Mike Shinoda

Most commonly known for being one sixth of multi-million selling rock band Linkin Park. Multi-talented, Mike Shinoda has been carving a name for himself outside of the music world of late with a return back to his child hood roots of art and design.

Shinoda’s work has a distinct style, which is something that cannot be doubted. It fits perfectly into a little niche within today’s new wave of street/pop art, and whilst the discussion of this art genre is for another time, this can often be looked down upon by certain quarters of the online community. Add into the fact that he is a member of a highly recognised rock band and you have a recipe for a lot of negative opinion. However, just as Linkin Park have done with their music since their debut release, Hybrid Theory, back in 2000, Shinoda’s art has evolved and matured and is now capable of really pushing the boundaries and dealing with potentially difficult concepts and themes in a challenging and thought provoking way.

His 2008 & 2009 solo exhibitions ‘Glorious Excess (Born)’ and the follow up ‘Glorious Excess (Dies)’ demonstrates this ability. For this exhibition Shinoda has produced a wonderful series of paintings and mixed media pieces that deal with the trappings of celebrity in a visually exciting way. What is also interesting about the selection of works chosen for the exhibitions is their ability to cater for a range of different audiences. Some of the themes are obvious and clear to see, expressed through a vibrant palette of colour and collage, Whilst others are hidden and require far more engagement with the work to truly crack its meaning.

 

This is Shinoda’s take on the inspiration behind the work for Glorious Excess (Born).

“It 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.”

The range of detail and depth of the work and the high level of exploration of the concept of ‘celebrity’ is what truly makes the exhibition series a wonderful collection of art, and if the theme isn’t for you, well then you can just admire the application, variety and creativity of the artwork, which I think we can all agree is visually impressive.

If anything comes from this article, all I hope is that you explore the back catalogue of Shinoda’s work. Whilst we have focussed specifically on two collections of his work their is much more of his art waiting to be explored. I would imagine that the majority of you reading this will be aware of Linkin Park and the artwork produced for their albums is fantastic. Although Shinoda has not always been solely responsible for the work produced, he has played an important role in all the art that does adorn their covers. The collaboration with Dutch Artist Boris Tellegen (Delta) ,to name one, produced a fantastic collection of work.

Where I would draw your attention to however is Shinoda’s début solo outing under the  Fort Minor alias. The album art for ‘The Rising Tied’ really was the starting point for where his latest work has gone, style wise, and spawned his first solo exhibition ‘Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs’ Which personally, is my favourite collection of his work to date.

Let us know what you think!

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