Interview: Sally A. Edwards
Art: Mike Giant
Giant is one of our favourite artists in the Bay Area. We at BLAG have been tracking his career for some years now and have watched his great styles and business savvy evolve. He’s so intricate with the pen: he not only writes, he also tattoos, has his own website, publishes fanzines and produces merchandising through his company Skullz Press. All this and Giant is still on the move, having a book of his work published and getting into fashion. He kindly took some time out of his hectic schedule to tell us more and to contribute the brilliant ‘wallpaper’ that encloses our INTRODUCING... section. You can also witness his skills in the ‘Perfect Fit’ fashion story featured later in BLAG.
My name is Mike. I write Giant. I'm thirty-one. I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I've been living in the Bay Area since 1993.
DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE.
I think my graffiti style grew out of my mentors’ influence: I learnt lettering styles from Agree, he was from NYC, and I learnt colours and painting techniques from Doc, who was from Los Angeles. As a result, I think of my style as a hybrid between the styles of both coasts. Lately I've been influenced more by the work of writers in Europe.
My tattoo style definitely has roots in the American tradition. I try to keep the work bold, clean, and high contrast because I think those elements work best for creating a tattoo that will last a lifetime.
My fine-art style is just a synthesis of the different mediums I work in. Lately I've been into doing illustrations and paintings that are like collages of all the different things I draw at work and in my sketchbooks.
YOU WRITE, TATTOO AND PUBLISH. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EACH OF THESE ARTFORMS, AND WHICH DO YOU PREFER AND WHY?
They all work together in my mind. I write graffiti because it's loose, fun, and public. I make tattoos because I like tattoos and I enjoy the challenge. Working in skin is the most difficult medium I've tried yet.
Publishing is just a way for me to get the work to the public. I've always thought it important to share my work in gratitude to all the other artists that have shared their work with me.
YOU'VE BEEN TO MANY PLACES WRITING – DESCRIBE THE SPOT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF.
It's really hard to narrow it down to one spot. Some spots were memorable because it was difficult to get the spot in the first place. On other occasions, the location was memorable, whether it was a difficult mission or a picturesque location. And most often, the writers I paint with make the experience really memorable. I think positive criticism of my work from other writers who I respect is what I'm most proud of.
TELL US ABOUT THE 'WALLPAPER' YOU HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ISSUE – THE IDEA BEHIND IT, THE TECHNIQUE, AND WHY IT’S SO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE KNOW YOU TO DO.
It started as an illustration I manipulated in Photoshop so that it repeats seamlessly. It's an extension of my interest in fashion, particularly from the American Victorian period. I fell in love with the Victorian-style homes in San Francisco, and through researching those I fell in love with the women's fashion from that era. Lately I've moved from the Victorian stuff to more contemporary ‘street’ fashion, based mostly on my girlfriend's phenomenal sense of style.
The full interview appears in BLAG Vol.2 Nø 1
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