea how much stuff like that was worth, and they offered $100. I said ok.

I also offered them some ideas about other t-shirt series, but those were too radical to their taste.

Website, 2015

malikov.ca screenshot 2015

malikov.ca, homepage, 2015. Have a look

Quite frankly, I didn’t really design this version. I just put a few links on an uncommon background. It’s all about the few links in the corner.

The time has come, it seems, to actually build a good modern website for myself. It’s a bit embarrassing, this “carpenter’s house always needs work” business. Going to make something spectacular.

Website, 2014

malikov

malikov.ca, homepage, 2014. Can see

For a few years the website was not important for me. I had to tend to other projects, amassed a body of photography, shifted vectors, switched paths, and so on. I decided that the website did not reflect what I’ve become and pretty much scraped it. This 2014 version was put up to signify a new beginning. You always come back to the basics.

Website, 2008

malikov.ca, screenshot, 2008

malikov.ca, homepage, 2008. Visit the live version

In 2007 I made a very comprehensive website that showed most of my stuff. That design lasted a few years, though without any regular updates, because guess what — there was no back-end. Support was a nightmare, but the need to hand-code each page allowed for the level of customization that I wanted, and whole sections of the website have very different looks.

Re-design was related to the need to somewhat self-promote. I started working for PPX company as a developer and wanted to showcase some ideas: for example, I never saw blurry images on the web at the time, and it seemed a nice way to create an interesting visual, playing with planes and all. So the very first version had “contemporary art” plastered all over:

malikov.ca screenshot 2008 first version

See the live version

I always tried to separate web design and development from the art stuff, so I always had a separate domain for it. My freelancing prior to employment at PPX failed miserably. (The main reason for that, I now understand, was charging too little. I should have looked for clients willing to pay twenty, thirty thousand, which would pay for three-four months of good deep work. Instead I was competing with bottom-feeders, charging under 2,000 for a website, but still spent months on projects without compromises. Few of those projects were ever finished, quite frankly. A work is worth what it’s worth — time, bills, mortgage, etc. Race to the bottom is a killer of good things.)

Anyway, since my first “studio” DSDM (Design Studio of Daniel Malikov, visions of grandeur :-) went belly-up I ditched a dedicated website and tried to hook up designs to the art website which had some traffic then. So I put a splash page with a picture I took at some light-rail station in Scarborough.

malikov.ca splashpage screenshot 2009

malikov.ca splash-page screenshot, 2009. Check it out

Notice the type over the image. Once, around 2005 or so, I was designing a website for a project of mine called Energy Preserval Co. I’ve just discovered that ‘width=”100%”‘ properly scales the image, so I put some text over it, and it looked so good, it was amazing. I couldn’t believe nobody had done it before!

But I looked around and found a couple websites – some English HR company’s, I think, and Matthew Barney’s (or was it Damien Hirst’s?). Anyway, people were doing it (albeit very very few people) and I realized that it was magazine aesthetic flowing into the web. That was a good thing, of course, because printed media was a much more mature and sophisticated cultural phenomenon. (I suppose I should write an article about that process.) That was a sign of the web getting mature and sophisticated, and I liked it, so I used it ever since.

Well, it’s been like ten years, and only recently we got the ability to use more than just system fonts. Just as well, only recently all those “Windows XP” toy-style icons designed for jolly five-year-olds started disappearing.

They got replaced with the nihilistic “flat” design, though, like a rebellious non-conformist teenager wearing all black, so the web’s real maturity is still in the future. It kind of just entered college, with Big Data.

Website, 2007

malikov.ca 2007 screenshot

malikov.ca, homepage, 2007

No inner pages survived, it seems.

Here I started experimenting with “fluid” designs that fill up the whole page, instead of just hanging in the middle. The difference between screens and paper is that screens have variable sizes. Why did we realize it so relatively recently? We still had different monitors and ‘width=”100%”‘ was definitely available for web-developers.

This is where the whole big theme of “Alchemy” emerged. I was fascinated by the oils and pigments and tried to share the experience.