Captured Sky is a unique and beautiful concept that Michelle “Bubbles” Nirumandrad created, combining both skydiving and art to express her profound love for the sky. In our sport, we sometimes come across skydivers who find amazing mediums to share their love and passion for what we do. It is very inspiring to see skydivers bringing such unique attention to our sport. Captured Sky’s aerial artwork represents this in a truly beautiful way. Without a doubt, Michelle’s freefall art is a beautiful tribute to the sky, which she can share with people across the world. I am absolutely honored to have been able to ask Michelle some questions about her idea and artwork!
You and skydiving – tell me more!
My name is Michelle “Bubbles” Nirumandrad, and I am 32 years old. I made my first jump in 2008, at Skydive Dallas, in Whitewright, TX. This is the same dropzone that I still do most of my jumps but has since been renamed Skydive Spaceland Dallas. Currently, I have 3,222 jumps.
Where are you from, and where is your home dropzone?
Originally I am from Columbia, South Carolina, but I have lived in Dallas for the entirety of my skydiving career. Having always worked in the sport for my air-time, almost all of my jumps are from my home dropzone in Dallas.
Where was the most incredible place that you have jumped?
Most of my jumps are at my home DZ in Dallas. We mostly jump over cows and cornfields. Although, it is still awesome – taunting cows under canopy is the best! My Mom and I once did a skydive together in Playa del Carmen, while we were on vacation in Mexico. That was quite stunning! You jump over the ocean and land on the beach right behind a Señor Frogs! It was a spectacular view and actually such an amazing experience that my Mom went on to get her A license when we returned from the trip!
What do you like most about skydiving? What motivates you to keep jumping, besides this mix of art, jumping and work?
There is so much to love about the sport. The environment, the comradery, the excitement! However, I think what I love the most about skydiving is the way it makes me feel making the impossible, possible! It is an empowering feeling that translates into truth for everyday challenges. If I can fly, I can do anything!
Let’s talk about your art!
Nothing professional, but poetry and art have always been an intrinsic part of my life. I am an emotional being, and art is the language of the soul. It is an outlet for expression which connects us on a deeper level, evoking our thoughts and our feelings. From our feelings grows our passion. Also, I have always enjoyed being able to create something that communicates my passion to others.
When did you have the idea to help the sky be an artist?
Originally, Captured Sky was not about helping the Sky to become an artist, so much as it was about me trying to take a piece of her. I wanted a souvenir from the sky. Something to connect me more intimately to her, than pictures or videos alone, could do. I spent a fair amount of time researching ways to try and bottle a cloud or color the wind around me in free fall, so it could be seen and captured. Needless to say, I didn’t get very far with those ideas! However, I have always liked to craft and create, so one day I was working on a project from home and had a thought. “What if instead of trying to take from the sky, I were to give to her instead? Give her the opportunity to create for me?” That is where the idea was born.
Tell me about the trials and errors you had to begin Captured Sky.
Failures and progression from that initial idea and onto what Captured Sky is today was a very slow and riddled journey – which would take quite a while to share! Although, I will say that safety, patience, and precaution have been the cornerstones of what I do. I created Captured Sky because I love our sport, and I love the sky. And I would not dare to jeopardize our ability to be up there by doing something that would bring danger to my peers or myself. Or bring poor publicity to skydiving as a whole. It took well over a year of research and planning from the birth of the idea to when I performed the first ever Captured Sky jump. Starting with only a tiny 3×3 canvas strapped to my arm, with a cut-up t-shirt and two little eye droppers full of paint. Which I carried along in my hand. At the time, I was in my fourth year of working in the sport and had just over 2,500 jumps.
What is your most extraordinary work? Or the art piece with the most relevance for you, and why?
That’s a tough one to answer because I feel so strongly about so many of the Sky’s works we have made together! Although, I suppose the two that stand out to me the most is a commission Skydive Arizona had me complete for the 2019 World Cup. As well as a piece I did for Paulo Netto titled “The Circle.”
The World Cup piece is exceptional because it features three distinct color palettes, meaning it underwent three separate skydives to complete. With canvases, sometimes exploding with the force of the winds around them, or breaking from the rapid decelerations of deployment. Bringing a piece of Captured Sky down with every jump is not always a given. The fact that the World Cup commission survived this harsh environment not once, but three times, makes him quite impressive to me!
“The Circle” is special because it is a symbolic gift to a producer, photographer, and fellow skydiver, Paulo Netto. He is one of the creative minds behind the documentary, The Business of Being Born. Which was incredibly influential in the choices I ultimately made for my own children’s births. I am so grateful for his work, and “The Circle” is a token of that gratitude, a nod to Paulo’s great contribution to our circle of life.
Do you love arts and skydiving equally? Describe how you feel being able to do both at the same time.
I love them both very much but for starkly different reasons. Art, for me, expresses an external desire to connect with my fellow man, while in a lot of ways, skydiving expresses an internal desire to set myself apart from them. They are both intimate to me, but so hard to measure against each other. As the saying goes, “it’s like comparing apples to oranges.” In regards to doing them both together, I wish I could report it was a more pleasurable experience than it actually is. Truth be told, my mind is so turned on and focused at the tasks in front of me, that it makes it hard to enjoy the environment surrounding me! It is very exhilarating to land after a successful jump and have a beautiful impression of Sister Sky with me. So that part is very rewarding!
Future: tell me more!
Well, my husband and I have small children at home right now. So we are working to strike a balance between our two worlds – family life and DZ life. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean giving up on your personal dreams. Still, it probably means adjusting your timeline for achieving them. Right now, Captured Sky is what keeps us flying (my husband is my freefall videographer), and we are grateful for that!
Do you have short or medium-term goals in skydiving?
In the immediate, I hope to continue using Captured Sky as a platform to connect people tour sport and our passion – The Sky! And in the long-term, once my kids are a bit bigger. We can spend more time at the DZ. I would like to renew my ratings and work with students again, as that is another personal passion.
If you could jump anywhere in the world, where would you go?
To jump the pyramids in Egypt!
Is there any big project that you would like to speak about?
Oooo, Captured Sky actually has a couple of exciting things to share this season, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise! You will have to watch our social media accounts for more! 🙂 But I will say that this year will have a heavier focus on digital media and collaborative polyptychs, so you can expect to see more videos and streaming content.
How can people get in touch with you if they want to keep a Captured Sky creation in their house?
Best way to reach me right now is through my social media platforms or by email:
Captured Sky – Facebook
Capturedskyart – Instagram
Keep coming back
I want to thank you Capture Sky, for creating such fantastic art pieces using the sky as a studio. Art in the sky is very hard to find, and I hope to see it more often in our community. Skydiving art should be more appreciated. Hopefully, more and more people will support you in having their logos painted during free fall.
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