We Moved! WE MOVED

Rafu Shimpo Glorious Excess Born Interview

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Excesses of Mike Shinoda

August 2008

Producer/musician and artist Mike Shinoda, currently on tour with Linkin Park, took time from his busy schedule to talk about about his latest artistic endeavor “The Glori­ous Excess,” now finishing its run Sunday at the Japanese American National Museum. The show offers Shinoda’s darkly humorous take on today’s celebrity culture.

RAFU: When and how did you start to conceptualize your new exhibition?
MS: Got to a point where the pervasiveness of “ce­lebrity news” concerned me. It seemed like it has jumped out of its niche into places where it doesn’t belong. I would be watching the news, and thinking, “of all the things going on in the world right now, why are they covering so-and-so’s breakup?” It didn’t make sense to me. Add to that the fact that I’m supposed to somehow “belong” to that celebrity group—and I really don’t feel like I do in a lot of ways—and you can see how the topic started to become really interesting to me. The Glorious Excess (Born) show was my way of diving into those topics, trying to find answers. It follows a central “celebrity” character, who is filthy rich, slightly violent, and famous without any particular skill or talent.

RAFU: How is creating art different from songwriting?
MS: They’re really similar, actually. I always remember being in art school, working for hours on a painting and putting it up in front of a class of 35 people to criticize it…then going home, working on a song for hours and taking to my band…to criticize it! In my experience, you have to have the same sense of openness to the criticism—and sense of humor—to deal with both things and make them productive.

RAFU: You seem to have a dark sense of humor when it comes to celeb­rity. What is the symbolism of the skulls in your artwork?
MS: In the beginning, I used the skull because it was a rock n’ roll reference. After I did a couple paintings, my broth­er saw them and said, “do you remember that Vanitas movement?” Learned about Vanitas in college; it was a movement in Europe in the 15th century, where paint­ers injected symbolism into their still life paintings. Symbols such as the skull, smoke, bubbles, and clocks were meant to remind people of the brevity of life. Funny enough, today’s celebrity culture is obsessed with the same things: skull designs, cigars, champagne, expensive watches…

RAFU: It’s great you’re back in Little Tokyo following your stint as a Nisei Week marshall. What was that experience like?
MS: That was bizarre. It was my first parade, and it felt weird just to sit on display and have people wave at you. I think I might be better suited for per­forming with my band than making that kind of “public appearance,” ha!

RAFU: Was it important to you to have this exhibit at JANM?
MS: Clement Hanami and the team at JANM were great. I had to be on tour when the physical setup of the show was going on, so it took a lot of preparation and planning. They helped me make this idea a reality, and I appreciate it very much.

RAFU: Can you talk a little about your shoes and your scholarship at Art Center?
MS: This month, I’m releasing a new sneaker with DC Shoes. I designed the shoe with my art, including a clear sole with 4-color artwork underneath. They’re really unique.
It’s going to be a limited run, so I’ve been encouraging fans to get them quickly before they run out. The in­formation about where to buy is up on www.dcshoes.com/shinoda. We’ll be selling some on www.mikeshinoda.com as well. My bandmate Chester called them “the perfect shoe!” Proceeds from the shoe—and my art show—benefit my scholarship at Art Center College of Design, my alma mater. The scholarship benefits illustration and design students based on merit and financial need.

RAFU: What can we look forward to in the second exhibit in the winter?
MS: I don’t want to give any surprises away…but keep in mind that this show followed a central celebrity character in his “Born” phase. The next show is called Glorious Excess (Dies).

RAFU: Finally, what other projects are you working on (Ft. Minor, Projekt Revolution)?
MS: I’m on tour with Linkin Park right now; it’s the 5th installment of our Projekt Revolution summer tour, with support from Chris Cornell, The Bravery, Ashes Divide, Atreyu, and many others. We’ll be on tour all over the U.S. for the rest of the summer, and all the tour info is available at www.linkinpark.com/live.

thanks to lptimes.com