On February 25th 2010 Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea of Milan opens the first solo show in Italy by American artist Mike Giant.
“I got the name Giant from skating with some friends, actually, I fell down really hard, and this guy I went with said ‘it felt like you went down like a giant’ and at that time there was a graffiti just across the same ditch we were skating, and I just kinda thought ‘oh that could be my name!’ and it is generic as that, you know, and then I started writing it maybe a month or two after that.”
Master of black and white, and representational leading figure of the mid-1990s underground movement in San Francisco, Giant is internationally known for his graffiti, his skateboards, his tattoos and the immaculate precision of his graphics.
Born in Upstate New York, Giant moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico as a child, where he later studied architecture. In 1993 he was offered a position drawing graphics at Think Skateboards in San Francisco. There he stayed for the next ten years developing his unique artistic style and becoming a leading figure of the street art scene.
At first most known for his graffiti art, recognizable by solid letterforms, his tattoo work has also become internationally renowned over the last decade. Since 1998 Giant has been working at remarkable tattoo shops in San Jose, San Francisco and New York City, next to Paco Excel, Mike Davis and Patrick Conlon. His recent work can be seen in the 2004 tattoo issue of Juxtapoz magazine.
In 2003 Giant returned to Albuquerque and opened the tattoo shop, Stay Gold. Back to San Francisco in 2007 he retired officially from tattooing and devoted his time to a more intentional way of drawing, very much guided by Buddhist meditation.
In February 2002, Giant had his first solo exhibition at WDWA Gallery in New York. His work has been seen in Tokyo with Sam Flores and Bigfoot, at Misanthropy Gallery in Vancouver, at Magda Danysz Gallery in Paris, as well as at numerous venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles. His drawings can be found on the latest Cinelli book, on apparel from Tribal Gear, Upper Playground, and REBEL8 clothing, his signature brand.
About the street scene in San Francisco he says: “First of all, I’m a ‘grandpa hipster’, and it suits me just fine. And after dedicating almost 20 years to writing graffiti, I hope it never dies. And as for track bikes, there have been hip, cocky young men and women riding them around the streets of San Francisco for over 100 years! Look it up. None of this stuff is played out, dead, or otherwise. It’s ongoing.”
For this unique Milan exhibition Giant created a new body of graphics, narrating stories of voluptuous urban femme fatale's on bikes, religious iconography, street views of San Francisco, a few indispensable skulls, unavoidable memento mori of the street world.
A video loop created by Giant’s friends and collaborators Colin Arlen and Sean Patrick will tell about his lifestyle; we will see him in action, biking his way around Frisco, writing on walls or on candid paper, and saying it in his own words…a black and white peaceful underground explosion.
A bilingual (Italian/English) catalogue will be published for the occasion, with words by Mike Giant, a text by Luca Beatrice and an interview by Silvia Girardi.