Greg Mike

Of Monsters and Man

On a recent evening in his multi-platform gallery, Greg Mike leaned over his laptop with a paintbrush between his teeth and hit play on an indie electropop song just before turning to add the final touches on a painting. This one was a candy-colored, three-eyed monster with a skateboard in its mouth. It’s a snapshot that sums up the artist, designer and founder of ABV Gallery quite well. That, and his ability to effortlessly juggle a harrowing array of projects ranging anywhere from working with music festivals to painting murals in Paris to designing clothes. Just another day in the life of a hyper-driven virtuoso.

The self-proclaimed night owl seems to be constantly growing extra pairs of hands for new ventures the way the subjects of his otherworldly paintings and murals grow extra pairs of eyes. And it seems it all started at an early age. Doodling in class. Daydreaming. A fertile mind ripened before its prime with nowhere to go but... somewhere else. And so the story goes.

Two days before a release event featuring his artwork on a series of skateboards, he sat down to talk with us about architecture, private studio dinners and his goals for 2014.

“There was never another option for me, so I kind of had to figure it out as I went along...”

I’d also like to do some more motion graphic stuff with some of my characters. They’re very energetic and they have a lot to say...

Greg Mike, original artist
Greg Mike, original artist
How did you get started?

I’ve always been into art since I was younger. I think I was around nine years old when I started seriously drawing nonstop. I think you go towards doodling if you’re a natural artist. I was always drawing on all my notebooks and everything. Anytime I had a pencil or a pen in my hand, I was drawing something. So that was the beginning. It just evolved from there.

When did you know this was what you wanted to do and that you could do it, for real, for a living?

With me, there was no other option. It’s what I knew I had to do and it’s all I ever really knew how to do. Everything else in terms of the business aspect was learned from reading books or researching, learning about the art world, the art scene, the design industry, the community. I kind of had to figure it out as I went along.

You’ve delved into fashion, street art, skateboards... What’s next?

I think down the road I definitely want to get into architecture. I have some initial drawings, concepts and ideas, and both of my brothers are architects, so I definitely appreciate the craft. I’d also like to do some more motion graphic stuff with some of my characters. They’re very energetic and have a lot to say. It’d be nice to put voices to them and give them a little bit more life.

Tell us about a memorable time in your studio, ABV.

We’ve done a lot of events here, so each event is special in its own way. Last year we did a private dinner party where we put tables in here and themed the whole place out. I think that was the only time we had all the family, friends and industry folks together on one night in one room. We like to video-document everything and utilize photography as well so we can go back and relive those moments.

What does the ideal 2014 look like for you?

I’m looking at LA and New York and just trying to find the right places and works to show in these different markets. I’ve been working with a lot of music festivals lately on large-format installations and interactive installations. Just pushing my work creatively and into new mediums. So that’s the goal: onward and upward. 



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