Name? Mike Gigliotti. Or Michael
Where did you grow up? I was born in San Francisco by my family moved down to Santa Monica when I was a little kid, around 1987.
When did you move to Los Angeles and why? I left Santa Monica when I was 18 and moved to NYC for 6 years, then down to Georgia for a bit. I moved back here about a year ago.
When did you start drawing? I started drawing when I was a little kid. I am one of seven children and everyone in my family can draw and paint. My older brother, Gabriel got me into it when I was very young. I remember looking in one of his sketchbooks and being blown away because he has the ability to draw really cartoony, goody stuff, but also draw and paint beautiful landscapes and portraits. That pretty much got me hooked.
Can you remember one of the first things you drew? What makes it memorable? The first thing I can remember drawing was a cartoon face of a guy screaming with his tongue sticking out. My brother showed me how to crosshatch and shade it; I was so excited that I finally did something I deemed as cool. It's memorable because to this day I still draw that face, just difference variations from it. I can't get away from it!
Has living in Los Angeles influenced or changed your aesthetic? I don't know how much living in LA has really influenced my work. I grew up here so it's just what I know. Obviously California offers a lot to any type of person. Growing up drawing and skateboarding there were always things to look at and new people to see. I love drawing and painting people. Maybe going down to Venice Beach as a kid had an influence on me. There are a ton of weirdos there and as lame as it can be now, when I was young I remember having so much fun just looking at all the people walking around; men wearing thongs rollerblading and stuff like that. Ha!
Tell us about your creative process. On man, creative process? Jeez, I don't know. I just really like to draw people that interest me so going to diners is great for that. I usually start out drawing in a sketchbook and if I like what I am up to I'll try and watercolor it or paint it. A lot of times I just draw in books with a rapidograph. I don't even pencil things in first, although I probably should. I never got properly trained on how to paint or draw, which is maybe a good and a bad thing. Since I don't pencil things in or use a lightbox, I end up redrawing stuff a whole lot. I am learning and trying not to be so stubborn. Did I answer that correctly? Whenever I hear some artist yapping about their 'creative process' I just want to puke. And look, I just did it myself. Dang it!
Where do you gather most of your ideas? Most of my ideas come from my family. I really like old american music, so banjo players like Roscoe Holcomb and Buell Kazee are a big influence as well. Again though, I really like faces, so any time I see someone with a good face, I wanna draw them. Lucien Freud paintings blow my mind every time I see them, and the same goes for Tai-Shan Schierenberg. Usually those people are strange looking or odd in some way and I definitely lean towards drawing and painting a type, but it's also because models and simple looking people are so tough to draw! I cannot draw stereotypically beautiful men or women for the life of me. My friend asked me to draw some model in NYC and she just ended up with two dots for her eyes and tiny lips. He probably doesn't remember this, but when I was around 9 or 10 my brother Gabriel showed me an R. Crumb book. That changed everything for me. I would get into trouble at school for drawing pornographic stuff, and my brother showed me that there are other people out there who do it, and make a living off it too!
What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating new imagery? The hardest part is just not getting too comfortable in your work. When I was in junior high I would draw the same things over and over again usually to impress girls at school. It's tough to find new ideas that aren't some stupid joke or too obvious, and I have definitely done a lot of that, which sucks.
Is there an underlying statement or idea to your drawings? I don't think I can answer this for myself. Again, I just really like painting people and the things I see. Also, being 28 years old, I just want to get better and better at painting and drawing and not get stuck in a rut. I guess it's just a compilation of all the people I was heavily influenced by but am nowhere close to being as good as. I am awful at creating stories with a beginning, middle and end, so usually I just start and finish with very little planning. That's another thing I should probably work on.
How is your work usually showcased? Usually just on the internet which totally sucks to say out loud. I don't have a website. I should make one of those. Maybe word of mouth? I have sold some work to people and then someone else sees it and blah blah blah. I haven't ever really had an art show or anything like that.
Tell us about "Kama Sutra For The Modern Couple", your upcoming book. It's a 30 page book/zine that's 'modern' people showcasing sex positions. I was in a bookstore and came across the sex book section and looked through all the books, noticing how boring and redundant they all are. None of them were fun to look at. If people are really buying a sex book to learn new 'exciting' positions to practice with their partner, you're most likely already feeling ridiculous, so why not make it funny? I dunno. I need to stop drawing pornographic stuff. Sometimes I think it jacks up my head, it's cheap and overdone. I see so much 'bondage' drawings and stuff like that and it's lame to me now. I am a part of the problem!