T-World Interview

September 9, 2014

Who is Mike Giant?
A 43 year old American illustrator specializing in tattoo, graffiti and street wear.

What do you do?
Draw, eat, sleep.

Since when have you been doing what you do?
I’ve been working as an illustrator off and on since 1992.

Why do you do, what you do?
I draw because it’s fun and it pays the bills.

How do you manage to do what you do?
Daily practice.

What T-shirt artist, brand or designer is pushing boundaries right now? Why? 
Nobody stands out to me.  It’s hard to push boundaries on a t-shirt.  Just about everything has been done.  To me it’s more about staying consistent than pushing boundaries.

What makes an exceptional T-shirt graphic?
From my point of view, a well executed illustration. From a business perspective, it’s all about units sold.

What kind of T-shirts are you happy to wear?
Powell Peralta t-shirts featuring the art of Van Courtland Johnson.

“It’s just a T-shirt!” Respond.
Well, it is.  Just as much as FUCK is just a word, a sound we make with our mouths.  How much impact a curse word or a t-shirt has depends on the listener or viewer.

Why have you chosen T-shirts yourself as a canvas for your work?
They are cheap and recyclable for one.  Almost everybody in the world wears them.  And it’s a great surface for applying graphics.

What kind of details do you appreciate with a T-shirt?
Quality printing (not too thick), quality fabric and cut, subtle branding, easy to wash.

What key ingredient is essential to the success of your T-shirt ideas?
Branding and the way that branding integrates with graphics.
Tell us a T-shirt story that has made you think about the power of the tee.

When punk rock started hitting the streets in America, I can remember jocks starting fights with punks over the imagery on their t-shirts.  I learned early on that you need to be careful what you wear.

How do you go about designing T-shirts for your work?
I usually find some old clipart or tattoo design and just expand on it, being sure to include some branding and fine detail.

What is next for the T-shirt graphic? Holograms.

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