Mike was born in April, 1985.
He grew up in the countryside of southern Estonia, running barefoot, swimming in its numerous lakes, and building tree houses.
When he was a young boy, and his mother asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered: “an artist!” Yet although he had a passion and a talent for drawing, the prospect of a poor artist’s life led him to consider becoming a vet.
Being the third of three children, Mike constantly felt the need to prove himself. Neither athletic, nor as good academically as his siblings – at least in his own eyes – he felt he was constantly struggling to find his place.
It took him a while to understand why. “Realizing that I was ‘different,’ and having a very traditional family, made it even harder,” he said. “After years and years of low self esteem, I set myself the goal to get away.”
When in high school, Mike applied for a scholarship to study in the UK. He felt it was a long shot, but he succeeded in his application. “The day I found out was the happiest day of my life.” He was sent to the prestigious independent school Bedales, in the county of Hampshire. “The year abroad really opened up my eyes and made me grow up. All alone, I had to manage on my own. Also, being more independent made me more confident and helped me deal with my being gay.”
He was, however, still looking for a creative outlet.
In studying Theatre, Psychology, English Literature and Art, Mike felt that he had found his true calling in the latter. “I realized then that being an artist wasn’t really about the money, but rather about doing something you love.”
Returning to Estonia, Mike finished high school and then went to Tartu to go to Art College. “I went to study Advertising and Media Art, which is a confusing name, but basically it’s everything from graphic design to 3D animation.”
“I loved my course, and was always at school, working, drawing, learning vector graphics. I did really well, and as I started to make my own living, and won more financial scholarships, I finally felt that my parents were proud of me and were happy that I had found my place.”
After four years he graduated at the top of the class. The head of his department then asked him to come back and lecture.
Currently Mike works in a small advertising studio, gives lectures at college, and is in the process of starting a career as an illustrator, “which is truly my passion”.