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Fearless Creator: Mike Han & Street Culture Mash

I first met Mike Han, aka icon, of Street Culture Mash while judging the “I Love Detroit” video contest. In fact, he was the first to submit a video. His energy and passion for Detroit and art are infectious. Street Culture Mash is officially launching this Saturday, October 9, 2010 at the 5E Gallery in Corktown.

Mike Han, aka icon, of Street Culture Mash.

Take a few minutes and get to know Mike and Street Culture Mash better. Trust me, you want to know this guy! I know that I'm a better and more positive person just for knowing him.

What is Street Culture Mash?

MH: Street Culture Mash is a lifestyle brand and the streetculturemash is a lifestyle. SCM will offer sustainable art in tangible goods, everything from organic apparel to furniture to fixed gear bikes. The streetculturemash is a holistic lifestyle: mind x body x spirit x community. Streetculturemash uses sustainable art as a catalyst for changing the way we live. It begins here in Detroit and we will impact the world.

What is the difference between Mike Han and icon? How are you different, if at all?

MH: Many of my friends call me "Mike Han". I was a manager for the girl's varsity tennis team my senior year in high school and they'd refer to me as "My Icon" as MikeHan blurred together. 

As an artist, I work under the name icon because an icon is a word or graphic symbol whose form suggests its meaning. Sorry to ramble but the answer is there is no difference, Mike Han is icon if you say it really fast. :)

What kind of artist are you?

MH: I'm a graffiti inspired visual artist. I paint on reclaimed materials, repurpose materials to make sculptures, the prints of my work are done on fabric and you can wear them. It's a new innovation I like to call 'T-Shirt'. Street Culture Mash pairs artwork with sustainable platforms like reclaimed wood and organic fabric. 

Smallest nigiri sushi made by Mike Han. Underneath each piece of fish is 3-4 grains of rice and the tiniest dab of wasabi.

In my former life I was a professional sushi chef and created edible works of art. I've learned that many typical sushi fish are endangered or close to it. That breaks my heart and I no longer make sushi in restaurants. I will open a sustainable sushi spot in Detroit in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I hope to make a great impact on this world by creating passionately while being mindful of my environment.

How is Street Culture Mash different from other apparel lines?

MH: My line I guess could be lumped into the 'streetwear' segment. That being the case, I haven't come across any competitor that exclusively prints on 100% organic American Apparel. In addition to creating art that's accessible, I award grants each month to a talented Detroit artists to do what they do.

How will you choose the aspiring artist that will receive 20% of the profit? 

MH: I meet wonderful artists everyday and I encourage people to post what they do on the streetculturemash facebook page. The online and offline interactions help me understand more about these artists, and the projects that they're working on or want to start. There's no formula or criteria, it's as organic as it can be. If someone makes an impact on me with their work I will support them the best I know how. The artist who is selected is paired with a month, and during that month 20% of all the profit made will be given in a lump sum to said artist. 

What is it about Detroit that inspires you?

MH: I could talk about the architecture, food, events, festivals, etc... but it's the people mentioned above who are at the core. Detroit is the home of fearless creators. The doers here are passionate and talented; naturally, our place is exciting cause we're making it. 

You’re designing the first series of t-shirts. Will you use other designers in the future?

MH: Yeah, I would love to collaborate with other artists and designers in the future. I see Street Culture Mash being a platform for artists to work on and with. Whether it's apparel or furniture, there will be all types of awesome being created through the SCM brand. 

Tell me about Chomp.

ChompMH: Chomp means a lot to me. He's a great white shark which happens to be the bestest animal ever made. It breaks my heart that Chomp and his family are being wiped out of the ocean. Great White sharks are endangered but that doesn't stop people from killing them. They've been demonized and looked at as the bad guy whenever a human is attacked by one in the ocean. That's what sharks do. They eat stuff. If they came on land and started eating people, maybe I'd understand, but come on.

Chomp is a metaphor for living with purpose. Do what you were born to do and don't listen to the noise that tells you ‘you can't’, 'cause you can. No matter what people do, Chomp will always do what he was designed to do, and that is to be completely awesome. Let's be like Chomp and let's be great.


So, he's pretty cool, right? Don't miss the Street Culture Mash launch on 10/9/10 at the 5E Gallery. DJ Sicari will provide live music and there will be awesome art giveaways. And, word on the street is that free Chomp stickers will be given away.

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  • Response
    This interview of the artist is really informative for me and for all those who love the art. This is really informative and useful blog for all. The information about the street culture and the art is really awesome. thanks for sharing this information.

Reader Comments (4)

I'm lovin the motivation behind the work and am tryin 2 see if I can sueeze in Saturday. Its gettin cold out, I hope we can see some sweaters, long sleeve, etc soon too!

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToka313

i love mike! he has so much positive energy around him at all times, it truly does make ur life better!!! :)

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter++MIRA++

Love this quote: "Detroit is the home of fearless creators." Mike Han is infectious and I am really looking forward to what he does next!
Janna Bissett

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanna

Hoodies are a great idea! Hope to see you this weekend, possibly twice.

I know, right? He's got such great energy.

Ha! I loved the quote so much I stole it for my headline.

October 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

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