Mike Gabriel

anthracite71's picture
Room & Board
685 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

I create small abstract collage works from repurposed billboards, posters and fliers—print remnants typically found glued or wheat-pasted to abandoned buildings or near construction sites. Inspired by the mid-century collage work of Jacques Villeglé, Mimmo Rotella and Raymond Hains, I started to mine the streets for torn and ripped print detritus while visiting cities like Rome, Paris and Sydney. Initially, I wanted to explore the haphazard graphic results produced via the urban environment—the random rips and tears created by passerby. Eventually, I found the textured undersides more compelling than the front of the printed posters and billboards, and began to work with the back or “unseen” surfaces. Distressed, warped and weathered, these layered papers have become transformed by the vagaries of the elements. The textures are typically coarse and fibrous, often found in a strange state of decomposition. With the oldest layer visible on top, dirt, soot, grime—the ugly by-products of manufacturing and air pollution—often combine with colored pulp, snippets of type or random bits of imagery, to create an unseen poetry of the metropolis.

Mike Gabriel is a San Francisco-based artist who has created numerous rock ‘n roll posters, t-shirts and fliers for a wide variety of musicians and performers. He has done lp/cd design for Sub Pop, Sympathy for the Record Industry, Alternative Tentacles, Yep Roc and Cass Records, working with artists such as Chuck Prophet, Kelley Stoltz, Andre Williams and The Mooney-Suzuki. Between 2000 and 2010, he was the lyricist and a performer with The Sermon, a garage/punk band he co-founded on the Alternative Tentacles record label. Since 1999, he has been employed by advertising agencies such as BBDO; Duncan-Channon; Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Y&R; and Foote, Cone & Belding, creating print and on-line ads for clients such as Chevrolet, Intel, AT&T, Dickies, Toyota, McDonald's, Live Nation and Stanford Children's Hospital. Raised in Pennsylvania, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, where he also completed an Honors Thesis in Filmmaking.