Secret Origins

I launched The Combustion Chamber in the spring of 2001 after reading a small book my father had given me called, A Power Primer. In simple terms, the book explained the fundamentals of how engines work.

The spark for me came in the chapter on ignition (heyoo):

Our third necessity is ignition. By that we mean that something must start the fuel and air burning in the top of the cylinder, or combustion chamber.

The combustion chamber. What a word. And the 4-stroke cycle of the engine? A perfect analogy to the creative process. Intake is gathering resources, reading, absorbing, watching, analyzing. Compression is taking the resources and analyze and distilling it all into sketches and designs. Combustion is meat of it. The creation. The execution. The controlled explosions inside the chamber. Finally we have Exhaust. The venting.  Self-reflection and critique.

... and the process continues.

Who is Mike?

I'm a designer which means I'm a problem-solver. I've been solving problems for over 18 years. Most of the problems I solve involve websites and mobile applications. What makes me a strong designer is my ability to work across visual design, ux and development disciplines.

I'm also compulsive screen printer. 

I abstract the provocative and rediscover overlooked illustrations from bygone eras to give them new life in my work. I copy, transform and combine

My artist name 'KAL-EL' derives from the nickname my friends gave me—'Mikael' (pronounced MY-KY-EL). Like all nicknames, it was shortened to 'Kael' (KY-EL).  I remixed 'Kael' into 'KAL-EL' as a homage to my favorite superhero growing up, Superman.

When I'm not combusting here, you can find me at Daily Exhaust, where I've been blogging since 2006.



117 Winfield Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

mobile: 646.421.0386