For those who are interested in the art of graffiti, tattoo, illustration and skateboarding, Mike Giant is like a modern-day Picasso. He had created so many phenomenal urban art masterpieces in such innovative ways. Today in his mid 40, his works are still relevant to young people and still influential to younger generations of artists.
Mike was born in 1971 in New York (Upstate). He started drawing at a very young age, he claimed that he began drawing from the first time he could hold a crayon. In 1979, his family moved to New Mexico, where he was exposed to all kinds of ‘street cultures’, including skateboarding, BMX bikes, hip-hop, punk rock, heavy metal, and also gang violence.
After graduating high school, he got a scholarship at the University of New Mexico and took an architecture major. This is the era when he began doing graffiti with the “Giant” tag. He also got his first tattoo before he started to attend college.
His remarkable talent in graffiti got him a full-time job at Think Skateboards in San Francisco in 1993, that made drop out of college without a degree. He stayed at Think Skateboards for four years until he moved to London and lived there for a while and then returned to San Francisco, not to get his old job back, but to work in animation instead.
He started his career as a tattoo artist in 1998 when he was offered an apprenticeship by Nalla Smith. A year later he finally became a full-time tattoo artist and worked in several legendary shops like Everlasting, Newskool and East Side Ink.
In 2003, he left his full-time tattooing career to focus on his clothing brand REBEL8, which he found together with Joshy D, one of his old friends. Mike currently lives and works in Boulder, Colorado.
Here are some of my favorite works by Mike Giant :