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Caught in the Act is a fan blog and site based on Mike Shinoda. We try our hardest to give you the most up-to-date, in-depth information we can about the rapper of Linkin Park and Fort Minor, his art, and his music. We do not indulge in personal information or rumors about the artist and try to give you fun, interesting, and relevant news about the man behind the amazing music and art. Take a look around!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Big Shot Interview

Sorry for the lack of update over the last few days, kids! Here's a new interview our friends over at the Mike Shinoda Clan found from Big Shot Magazine!

Mike Shinoda’s Walk In the Park

November 3rd 2009.

With an art school background and a few million-selling albums under his belt, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda is quietly making his own statements as a visual artist.

Mike Shinoda knows a thing or two about multitasking. When he’s not writing, producing, and performing in Grammy-winning nu metal titans Linkin Park, or making music on one of his multitude of side projects like Fort Minor, Shinoda dedicates a good part of his time to making art. The youngest graduate of Art center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, Shinoda has not only played a major role in his band’s visual identity look and videos, but he’s earned critical acclaim for his collection of paintings and digital. Big Shot caught up with Shinoda and talked to him about Glorious Excess (Dies), his second gallery show that examines society’s obsession with celebrity culture, consumer addiction, and fascination with excess.

You rap, play guitar and keyboards, produce, write, etc. in Linkin Park and Fort Minor. It is an understatement to say that you are a renaissance man. When do you find time to work on art?
Mike Shinoda: In high school and college, art was my main focus, and music was a hobby. Then, at some point in college, the two switched—I don’t know how it all works, it just does. I work on paintings when I’m not doing stuff with the band. It actually gives me more time to think about a piece before I paint it.

A lot of musicians can trace back their desire to make music to hearing a specific song or album when they were young. Did you have an experience as a child that led you to the world of art? Was there an a-ha moment for you?
I’ve been drawing since I was about 3 years old. I didn’t ever really have an a-ha moment. I did have some really special experiences, though. I used to love the comic Garfield by Jim Davis. I was about 10. A friend and I made our own book of Garfield comics, with our own illustrations and jokes. The writing was probably ridiculous—imagine the kind of jokes you might make up at age 10. Anyway, our teacher photocopied it, found Jim Davis’fan mail address, and sent it to him. To our surprise, he looked at it, and wrote us a nice letter back. That was an awesome experience.

You have a formal education in the field and graduated from the Art Center College of Design. How did attending art school affect and influence your future artwork?
It helped me open my mind to criticism. When you work a million hours on a project, then you’re forced to put it up in front of a class full of your peers who proceed to tell you why it sucks, you’re forced to learn how to take criticism…or get really defensive and not learn anything!

Can you point to any specific artists who influenced you when you were in college? Are there any contemporary artists who inspire you these days? And can you talk about the role your Japanese heritage plays in your work?

As far as the “classics” go, I guess I’d start with Alphonse Mucha, Johannes Vermeer, Peter Paul Rubens, and Egon Schiele. Along the more contemporary lines, I’d say Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Takashi Murakami, James Jean, Banksy, and Mark Ryden. Newer artists I like are Jeff Soto, Ekundayo, Audrey Kawasaki, Tessar Lo, Yoskay Yamamoto, Greg Simkins.

My Japanese heritage filters in sometimes when I’m not even aware of it. People will point it out in my paintings, and I’ll go, “Oh yeah, I guess that is kinda Japanese!”

You work in a combination of digital art and paintings, and you’ve also collaborated with DC Shoes. Time is a precious commodity, so how much time can you spend making art given your wealth of artistic interests?
I just jump from one thing to the next, based on whatever is exciting.

Glorious Excess (Born) received high praise, and there’s a buzz about Glorious Excess (Dies). Can you explain the thematic thread that ties together both shows?
The shows follow a fictional celebrity character. He’s an amalgamation of tons of different celebrity stories. The first show was about him making a mark on the scene, becoming famous. The new show is more about him overdosing on himself—he feeds off the celebrity until he essentially explodes. It’s about our obsession with celebrity, consumer addiction, and fascination with excess.

The Honda motorcycle you customized for the new show is simply breathtaking. How does painting a bike compare to working on a canvas? Will you be bummed if someone takes it out on the road and muddies it up?
Thanks! It’s a new roadster they just made called the Fury. Interesting motorcycle in a new-meets-old kind of way. I had a professional crew transfer the imagery onto the bike, then I hand-painted some stuff on top of that. I don’t care is someone buys it and wears it out. The money goes to charity; once they buy it, they can do whatever they want with it!

The Tabloid Wall is also interesting, though some of the magazines you included like Rolling Stone would never consider themselves to be a tabloid. What sort of a statement are you making here?
There are times when non-tabloid news outlets decide to cover tabloid stories, or they cover a story in a tabloid-ish way. Think about Michael Jackson’s death: virtually the entire news world turned into a big tabloid-style machine. I was watching TV, and they interrupted the program I was watching to show a random security car back out of the Jackson driveway at 5 MPH, with the title “BREAKING NEWS”…really?

The Four Seasons—Andy Warhol, James Dean, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon—is equally engaging. How did this series come together?
I wanted to find a poetic way to show the character’s death, and put celebrity death in perspective somehow. I was looking for patterns; something that defined the kind of celebrity death that people found the most intriguing. The series was inspired by Mucha’s Four Seasons, with each season represented by a beautiful woman. Mine were the four seasons of celebrity martyrdom.

Now that you’ve shared this exhibit with the world, how do you look back on it?
I’m not looking back. With so many great options, I’m trying to decide where to go next.

Q&A: Dazza
as featured in Issue 29

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