Did you know the song Rebel, Rebel was the first song to get David Bowie “noticed” by the popular music press in the United States?
Turns out the rebel idea goes over big in lots of genres, including clothing design. Meet REBEL8 owners Mike Giant and Joshy D. REBEL8 is a San Francisco-based lifestyle brand with deep roots in skateboard, graffiti, and tattoo cultures. Joshy runs the business and Mike sees to the art.
Joshy and Mike met in the late 1990′s in San Francisco’s then bustling graffiti scene. Josh ran the popular graffiti website, HiFiArt, and Mike was one of the city’s most notorious writers. Years later, and having had some experience with a previous clothing venture, Josh approached Mike about creating a handful of t-shirt graphics. Mike agreed, and a small batch of shirts was made. Josh sold those shirts out of a messenger bag around the city, and REBEL8 was born.
Today, Joshy D. runs the business and Mike Giant sees to the art. REBEL8 makes it clear that despite its success, it is still committed to the communities from which it comes, and strives to reinforce its unique lifestyle with every product.
Every REBEL8 graphic by Mike Giant is hand-illustrated. Unlike most clothing graphics, which are created by digitizing the original artwork into vector format, Mike’s graphics are exact reproductions of his original art. No part of the original inked line is compromised in this process. The end result is a product with an edge of authenticity seldom seen in today’s mass-produced market.
Q: How did you get started as an artist?
A: The first time I made a mark on something is really when it started. I didn’t start working professionally until 1993.
Q: Tell us a little about your genre. Are there lots of artists who do what you do? Where are they concentrated? What makes your work stand out from the rest?
A: Well, these days I mostly work in black and white. My work gets out to the world through t-shirts, books, and gallery shows. My skills with Sharpies have been highly regarded among my peers for over 15 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Bold, simplistic, graceful…
Q: How did you come to use Sharpie markers in your work?
A: I began using Sharpies as a graffiti artist in the late 80s. They were the pen of choice for inking our graffiti sketches in our sketchbooks, and they were readily available (and easy to steal). From then on, I’ve used Sharpies almost exclusively in rendering my final drawings. Continue reading