1xRUN Thru Interview
Modern Hieroglyphics – 1xRUN Edition by Mike Giant
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece…
Mike Giant: I put this poster together in Photoshop based on individual pieces from a series I’ve been working on for the last few years.
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had?
Mike Giant: Yes, these designs fit within my “Modern Hieroglyphics” series. Last year I was studying a lot of Egyptian hieroglyphs, trying to decipher their meaning based simply on what they looked like. Then I started to look at classic American tattoo designs and corporate logos in the same way. I tried to observe them as static objects, without their current meaning. When I imagine 500 years in the future, I believe the people at that time will look at our logos and tattoo designs in much the same way that I look at Egyptian iconography. So, in a way, this series is my gift to the future.
1xRUN: What materials did you use to create this piece?
Mike Giant: I sketch everything on tracing paper with a mechanical pencil first then tape a final to the back of a clean sheet of drawing paper. Then, using a light table, I render the final drawing with black Sharpies. If I make a mistake during the inking process, I start over. I don’t use Whiteout.
1xRun: When was this piece drawn?
Mike Giant: Most of the elements for this poster were drawn in 2013, but a few are pretty old and some are brand new.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Mike Giant: This is the first time I’ve had a poster printed by letterpress and I must say I’m really impressed. It’s fancy!
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Mike Giant: Like I said, this is a continuation of a series I’ve been working on for a while now. I created the poster based on the context, including specific references to 1xRUN, police, death, pop culture and Native American designs.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Mike Giant: I’d say about 20-30 hours went into hunting down the individual reference images, another 10-20 hours of sketching and another 10-20 hours to ink the final drawings.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Mike Giant: The letterpress printing is unique.
1xRun: Why do you reel people should buy this print?
Mike Giant: Because it’s the first and only letterpress edition I’ve offered.
1xRun: Describe the print in one gut reaction word.
Mike Giant: Graphic.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Mike Giant: As soon as I could hold a crayon. The first was when I wrote out “Uptown Sk8 Posse” in a concrete ditch I used to skate a lot. That was 1989.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Mike Giant: Jim Phillips, VCJ, Patrick Nagel, Charles Burns and Raymond Pettibon.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Mike Giant: Apollonia Sinclair, Sofles, Guy Le Tatooer and Wes Lang.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Mike Giant: I have music on (pretty loud) 95% of the time I’m working in the studio. My tastes range from punk to metal to hip-hop to jungle to acid to ambient to jazz to classical. And 95% of the time I listen to music on CD or vinyl. I’ve got around 500 CDs and 50 records.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
Mike Giant: Sasha Grey. I think she’s rad. (For the latter) it would be Aubrey Beardsley. I’m just curious about him and I love his artwork.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Mike Giant: I would say the Dogtown Web skateboard deck I bought in 1985 at Hamel’s in San Diego.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Mike Giant: I bought a pair of prints from Pakayla Biehn. She’s my favorite living artist.
1xRun: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Mike Giant: I’ve got a solo show opening on July 4th at Black Book Gallery in Denver, Colorado. Then I’m showing some drawings in a group show at Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC in August. After that I have a solo show planned for Feb 2015 at FFDG in San Francisco.