Greg Mike on the BP Oil Spill, Protest Posters, Pop Stars, and Cokeheads
Just yesterday, BP's busted oil well went berserk, spitting mysterious goo and gases and forcing the removal of the containment cap. In other words, Deepwater Horizon is back to bleeding 50,000 barrels of crude directly into the Gulf of Mexico every single day. The whole world is sick of this shit. We're about ready to storm the drilling giant's American headquarters with torches and pitchforks. And Atlanta-based pop provocateur Greg Mike is pretty pissed too.
His response: A protest poster titled "Thanks, BP!," starring a smiling soda can, two fuck-you fingers, an oily pelican, and a bunch of BP death heads. (Download it for free here.) New Times talked to Mike about the spill, his poster, and his new Miami art show, "Popstars and Cokeheads."
New Times: How outraged are you over the spill? What would you scream at BP's CEO if you managed to swindle a meeting?
This piece is my sarcastic jab at corporate America, who is putting money over the well-being of our environment. After a conversation with a friend who told me boycotting BP would do nothing since they were "too large" of a corporation, I figured the least I could do is express the feelings I had on paper. With how advanced technology is, I think it's ridiculous that they haven't fixed this issue yet. We are allowing the power of corporations to destroy our ecosystem. And I wouldn't scream a word at the CEO of BP; I'd probably just hand him a print of the "Thanks, BP!" poster. I'm sure he would get the point just fine.
What is "Popstars and Cokeheads"?
"Popstars and Cokeheads" is a body of work that I made over the past 12 months. It's a series of "Madd cans," ranging from pop cultural icons to twisted drug addicts and freaks, many which I've come in contact with the last few years. It's been a simple documentation and translation of the characters people idolize in pop culture and the troubled or misfortunate ones people tend to look down upon. Classify the characters as good or bad, but when it's said and done, their shells were all manufactured in the same aluminum factory. I wanted to make a body of work utilizing an object we usually don't ever thing of being art -- the soda can -- and turn it from trash into something that is visually stimulating and entertaining.
OK. Last question: Can you describe your graphic signature? What is the Greg Mike style?
As for my current style, it's very vector-inspired -- clean lines, bright colors. I draw a lot of inspiration from old cartoons and recurring characters I see in my dreams and nightmares.
Greg Mike's "Popstars and Cokeheads." Running through July 31 at Butter Gallery, 2303 NW Second Ave., Miami. Admission is free. Call 305-303-6254 or visit buttergallery.com.
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