Contact CU Independent Entertainment Writer Nikita Mamochine at Nikita.Mamochine@colorado.edu
Imagine walking down the sidewalk and seeing a piece of graffiti on the side of a wall. If you’re not in a hurry, you may stop and look at it. After spending some time viewing the piece, you walk away from the scene. A day or so passes, and you find yourself on that same sidewalk. But one thing has changed — that beautiful piece of graffiti is now gone.
These are the situations many graffiti writers deal with. The art that they create often is temporary and the path to creation may be difficult.
Mike Giant was born in 1971. Originally from New York, he and his family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it was there he got introduced to graffiti.
“I am a graffiti writer; I am not a street artist,” stated Giant. “It’s the worst thing to call a graffiti writer.”
Graffiti writers develop a name for themselves. Finding a spot to tag often requires a lot of time and planning. When constructing graffiti writing, many artists are on a time budget. They construct the art, leave the spot and return in the morning to take a picture.
Street artists differ from graffiti writers. Many street artists gain permits to construct for real estate developers; they’re hired to make neighborhoods beautiful. The conflict with new street art being produced, though, is that new spots may become harder to find, or people could end up painting over the graffiti.
“For us to see a lot of street art, it’s the background. It doesn’t have any of the substance,” Giant explained. “Like, people are building their whole careers on what we consider backgrounds. It is especially insulting to be painted over by people who didn’t earn the spot.”
Giant lives in Boulder, Colorado. During his visit to CU, during the annual Conference on World Affairs Athenaeum Program, he voiced motivational messages to students. Overall, he believes that we have the power to promote change.
“I’m looking at the future here,” said Giant. “You guys have the power to change things. Population growth is real. Everybody under thirty is going to out number everybody over thirty really soon. I am so excited about the future, because I see so much potential for good.”
Giant doesn’t only deliver a message about change; he also brings a message about mindfulness through the practice of Buddhism.
“Mindfulness is simply listening to your thoughts and just discriminating them,” Giant mentioned.
He explains that when negative thoughts come into his mind while drawing, he will start breathing and will try to let everything go. Once calm, he will re-gain focus and start drawing again. This practice has allowed Giant to get more in touch with the creative flow, and by extension, his ideas.
The practice of mindfulness can help students deal with stress. In any tense situation, a simple way to re gain confidence and ease is to just breathe.
Erin Rain, senior manager of marketing and relations of the Conference of World Affairs, explained some necessary information about the conference coming up in April of 2016.
“It is a week long conference where we bring 80 different speakers from around the country, and some from outside of the United States to come and talk about current issues”.
Erin also delivered additional information about the Conference of World Affairs Athenaeum. “Athenaeum is our year round event that happens every couple months. It is an extension of the conference, but only revolves around one person”.
This year’s Conference of World Affairs Athenaeum hosted Mike Giant, though many additional guests will attend from April 4-8, 2016 here at the University of Colorado, Boulder.