Brad Kopek - Owner, Avatar Design House & Knowmad Gallery

Brad Kopek - Owner, Avatar Design House

Michigan Fine Art Photographer & Artist

C.V. - Secret Sauce & The Course of Life



My 1997 internship as an interpretive park ranger in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada range in California was the true awakening of my appreciation of a landscape as a concept beyond experience or photograph. Focuses of study including forestry, religion and philosophy round out a pluralist worldview that saturates all that I aim to accomplish.

My home, 5010 Franklin, has a very public stance for my artistic and lifestyle statement. It serves the in-house gallery, art studio, digital lab, client meetings and art tours. I've coined my personal design style Natural Sophistication, and 5010 Franklin, its green renovations and subsequent conversion in to an art gallery and design studio is a dramatic statement of my commitment to sustainable living.

Rather than a strict definition of photographer, I am an image creator. I readily acknowledge to what degree I have manipulated and edited an image; whether it is a single or multiple exposure, what type of software has been used, and whether any considerations or liberties have been taken to remove any unwanted image elements that I feel take away from the goal and purpose of the art.

I enjoy my time with customers, providing a product I am proud of that leaves a smile and sense of ownership for the client. This is essential to my goals as a photographer, designer, printer and collaborative team member. Whether it be working with tradespeople or designers, artists, nervous home owners, demanding CEO's or penny-pinching bean counters, I've had the pleasure of working for and with all.

The evolution of my work has gone from commercial design and print, through to total image manipulation and work flow calibration and now to a new focus on the art of photography. No matter the subject matter or job, it has been the technical ability and client fulfillment that have been the constant throughout. 

The Flexible Pixel - Techniques & Approach

I place my efforts into three aesthetic and appropriately themed image categories, each with a designated target audience. Austere Beauty - Fine art photography and print making, where the true focus is on creating a singular expression of art whether photographic or one of my other techniques in print making or mixed media. Dense Beauty - Images full of saturated colors and recognizable forms for the commercial and retail image and product markets. Balanced Beauty - Photographic images and limited edition print series, that strive to serve the health care art market by using  positive imagery with color and subject matter appropriate for the hospital environment.

Resolution, Resolution, Resolution - Personal Expertise

Signal versus noise, trying to pick out the useful data and information from any given situation while ignoring the meaningless data, distill from previous experience and technical ability the essence of an epic landscape, the effects of natural processes, or the details of simple pattern and texture.

My binary fingerprint would be left all over the following areas of work, software expertise, and general areas of knowledge:


- Image manipulation and enlargement - File treatment and the search for the flexible pixel.

- Install and Project Management - From sales to final cleanup, I've done it.

- Color calibration throughout the entire workflow, from capture to print. Digital color-space theory.

- Software Training - Always up-to-date on latest Photoshop etc.

- Landscape photography - Mobile travel setup

- In-house Lighting Studio

My biggest asset to any project is not the final images, products, or services that I provide. It is who I am that helps, how I think around problems and solutions, how I view the world, and the communication that allows me to serve the goals of my clients. 

Confluence - Artistic Approach & Work Flow 

To have the roots and the wings, the foundational knowledge and the creative spark, where natures expressions and my creative viewpoint blend with critical thinking that leads me on the search for images. From the white balance shot taken at the time of capture, to the calibrated monitor and paper profiles. It is all in the service of the print and its ability to transfer an experience. I offer output onto large format media with a wide array of museum quality products from Epson and other top tier suppliers.

A sliver of the infinite - Artistic Training & Career Path

A late comer to the art universe, only upon returning to Michigan have I turned a serious eye towards creating artwork. There were of course the early signs, creative piles of sticks at age 5, detailed castle drawings bestowed with art fair ribbons. Moving back to Michigan in 2002 I began my career with Progressive Art & Frame Design, then located in Clawson, MI. Working under a career-long art industry entrepreneur who educated me on current print technologies, art presentation and sales, project management and installation. Extensive purchasing and placement of art work in health care facilities across Michigan and the US, handled initial client contact, project design and development, and final install. I have traveled across the country to attend multiple Art Expos as purchaser, as installer of art work in multiple types of commercial settings (health care, bio tech, casino, hotel).  

I founded Avatar Design House in 2004 - Avatar provides multiple products and services for a wide array of industries through out metro Detroit and southeastern Michigan. From Avatar Knowmad photography and commercial art services, interior design consultation focused on sustainability, to a fully outfitted digital creative studio and workshop. All this from a facility that was remodeled from 2008 to 2010 to create one of the most sustainable homes in Michigan.

There is a wide range of projects that I have worked on since founding Avatar. Corporate and retail image and design work for a Michigan based Aveda Concept salon, including their launch, in-store images and marketing campaign. Recently, Level Multisport, a triathlon retail store opened in Birmingham, MI. I provided all marketing images and in-store images. In terms of healthcare industry installations I have placed at both Lacks Cancer Center in Grand Rapids and Havenstien Nero/Sleep Labs at Henry Ford with in the last year.

I regularly give tours of 5010 Franklin, varied groups from architects, designers, clients, and even a local girl scout troop have joined me on hour plus tours. In October 2009 I was a guest lecturer at Living Green, an event that was held at Arkitektura In-Situ in Birmingham, MI for the purpose of educating the public, local designers, builders, and architects on the possibilities for green remodeling.

"What are you? Some kind of crazy?" - Goals & Projects 

My personal development plan is an ever expanding, always focusing-in version of how I can be successful in our commerce centered world while allowing my unique brand of image creation to stand above most of the other offerings clients have to choose from. Whether gallery show, coffee table book for my Solace road trip or my web site for the 5010 Franklin property I believe these projects echo the values I guide my life and art with.

- Knowmad Photography - Brad Kopek Gallery Series

- Avatar Design House Commercial Series - Commercial & Retail

- ICON SCANS - I/O Series (input/output)

- 5010 Franklin -  Expand message to promote Avatar Design House philosophy

- Solace Road Trip - Road photos and journal entries - ever expanding reflections and updates on the trip

- 5010 Franklin - Edible Acre Project - 2014

My main focus will be to Introduce the public to Avatar Design House and other projects with a public relations blitz. Any interest in my projects is appreciated, feel free to contact me for any reason. 


Brad Kopek