Pop surrealist Greg Mike chats about life, love and LARRY LOUDMOUF
Fresh off a large installation project on the grounds of the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Nevada, (and only a few months into being a new father) artist Greg Mike knows all about the hustle. He and his most recognizable character, LARRY LOUDMOUF, travel the world making it brighter and more vibrant than when they got there. Even with all this on his schedule, we managed to sit down with the guy, asking what it is that keeps him in a creative state of mind.
City: Atlanta, Ga.
Instagram Followers: 109k
Burrito or pizza? Pizza
Beer, whiskey or water? Water
Least favorite form of travel: Submarine
Last city you were in for leisure, not art: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Last person you texted? My wife, Laura.
If you had 20 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Make sure my family was taken care of. Invest it into some of my passion projects. Travel. See the world and utilize it to help people in need.
Can you tell us a bit more about your earliest influences?
I grew up in a small town called Danbury, Connecticut. It’s about one hour north of New York City. I fell in love with skateboarding, snowboarding and graffiti when I was around 12 years old.
I used to take train trips into NYC and was super inspired by all the pieces on the metro north line. Growing up I was inspired by graffiti artists like EMIT, JIVE, REM, SUB who were all crushing Danbury, Connecticut at the time.
In school, I was learning and inspired by artists such as Haring, Warhol, Dali. I was painting graffiti on the streets and learning traditional oil painting and drawing in school. Seeing the graphics on the skateboards and snowboards really pulled me into the world of illustration and graphic design. I was constantly drawing my own skate decks, designing local skate zines and hustling Jolly Ranchers and Blow Pops out of my back pack during recess. Mix all that with being obsessed with old school comics, mid-century cartoons, a twisted mind and you have my style.
You have a recurring character who is pretty much just the shape of a wide open mouth. What is the idea behind this?
LARRY LOUDMOUF is a recurring character that appears in my a lot of my work. The chipped tooth represents a near death experience. It began appearing about a decade ago and has stuck around and traveled to various cities around the globe. Over the past 10 years, LARRY LOUDMOUF has grown into having his own voice. Not only my voice, but the voice of my friends and fans through my “LOUDMOUF SAYS” global art project. People can submit their own phrases. Larry Loud is a symbol of speaking your mind, being visually LOUD through color, design, art and thoughts. Last year he appeared in a 3D form with the human body and appears at random places, events and times. He doesn’t speak in real life, only through actions as they speak louder than words.
You also had an art show called Inside Voices in September with LOUDMOUF taking over Hollywood. What was your goal/purpose of this show?
Inside Voices was my first Los Angeles-based solo exhibition. I took over a 5,500 sq. foot gallery space in West Hollywood showcasing 41 new pieces of art. The title of the show spoke of the voices we hear inside our heads, our inner thoughts, as well as the genuine creative spirit we are born with.
For as colorful as your work is, you also use a lot of black and white. Do you have a preference when creating?
Most of my work starts with black and white line work and the color comes second. I enjoy going super detailed and making sure the work reads and is balanced in black and white. I’ve always felt it’s important that can stand on their own and feel balanced before there’s any color added.
Extremely hyped to announce the return of LOUDLAND to @shakybeats next month! I’ll be painting a huge installation and bringing out some other magic.. ‼️ May 10th + 11th in the ATL... - Tag your BEATS FAM below for a chance to win a SIGNED PRINT... (Winner announced during Beats) - Snag tickets at: http://shakybeats.com . - Music by @mayhemslr . Video by @yodersec . - #gregmike #shakybeats #festival #atlanta #weloveatl #atlanta #atl #installation #art #streetart #music #electronic #spraypaint #larryloudmouf #install #liveart #livemusic
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In April you became a dad. Hell yeah! How has fatherhood changed not only your schedule/life but your art and how you create?
Fatherhood is the greatest most inspirational thing that’s happened in my life. When I had my son, I felt like someone put new eyes in my head, as I have a new perspective on life, learning. It’s the hardest but most rewarding thing in the world; I don’t sleep anyway so the lack of sleep that most new parents get hit with luckily didn’t really phase me. Having a child just pushes me to work harder and create more work hopefully to inspire my son (Hayden).
You’ve been all over from Los Angeles to your home base of Atlanta to Miami for Art Basel. What have been some of your favorite experiences of the last year?
First and foremost, my favorite experience last year was the day my son was born, following that was my LA solo show as it’s something I’ve been working on for 5 years — 2018 was a very special year for me both in the studio and with the family.
Upcoming projects for 2019:
Painting the lobby of the new Moxy Hotel in Midtown, Atlanta. Releasing the LOUDMOUF figure and a collaboration with Looney Tunes. Working on a new solo show, continuing to curate our gallery space ABV GALLERY and our mural festival the OUTERSPACE project in Atlanta and more.