"Follow The Leader" at De La Barracuda

July 21, 2009


Here it is…Above, my piece from the “Family Tradition” show at De La Barracuda entitled “Follow The Leader.” When I heard about the “Godfather” theme, the first thing I thought of was the over-the-top influence that trilogy had on rap music. For as long as I can remember, rappers have been comparing themselves to characters in the Godfather films, idolizing the imagery, and even dressing like the characters. That’s why, in this image, I had to put Marlon Brando in the shoes of Rakim. Both carved out a path for many artists to follow.

Thanks to Ron English, Michael Lau, and MINDstyle for having me in the show.






  1. analoggirl on July 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Oddly, I’m reminded of a conversation you’ve had with Jay-Z. haha
    When writing “Cigarettes,” you were unsure of how the song would be received by the music community, but Jay said something like, “If you love hip hop, like I know you do, you have every right to talk about it.” It feels like you’re commenting on hip hop once again – as someone with a deep love of the culture.
    Hip hop has often celebrated/emulated the larger-than-life personas from The Godfather. It’s understandable, since artists had to hustle to establish themselves. However, has hip hop culture evolved? Have we left the Get Rich or Die Tryin’ bravado for something more authentic? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  2. Jaraldoaz on July 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Any chance of that being made into a poster?
    I’m starting college in the fall and that would be awesome to put up in the dorm room

  3. ShadowerLiltani on July 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve never seen somebody take a live person, and illustrate them so well. It has the colors from your DHCS era, but I’m glad you combined them with the digital aspect from the Glorious Excess look. Seems to me like you are going forward, rather than stepping backward, which I see a lot of artists do from time to time. Speaking of illustration, has it ever been planned on, or have you in fact ever done any illustration for your wife’s books? Because, believe it or not, your current style, when drawn or painted in a more child like atmosphere, is a running theme in children’s books.

  4. soyuneik on July 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    “The act of ‘following’ is often seen as a lesser state to ‘leading’. But leading requires knowledge and knowledge is gained from following those who are experienced and great. There is no shame in following one who has knowledge for that is how leadership is perfected. In order to lead one must know what following is. In order to follow well, one must be focused on leadership. A weak follower is one who follows without ambition. A weak leader is one who leads without a knowledge of following.” -i-Ching ………Graf inspired seamless hybrid. Your painting is dope as hell.

  5. aussieChazz on July 22, 2009 at 9:44 am

    COOL ART DOC !!! and the song, super dope !! ok ladies i’ll check this http://rockstarme.deviantart.com/journal/26078789/i'll if that pretty important to ya !!

    PS ‘ No doubt dudes , that Untouchable Magnetize Tropical Dolls , hell sooo damn fineee LOL ! Woohoo !!^^!!

  6. Atomora on July 22, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Hey Mike, please check this out:


    It’s a letter for you, we couldn’t manage to send it to you any other way, but the LP forum. To summarize it, it is about our band Piknik Park, Europe’s one and only Linkin Park Cover Band.

    http://www.piknikpark.hu http://www.myspace.com/piknikpark monosb@chello.hu

  7. Anstice on July 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    She’s right =) It’s pretty important to me that you read it. If you don’t, okay. http://rockstarme.deviantart.com/journal/26078789/

  8. tristyn on July 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    yo mike that’s CRAZY. thats pretty clever… and that guys face…and his clothes… how’d you manage that? wish i could learn to paint like that =) think imma go put something down right now. haha. well… i gotta say tho…this is a bit off topic… but i think on a different level, it kinda never is… you prolly already know this cuz umm… you gotta know the amount of influence you got on everybody here… it’s like… iono. i’m not that good wit words. http://rockstarme.deviantart.com/journal/26078789/ my friend wrote this.
    check this shit out. it says it way better than i ever could. peace.

  9. jeffryLP on July 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Very good and I can see a very creative person behind this work, well done dude !!!

    Note : Off Topic , don’t mind if i join , gentleman ? Kinda lil’ extracted also , to that magnetize tropical dolls :< ))

  10. luckyluck on July 21, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Whoaa look. everybody was here !! well’ let say Great painting , like the composition and the simplicity !! good job man !!

    Edit : Yeah , will see who is the real winner ^^^!!!

  11. LPmadman on July 21, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Cool !! , I’ve always admired artists who could do fusion such as this one, using some sallowness and creating this awesome effect of very vivid and distinct lights and shadows,i guess it must be harder than a realistic painting ,yeah,This is simply fascinating.

    Note : Now speaking abt the title ,True , I choose the word “ follow That Amazingly Destiny ” than ”Follow The Leader” !! that’s why I’m here baby !!

  12. Kalini on July 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Why do people always have to follow a leader? I like the painting. I knew that Jay Z has to be there, too. Haha, I can’t believe they dress like the characters in the Godfather films… I’m looking at the brown lines and points and wonder what they symbolize. I think I can guess. I can’t play the video, it’s not available in my country. K

  13. Hybr1d_7h3ory on July 21, 2009 at 10:10 am

    That piece of art is really intriguing. I really like the juxtaposition that the mixed media brings to the art, especially the spray paint drips that are evident is a lot of your work. I really think that you have a niche in the art community with your talent. I can’t wait to see your GE (Dies) stuff in a month. Sadly I had to cancel my flight out there on account of a wedding :(. I know there will be a lot o coverage on it, and hopefully an art book and a print will be available for purchase.

    Catcha later Mike….Hybr1d_7h3ory

  14. Full_Metal_Ninja on July 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Whoa what happened to it?

  15. ThePrincess on July 21, 2009 at 7:20 am

    First, I want to say thank you so much coz you still have time for us, when we all know you’re very busy & the second is entrance to the main topics, I agree with you abt the leader characters ,yes if I hear the word Godfather,the first I have in mind is Marlon Brando’s face but I’ve a bit uncomfortable with the words “Follow The Leader” although the title its very represent with the theme, I still more like the word “Follow Your Heart” 🙂 .. well anything that, the painting is Awesome, take care ur self and keep health, Mike !!!

  16. parm1der on July 21, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Haha, that’s mad clever, wish i could buy a print of it or something. Was just listening to Rakim the other day..
    Keep up the good work!

  17. abbykulyde on July 21, 2009 at 6:08 am

    nice art mike, thanks for sharing.. i read in the MINDstyle blog that their next stop is in Manila? does it mean that i could see your art face to face?! woah! that’s big for me..♥

  18. Illara on July 21, 2009 at 5:55 am

    haha, that’s one amazing art Mike and i just did a fangroup – LP Mafia.

    and we’re expanding the familytree. LOL

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