For centuries, art has been used as a way for people to express their feelings and culture. Often, traditional art forms are used to honor heritage and history. However, cultural influences can also be expressed through new media forms. Mike McIntyre, the founder of Yuk Media, has set out to blend media design and the Yup’ik culture, to benefit people of the Calista Region and inspire younger generations.
Mike lived in Eek until he was about eight-years-old and his family moved to Bethel, where he now lives. Growing up, he always loved art and music but it wasn’t until he attended the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) in Greenland that he found himself inspired to try something totally new. Mike saw rock band musicians performing in their Native language and returned to Alaska to form Frozen Whitefish, a Yup’ik rock band.
In addition to music, Mike dabbles in graphic design, photography, and video and music production. Living in Bethel, he noticed a large void in media services and decided he was the one to change that. He put together a business plan for Yuk Media and applied for the Best in the West small business competition last year. Mike won the regional competition and received money to start his business.
One of his first projects was 17-year-old Byron Nicholai’s “I Sing. You Dance.” album. The pair produced the entire album in a week, right before the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. “I like being involved in the process of helping people like Byron, it was a great success and it gives me a lot of joy that I’ve helped somebody and inspires me to help others,” said Mike.
Mike is working with a number of other artists to help produce albums, including an artist who will be recording rap songs in Yup’ik. “I blended my culture with technology and it shows other people they can blend their passions too,” said Mike.
Mike has many career goals, including making movies and screen printing t-shirts with Yup’ik designs, but all of his goals are rooted in inspiring the next generation, especially his own children.