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Live Louder: An Interview with Greg Mike

Published May 28, 2024

Known for his explosive colors, dynamic characters and an unyielding drive to “Live Life Loud,” Greg Mike leaves a vibrant mark on everything he touches.

Cover image: ABV Agency

From the bustling streets adorned with his signature murals to the prestigious spaces that house his canvas works, Greg Mike’s art transcends boundaries, inviting us into a world filled with nostalgia, happiness and strong individuality.

With an impressive portfolio that spans collaborations with giants like Nike and Coca-Cola, to personal projects that have fundamentally altered Atlanta’s visual landscape, Greg’s influence is undeniable. His work not only brings urban environments to life but also fosters a sense of community and encourages the public to interact with art in new ways.

In our conversation with Greg, we delve into the mind of an artist fueled by a vibrant life force. From discussing the genesis of his iconic “Loudmouf” character to exploring the balance between commercial and artistic projects, we catch a rare glimpse into the life of a creator who lives by the mantra of making the world a louder, more colorful place.

Photo: Dave Roland
Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: Your artistic mantra, “Live Life Loud,” perfectly encapsulates the energy and vibrancy of your work. Can you share a moment or experience that inspired this mantra and how it continues to influence your creative process?

Greg: Back in my twenties I had a near death experience. I woke up in a pool of blood with my skull cracked wide open. I probably shouldn’t have gotten so lucky and lived. It is inspired by artwork which I create to this very day. After that, I began to look at life differently and not take a moment for granted. Every day is a blessing and we need to live it to the fullest as tomorrow is not promised. With my art I am constantly trying to portray that energy and emotion through colors and characters. 

Photo: ABV Gallery
Photo: Dave Roland
Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: How do you navigate the dynamics between the street art scene and your gallery work? Do you find that your approach changes depending on the medium or setting?

Greg: I approach each differently, from the work that’s created and the process in doing so. There seems to be a bit more freedom in the creation process while in the studio, where in the streets much more planning is required.

When traveling to paint large walls, there’s usually a very strict timeline and I know certain pieces of the painting need to be completed to stay on track to catch a flight and finish on time. There’s things like making sure you have enough spray paint and if you don’t, it will delay the whole project because it needs to be shipped in and it can take days. There’s also other elements that affect the process, like weather, so I feel like I am constantly working faster and trying to get ahead while leaving a buffer for any unexpected errors.

When I am in the studio creating fine artwork, I can experiment more as there is less pressure and it’s way more personal. It’s just me and the canvas in the studio, whereas when it’s public work there’s the community and client that are just as much a part of the piece. 

Photo: ABV Gallery
Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: A very unique element of your work is the ubiquitous Loudmouf icon. How did this distinctive visual motif come to life, and what does it represent in your artistic universe?

Greg: I started drawing the chipped tooth “LARRY LOUDMOUF” icon after the near death experience where I fell and chipped my tooth. To me it represents how fragile and imperfect life is. It’s the little things that make life distinctive. The mouth has grown to represent a voice and not just my voice. With the “LOUDMOUF SAYS” community project I do, it’s became now more a voice of a generation as it’s constantly saying phrases submitted by people all over the world.  Some are witty, some sarcastic, some from my mind but mostly they come from people all around the world.

Photo: ABV Gallery
Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: You’ve mentioned that your work aims to inspire nostalgia and happiness. Do you have any personal childhood memories or influences that consistently feed into your art style or themes?

Greg: Growing up I remember my family was always working so I was forced to entertain myself. Whether that was looking at comics I found at garage sales, binge watching episodes of Tom and Jerry or going to Disneyland and being marveled by the magic world. These to me were my happy times and I am constantly trying to stay in that mindset. My artwork is a way to not let go of my childhood. Picasso once said, “Every child is born an artist”, which I find very true. The trick is how do you not outgrow it as you age.

Photo: ABV Gallery
Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: Collaboration seems to be a significant aspect of your career, having worked with other creatives like DeadMau5 and global brands like Nike and Coca-Cola. Can you talk about a particularly memorable collaboration and what made it stand out for you?

Greg: I love when two minds come together to create something new and unique as it allows each party to step outside their comfort zone and reach new heights. Anyone I collaborate with are people or products in my lifestyle or ethos.

For example, I’ve always been a fan of DeadMau5, his music and his character, so a collab with him was such a natural and organic fit. That’s been one of my favorites to date because of how much I respect his music and craft. We’ve worked together multiple times and various projects over the years and have become good friends along the way. It’s inspiring working with other artists, especially those that produce a different type of art form as it challenges us both to see through each other’s eyes.

Photo: ABV Gallery
Photo: ABV Gallery
Photos: ABV Gallery

IG: Your dazzling murals can be found in cities across the U.S. and even the Swiss Alps. What draws you to creating art in public spaces, and how do you hope it impacts the local communities and viewers in general?

Greg: I see blank walls as blank canvases. Grey concrete is boring in my eyes and I think art adds so much value and can change people’s moods.

I love how street art has the ability to almost slap you in the face when you’re traveling and it hits you, takes you back and almost pauses time. It makes you think, it creates a landmark, an attraction and a memory. Through color and composition you can really take people out of their normal routine to stop, think and enjoy.

Photo: ABV Gallery
Photo: Dave Roland
Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: You have also taken on roles that extend beyond being an artist, as the founder and creative director of your own agency and art gallery. How do these ventures contribute to your vision for the contemporary art scene, especially in Atlanta?

Greg: I’ve always been big on community and creative gatherings. I love getting people in a room to talk about art. When I was a little kid I would set up skate demos and promote them just to get people together to celebrate talent. Community is everything. I am a big believer as well that the more my career grows as an artist it’s my responsibility to give back.

Being an artist is a very self-centered thing, you create art and hang it and hope for praise. I find real joy in helping others and paying it forward and building my community and city I live in. With ABV Agency and Gallery we are constantly building our network of artists to pitch them on brand collaboration projects or show them in our art gallery in Atlanta. Everything I do all works together, from my personal work, my gallery and my agency and it’s important they mesh well together. 

Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: Let’s talk about the OuterSpace Project. Can you tell us a little bit about this event series and what inspired you to create it?

Greg: I started the OuterSpace Project in Atlanta almost 10 years ago to bring more art to the streets of Atlanta and to bring our creative community together. We’ve produced over 100+ murals for that project alone over the years. It’s a jammed packed week of murals, live art, events, lectures, music, and more which all culminates to our “BIG BANG BLOCK PARTY”. It’s one of the most special weeks of the year and there’s nothing I love more than bringing talent to Atlanta to paint and provide opportunities for artists in our community. I was inspired to create it after years of traveling to other cities and festivals and thought Atlanta needed one to call its own.

IG: We are always looking to discover and feature gifted artists who haven’t had many opportunities to showcase their talents. Is there anyone you can think of who deserves to be in the spotlight?

Greg: There’s so many I’d love to list here, but can’t narrow it down to just one. We are constantly searching the internet for new talent that we show at ABV GALLERY.  If you haven’t made it to one of our exhibitions or live out of state definitely check us out online at abvgallery.com. We take pride in searching and promoting hundreds of artists each year who we feel are on the rise!

Photos: ABV Gallery
Photo: ABV Gallery

IG: Looking towards the future, are there any new directions or projects you’re particularly excited about exploring in your art?

Greg: The thing I am most excited about is a project that’s been in the works for the past 4 years. I am currently renovating a 1950’s church which I purchased a few years ago. It will be a space I’ve dreamed of for the past decade, which will be a culmination of all my worlds. From a 5000 sq ft gallery space for ABV GALLERY, a personal painting studio for all my fine art work, a design studio for ABV Agency, retail shop, and more. You can learn more about that here.

I will be launching the space with a new solo exhibition of my work, which will feature new paintings, sculptures, merch, vinyl figures and more. It’s been 10 years since my last solo exhibition in Atlanta so it’s very exciting how the timing is aligning for all of this!


To find out more about Greg Mike and his explosive creations, take a look at his website, and be sure to give him a follow on Instagram to keep up with his latest updates.

Photo: Daniel Isley
POSTED BY

IG Team

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