An Ages Old Interview with Mike Giant

Found this while looking through dated versions of Tribal’s website on the Web Archive

How was it coming up in Albuquerque?
Coming up in Albuquerque was really fresh. Doc from LA, Agree from NY, and Stack from Seattle really shaped the scene. Albuquerque writers like myself came up around lots of dope styles. I feel like I was schooled well and was fortunate enough to come up in a town where paint was easy to get and there was an endless supply of good walls. We also had chill train yards and the cops weren’t really hip to graffiti like they are now. I have a lot of love for my roots in Albuquerque.

How long have been writing?
I’ve been writing for a little over 7 years.

How’d you get into it?

I just saw some guys doing graffiti in a ditch I skated at and thought it looked fun, so I just started painting. I wrote for a few months not knowing any writers, then hooked up with people and got schooled.

When did you start doing design for clothing/skate companies?
My first real gig was doing stuff for Tribal Gear around ’91. I started working for Think Skateboards in October of ’93.

Do you like doing rave flyers, t-shirts of board design as much as graf?
I like working, and I like graf. I like them for different reasons. I fucking LOVE doing graffiti. There are few things in my life that get me stoked like writing graffiti. But getting props for my graphic work is really fulfilling as well.

Is there a certain piece you did that you really felt came off and are especially proud of?
I can’t think of any particular piece that really stands out. I have a good time whether I’m doing a wildstyle production, a silver blockbuster, or a freight train. This place in Albuquerque we called “Monolithic” was one of the best places I’ve ever painted. The Dubose tunnel in San Francisco is my favorite place on planet Earth to paint. Another favorite spot was the wall on Huntington Beach.

Do you feel that graffiti was the catalyst for your evolution into other creative and positive enterprise?
Absolutely. I was always drawing. But I think graffiti gave me the confidence and drive to get my work seen. I don’t think I would have a career in art if it weren’t for graffiti.

Who were your early influences?
STACK, AGREE, and DOC right at the beginning. Then San Diego heads like DYSE, ZODAK, QUASAR, and ZENO. I always studied pieces by RISKY, FRAME, POWER, and SLICK from LA. I remember seeing dope shit from NY by guys like RELM, REAS, WEBER, NIC and WANE. I learned a lot from Chicago writers like ZORE and AGENT. SATER and CYCLE from back East were big influences too.
What’s your overall impression on the early New York graff movement and its global impact?
I have the utmost respect for the old school writers that made graffiti happen as a culture. I love watching “Style Wars” and dreaming about what it must have been like to be a writer back then. Without those days, writing as we know it wouldn’t exist.

Now that you are moving to london are you going to do pieces and get involved with that whole scene?

I think London is just another place to live. Of course I’ll be writing. I love writing. I’m excited about the prospect of painting with some of the dopest writers on the planet. I’m anxious to hit some subway trains. I’ve never had that opportunity before.

Now that graff is going digital, how do you feel about it and how and when did you embrase the computer?
I use the computer as a tool. For art, I use it to make my work go faster. I use it like a telephone. It’s just another way to communicate. I like computers in that regard. As long as more people go digital, the more my skills as a traditional artist are appreciated.

Do you have a preference between the computer and the spray can?

Computers and spraycans have nothing in common for me. I don’t really use the computer as a final product. I use at as a tool to complete a project. Spraycans are more of a direct means to my expression. I definately have more love for a traditional art tool. I like digital art, I just don’t like it as much as stuff done by hand.

Where do you see graf going?
I don’t see it changing very much. It’s still gonna be about style. Little things change, but the basics remain the same.

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