Babes & Gents

Myke: Profile + Interview

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Myke: Interview

 

The first words that comes to your mind when you hear Inspiration, Passion, and Strength

Friends & family

Who are you? (Answer how you interpret this question)

I’d say artist but it seems too pretentious.  I’m a humble person, an introvert, social advocate & a creative mind.  I’ve been told I look like a narc or a jock haha, so who knows.  I’m someone who keeps company with good hearted people, and have too many weird hobbies to pigeon hole or properly describe my personality.

Why do you do what you do?

I do it for personal progression.  It’s a pretty selfish act for me to be honest, although generally the artwork that I do is in the public eye due to the aesthetic.

 

I’m happy people can enjoy it with me, but I’m really just a fan of creating things.  My artwork isn’t usually directed at someone or means anything deep.  I’m more of an architect or mathematician when constructing graffiti pieces, rather than worrying about what the message is.  A large portion of society thinks that all writers (graffiti artists) and street artists are all these deep people trying to buck the system to get a message to the masses.  Not me, I just want to paint so I can jump into my own head for a few hours.    I have issues with how government and how mainstream society is quite vapid these days, but I don’t normally push that through my art, yet!  I also do what I do to make money.  I pride myself on making something out of nothing, and I’ve accomplished a hell of a lot for someone with only a high school diploma.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do, and what events led you to choose it?

There wasn’t really a eureka moment for me, I was always drawing on different things.  I was a really quiet kid that would draw full desk pencil murals in first grade, I was always wanting to stick my nose in the sketchbook and let me mind create the reality around me. 

 

I guess moving off the farm and into London would be the tipping point for me starting the graffiti side of things.  It wasn’t really a cognoscente decision in the beginning; I just started writing my name everywhere and never really stopped.  So in hindsight I was lucky to turn something illegal into such a positively motivating part of my life.  I guess graffiti at this point is a large part of who I am, but I’m now at the point where I need to get back to my roots and expand my life a bit to highlight other things I’m into. 

 

As for the pyrography I’ve only been doing it a year.  Most people try it when they were kids, I may have but don’t remember trying.  For me it was my former roommate who was into burning.  I saw what she was doing looked pretty cool, and as a fan of woodworking I fell right into it full bore!  I invested in a nice setup and it’s really paying off.  It’s giving me a ton of patience as it takes forever to do, so I’m really looking forward to getting that new found patience out to the walls this spring!  

Toughest thing you had to overcome to do what you do? And what/who helped you?

Public perception & the spotlight.  Having society treat me as an equal has been a constant battle as a graffiti writer.  Generally the mainstream public thinks I’m some kind of childish dirtbag, leading to less for sales, petty remarks, etc.  Then once they see what I actually do and my resume they change their tune and give me the respect I deserve.  I’m not naive in thinking this is unfounded as graffiti historically is a pain in society’s ass, but its 2014 and people need to wise up and understand the world around them.  All of the education is at your fingertips and in your community.

 

Also, being somewhat of a figurehead due to running the graffiti side of things at House of Paint for so long is something I’ve had to get accustomed to. Interviews for tv, news, etc.  is something that I don’t enjoy, although I know later in life I’ll appreciate it.   I’m not one that likes to take credit, I’d rather just get the job done, so I’ve made the decision to step down from HOP to concentrate on my art and dial back the (good) craziness I’ve been living.  I need a lot of independence and I think it’s the best decision right now.

Has anyone/anything ever inspired you to become who you are (to follow your dreams)? Have you ever inspired anyone directly?

I have a ton of creative and go getter type friends that constantly inspire me to trying new things and progress as a human.  There really isn’t one person, but my parents would be up there.  I don’t pay attention to a lot of things like tv, movies, etc. so my idea of role models are more on the local level.  The crew I’ve worked with at HOP are some of the most genuinely positive people I’ve ever met.  They are people who put their interests behind the better interest of their community to create something sustainable for everyone to enjoy in Ottawa.  HOP is by far the most successful and positive thing I’ve ever been a part of, so I guess I would say it has inspired me to take graffiti and translate it into something viable as a career option that also helps out the community.

One mistake that you made in your journey? How have you learnt from them?

The mistake I’ve made and am just working out of over the past few years was thinking I had to uphold myself to some sort of moral code to succeed later in life.  It turned me into a depression ridden, anxiety filled angry asshole, and only now am I coming to terms with.  I’ve fought society’s current construct since I was little and wondered why I couldn’t live life on my terms.   It’s lead to some serious asshole resting face! (youtube.com/watch?v=3v98CPXNiSk)

 

Now, I don’t sweat it and just gravitate toward what’s making me happy and inspired.  I’ve started to cut people out that aren’t on the same path and it’s really made me realize where I was going wrong in the past.  I’ve noticed that yes you do have to play the game to a certain degree, but you also really do have a lot of freedom to do whatever the hell you want, and that’s what’s felt liberating to me lately.  

Upcoming projects? Plans/goal? (about anything, if you have any)

Currently I’m working on my last HOP project before my break, a live painting exhibit with the German embassy.  We’re working on the second half of that project, which will be workshops and gallery event at the Diefenbunker museum in November.  More information to come on houseofpaint.ca. 

Other than that I’m really just doing things for me this summer, do some traveling now that I’ll have the time, paint as much as I can, and just generally have fun with my friends.  Short term goals are to start dating again. I’ve let it take a back seat for a long time, I need a new painting partner  that’s easy on the eyes to chill with! Haha

 

I have quite a few long term goals, but the one I’d like to start on soon would be to open a graffiti gallery and supply shop with workshop space for graffiti and woodworking.  I’m also putting some work into my graffiti blog Keepsix.com, building that up so that I can open up an online shop again and make some extra cash on the side for the long term goals while I stick out the day job with the gov.

What advice would you give to other people? (Just about life in general - It could be about anything)

You’re your own person, do whatever you want as long as it’s attatched with good intentions.  Stay humble and don’t stress the day to day.  These are all obvious points to being a good person, but I find there are a ton of people these days that do what they want without regard for others.  Don’t be a douche bag, it’s pretty easy to be a good guy without being a whiny pushover!

Say anything you want, about anything (Last words)

Check me out on Instagram @keepsixcom and Keepsix.com, our graffiti news & photo blog I run with AS crew member Sneak.

 

Myke: Profile

 

Full name

Mike Gall

Age

32

Place of Birth? (city, country)

London, Ontario

Where you live now? (city, country)

Ottawa

Origins (where parents are from)? (city, country)

Canada

First Language?

English

What do you do? (Profession/Occupation)

Visual artist, federal public servant

How long have you been doing it?

Painting since 1997

Favorite Song

n/a

Favorite Musician/Vocal artist/Rapper/Singer

Shad, Souls of Mischief, Gil Scott Heron, Backburner records

Favorite Movie

n/a

Favorite Actor/Actress

n/a – I don’t follow movies

Favorite Clothing brand

n/a

Favorite Visual artist/photographer/videograpehr

Richard Landis, James Park - Photographers

Favorite Sport to watch

Hockey

Favorite Sport to play

Baseball

Links:

 
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