…It takes years to make an overnight success…

Greg Mike
is an artist and designer based in Atlanta. His work includes both indoor and outdoor pieces, and his characters like ‘Larry Loudmouf’ can be found any where from skate decks, festival murals, and even cars. The current solo show, ‘SHAPESHIFT’ is at Dax Gallery in California.  He took some time from his busy schedule to chat with us.

 

Bitchslap: Your agency ABV (A Better View) is set up in ATL. Why Atlanta?

GM: I’m originally from Connecticut but moved to Florida half way through my teens. I started painting when I was 8 and went off to study art at Florida State University. Atlanta was the closest major city and so I would travel to ATL on the weekends. I graduated early and finished my last year of college interning for my design studio I started. It was a pretty sweet deal so I set up shop while still finishing the degree. I noticed a void in the market for what I was doing so Atlanta felt comfortable to do so. It’s an easy city to get work done in as there’s not a ton of distractions and convenient to fly in and out of.

All Photos courtesy of Greg Mike and ABV
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Heineken Art Pyramid at Counterpoint Festival

 

The solo show ‘Heavy Mental’ just ended…Have you noticed a growth in the following of ‘Loudmouf’er’s?

Heavy Mental ended and was a really fun body of work. I was able to break down some internal barriers and “loosen up” a bit, exploring some new worlds and went on some serious adventures with my best friend, Larry Loudmouf. Larry’s land is more intriguing than mine so anytime I get to enter and kick it with him I have a blast. As for a noticeable growth, everyday Larry is meeting new people and traveling to new worlds. Each show is just a snapshot of that process. Long live Larry Loudmouf.gregmike_bitchslap_08
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At what age did you consider yourself an artist? What were some of the things that led to your decision?

All I’ve ever known is art. I grew up around art and design, and there was no other paths or options. It’s not like one day I woke up and was like, I think I want to try to be an artist. It didn’t work like that, I always have been attracted to art, colors, creativity. I always got bored by everything else and I still do. I can’t sit still or pay attention to anything other than things that are creative or inspirational. The moment I considered myself an “artist” was when I met Mr. Larry Loudmouf, as that’s when I understand art in a deeper meaning. When I heard the voices through others via Larry and translated his messages from Loud Land.
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What do you do to keep your ideas fresh?

I try to travel as much as possible. Listen to new music, research the past and try to predict the future. Paint, Eat, Run and watch humans and animals do what they do naturally. Talk to Larry, Talk to myself and talk to others. Go away on vacations, try things I haven’t tried and experiment with new concepts.

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Do you have any self-imposed rules or superstitions you live by?

I am super superstitious. I have been very lucky on this planet and things like walking under ladders are things I try to avoid at all times. A few of my rules are: Work hard, Play hard. Life everyday like it’s your last. Inspiration fuels inspiration. Catch flights, not feelings.. Pop Art Not Pills… The list goes on..

You recently have created your biggest mural for the Facebook office in Atlanta, I’ve always liked your saying ‘Be productive not Popular’… What is the best advice you have been given?

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. If you don’t like your job, change it. That’s the beauty of life, you can do anything you want if you work hard at it and remain focused on the end goal you create in your imagination.

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What sandwich best describes you?

An Italian Sub because it has variety of flavors which makes it so delicious.

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

3 Solo Shows, Art Directing a few music festivals, more traveling, hanging some of my friends art in my new home, spending quality time with LARRY and chasing a few more dreams.

You have been successful in remaining integral the street art movement…Do you have any words of encouragement for design students and young artists?

Keep it organic, do what feels right and trust your gut. Nothing worth anything comes easy. It takes years to make an overnight success. Believe in yourself and don’t ever stop raising the bar. Never slow down or get complacent. A river that stops flowing turns into a swamp. Create till death as we only live once.

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