Glorious Excess and "The Skull"

August 14, 2009


I looked at some great pieces online promoting the upcoming Glorious Excess show recently. Thanks to all the awesome folks who have given the show a shout out (like and

As you could guess, there were a couple people (read: cynical internet crybabies) who have commented, trying to call me out for “Damien Hirst” appropriation (Note: these are usually the same people who call Takashi Murakami “the guy who did the Kanye West cover”). Normally, I’d let this kind of dumbfuckery slide, but I figured I’d address it, since maybe they just didn’t know better.

The skull imagery–besides being an obvious sex/drugs/rock n’ roll reference–was a tip of the hat to the vanitas movement in 15th/16th century Europe. Hirst aside, it would be an insane task to list the amount of vanitas themes in modern art, outsider/street art, tattoo art, and rock / punk art. Whether they know it or not, a great deal of the stuff references the same idea the vanitas painters were getting at: the transience of life and inevitability of death…the fact that, no matter how much stuff you accumulate, you can’t take it with you in the end. My pieces are my own, personal perspective on it–a perspective that is heavily influenced by the bizarre and unique life experience that I have had.




  1. Mikep441 on August 19, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Mike, its really never a good idea to use wiki as a reference. but the art looks pretty sweet.

  2. linkinladie328 on August 18, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    cant make it opening day. sorry bud. but i’ll make it a point to stop by the following week. i got so much going on the next month but definately, i’ll stop by and see what you got this year. i know i wont be disappointed. you’re a great artist :] thanks for keeping us posted! πŸ˜€

  3. Full_Metal_Ninja on August 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Can’t wait. I’ll be at that art show!

  4. Kalini on August 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for the info about Vanitas! 786 KHADIJA, yeah Van Gogh! Mike, for a moment I thought you’re talking about the author Murakami and What? Is he also an artist? But then I remembered about the artist Murakami and What? “The guy who did the Kanye West cover”? Who is Kanye West? I can’t remember any of his songs. Hihihi Very funny haters’ comments: “pays to be famous”. Mike, do you need more fame? I think you’d pay to be less popular. Your pieces are so YOURS! LOL

  5. zahra on August 16, 2009 at 1:44 am

    i’ll go with the comment under me!! MIKE, you’re awesome[period]…lol..and i must add the word used by LINKIN_PINAR ”UR ART IS UNIQUE! ”

  6. Wotur11 on August 15, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    hey mike, forget them, they dont deserve to waste your time, dont be distracted by jerks who love talk sh*t bout ppl, we know that your pieces is actually your own, there is no another M Shinoda in this world as well as his pieces :’> good luck we love you x]

  7. Ezza on August 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    ahhhh some ppl are blind πŸ™‚ i think ur work is better anyways hirst’s in MY OPINION a bit dry, boring, and reminds me of a lecture i had last year for human physiology, monotone-u know the type that puts u to sleep… and i liked that subject! thats what it feels like looking at his stuff for me urs maybe makes ppl uncomfortable because its bright and in ur face highlighting what we know but dont want to acknowledge because it is morally wrong…
    and they can shut the f up about the skull cuz evey1 has one so it not plagiarism
    lol there i go again nerding it up XD

  8. 786khadija on August 15, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Dr Shinoda, Damien Hirst, really ? I thought you were just ripping off Van Gough’s Skull with Burning Cigarette, LOL !

  9. aLLey_beNNoda on August 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Hey Handsome.don’t worry,ur fans will support you all the way,and I believe ur piece is unique of its own.gud You Mike.truly ❀ You're amazing.

    P.s: why don’t You come to Indonesia again?You guys don’t like it here?please come for ur new album tour..

  10. lostwithoutwings on August 15, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    mike, you’re awesome[period]

  11. Madlen on August 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Pff those kind of people just simply piss me off…they don’t know anything about art but they’re still talking trash about people’s work.Damn…anyway I can’t wait to see the new pieces:)

  12. mraznxcrazyxboi on August 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Mike please watch this video
    Hope you enjoy it!


    Hopefully we will see you guys again in 2010! enjoy china πŸ˜€

  13. Maaark on August 15, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    MAYBE they didn’t know better? FOR SURE they didn’t know better. I hope they learn a thing or two with you man. People love to shit talk things they don’t know.

    Can’t wait to see some pictures of your Art Show. Have a nice weekend Mike!

  14. Mechanoid on August 15, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Hi Mike ! First I love your Art since I was young and I hope we’ll watch one of your exhibition in France. Your Art is just amazing and is one of the kind =D. About it, my bestfriend and I will have our photos and writings exhibition next october and I wonder if you could leave a comment about our work, because you are model for us. It would be very sweet and kind if you could leave a comment on our website, here or by mail at if you can help us you would be an angel =). Thanks a lot to spend a few time for us ! I wish you all the best for your exhibition !

  15. liope on August 15, 2009 at 10:28 am

    A critique that says that your paitings have similarities with someone else’s paintings,works better for them because it sells more than a critique that says that your paintings are great and meaningful!! Besides, that could be a promotion for Damien Hirst because people will look for his art to see if indeed they have similarities with yours!! So don’t worry and don’t focus on that kind of critiques! You are a great artist that has an obsession with skulls!! πŸ˜‰

  16. Fishgoingwest on August 15, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Hi Mike! I’m just back from the gig tonight in Shanghai. It was great!!! Love you Love LP so much! But I just got an suggestion, next time in China, maybe you can talk more to us. I mean large amount of fans in China command English and we hope to hear LP talking to all of us. Hope to see you again soon!

  17. adam_28 on August 15, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I am no expert at art but it is pretty clear that you are very good at it. I think we have a new word for the dictionary now, I lol’d at the use of the dumbfuckers.

  18. dianlucas on August 15, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Hi Mike, I Know this is alleatory, but you need to check it out: – And Mike, we, fans, love your art. πŸ™‚

  19. highlandpark on August 15, 2009 at 4:40 am

    As an artist/photographer myself. I totally understand. Some people tend to make infantile comments. Or make comparisons without taking time to research or at least give some type of constructive or educated criticism. Sometimes, I think there are those that need to pick up a dictionary more often, here’s an excerpt of definition of “Art” from, Britannica Online defines it as “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others.” Reminds me also what you say on, “High Voltage” remix:
    “They’re always gonna try to put a label on it/
    Try to create something/
    So they can water it down”

  20. LINKIN_PINAR on August 15, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Mike, first of all, I wanna truly highlight the point that your art is the most heartfelt and inspiring art, I have ever seen, and it CANNOT be compared to any type of art in this universe, because it’s UNIQUE! I’m keeping tabs on all of your works and I can say that without any hesitation: “All of these awesome works reflect the unique and marvellous artist inside of Mike Shinoda” Only the ones who has the ability to see the artistic spirit in you, can have a right to comment on your art. The rest CANNOT criticize your art! You shouldn’t even waste your time to read them, because we all know they worth NOTHING! You’re UNIQUE Mike, and your millions of fans aware of it!!!

  21. Rex on August 15, 2009 at 3:52 am

    i dont understand why haters bother to give pointless comments to piss people off. oh yeah, because they are haters. dont worry Mike, we know who the real idiots are πŸ™‚

  22. ThePrincess on August 15, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Thanks for the explanation, well I just know that ur art is heavily influenced by the bizarre and unique life experience , that’s amazing .. and I also interested to the words β€˜no matter how much stuff you accumulate, you can’t take it with you in the end’ .. you right , Nothing is more important than happiness .. and bring our dreams into reality a is one of that, so I think see you at GLXS ( DIES ) opening Mike πŸ™‚

    NOTE : speaking abt the haters you don’t have to worry coz our duty as ur fans to still behind you and give a support πŸ™‚

  23. CuteWhiteBunny on August 15, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Those “cynical internet crybabies” as you called them need to get a life instead of criticizing other people’s.

  24. ThomasHuynh on August 15, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Dear Mike,

    Thought I drop by to say hi. Anyone who knows early history is a friend of mine! If you’re interested in really early history — like 2500 years ago — there’s a book called The Art of War by Sun Tzu. To learn more, check out our website Drop me a note ( anytime.

    Thomas, founder

  25. boyzdontcry on August 14, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    dumbfuckery !! LOL …

    edit : whoaa There is someone who felt that she is a real paparazzi , BTW, who did I talk about? πŸ˜›

    Miss Curiosa : No One pay attentions to you or you want mike shinoda gives attention to you ??? too bad !!! maybe you have to understand this word ‘ Arrange your business personally ‘


  26. LPmadman on August 14, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Totally Agree with JeffryLP !!!!

  27. jeffryLP on August 14, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Before I was a blabberdick , who desperately fall in love to one of ur huge fans & I spent all of my energy to ask her β€˜ why Shinoda ? many musicians are much more impressive than himβ€˜ But this is short letter from her who really changed all of my shallow thoughts β€œ if being seen from his talent,Possibly Mike Shinoda only has a common style But I think that typical who make him different with the other coz he’s not perfect & most importantly we can also see him as a human not just a famous artist or musicians,that’s why i’m very idolize him β€œ .. so my advice is don’t Heed the pressure coz there are fans who always ready to make that jackasses feel they are truly an idiot !!

  28. chrisbrogan on August 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Hey Mike. I just started reading the blog, but I’ve been growing to be more and more of a fan of your drive and your passion. I wrote a post about it recently. Swing by, if you’ve a free minute – . If not, no big. Just bought Fort Minor tonight. Love that, too.

  29. alyeska39 on August 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Wow, they really are ignorant if they think you’re ripping off anyone. And haven’t you explained this Vanitas theme and influence like four times already? They really need to pay attention to the rest of the world around them.

  30. vladpalets on August 14, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    lmao i love that word you put in; ‘dumbfuckery’ hahah

  31. rubyred82 on August 14, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    See Mike, it’s more fun not to let dumbfuckery slide, isn’t it? See you at your show πŸ™‚

  32. lucky_cat on August 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Haaaaahaaa, I love the pumpkin, awesome :))) I just saw a piece by the polish artist Peter Fuss at the artshow “Urban Affairs” recently here. He did a “cheaper” version of the Hirst skull with plastic and glass – imitation diamonds, called “For the Laugh of God”. Very cool too. In case you don’t know it:
    Btw, we have a German proverb: “Das letzte Hemd hat keine Taschen.” That means “The last shirt has no pockets.” Do you have that in English ? πŸ™‚

  33. PrincessbyDawn on August 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Mike, honestly it was beautiful to see you defending your art and your point of view… I agree that usually you even don’t need to do that cause its not necessary but its touching to see you opening your heart about that and giving to us substance to understand even more your background and what you produce as an artist and as musician. Its easy to stay there being “cynical internet crybabies” hehe..they should go out and do something to add value to people’s life as you do, with your music, with your art and with your help. That makes a lot of difference in ours lives, believe me. Love, Pat

  34. Sintia on August 14, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing the pic & also I learned a new word & about art today!! All I got to say is “shake ’em haters off. shake ’em hater off” I hope you, LP, & your families are doing good & are in good health.

  35. Lvix on August 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Looks great.

    Just found amazing music from my country Belgium:
    You have to take a listen Mike.


  36. KATHYxx on August 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I couldn’t get to the text of this post before I was cracking up over the photo.
    I entered the art student world entirely from a design perspective. All the classes I’ve been taking were from a studio art perspective. First i was curious, then intrigued, then angry. I am angry at the art world. It’s so full of bullshit.
    Maybe take your internet crybabies and put them in the same room with the A Dead Shark Isn’t Art group and have them duke it out over who appropriated what. Or maybe learn to quit complaining.

    (PS, while i’m a big Mike fan, it’s too early to say that he’s better than Hirst yet. Really, only a LP groupie would say that).

  37. shannanabannana on August 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    wow….that was…..deep man. sounds like you are pretty pissed considering the fact that you added the word “dumbfuckery” (i had to stop and laugh when i saw that word) anyway…you made your point and i agree

  38. Setita on August 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    HMMM someone doesn’t like a criticism πŸ˜‰ Anyway there are a similarity between your art and Damien Hirst’s.
    Your skull is above and Damien’s here:

    Another pictures comparison:

    Some ppl may think that you are copying Damien 😦

    In my opinion Damien’s art is more emotional and more controversial than yours for example:

    The theme of painting is terrible but has wonderful paintbrush lines and colors.

  39. AndOne on August 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Hey Mike!
    Check out this picture
    The LP shows in Germany were totally badass!

  40. Eddie on August 14, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    The skull is awesome! I love it!!! πŸ™‚ But, I’m sad that I can’t come to “Glorious Excess” show…. 😦 And about these “cynical internet crybabies”… Mike YOU are HUGE!!!! A great person, a great musician, a great artist, a great human being! DON’T GIVE A SHIT about the fuckers that say or write stuff like that about you! You have millions of fans who support you, and love you, and ALL OF US know how great you are!!! Don’t give a damn about the haters!!!!

    Take care brother!!!! πŸ™‚

  41. cuz on August 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Nice articles, thanks for the links. Don’t worry about some people’s stupid comments. BTW I just fall in love with the word “dumbfuckery”!

  42. LP3W7 on August 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Mike! Linkin Park are with New Divide first in Czech hit parade T-music chart! Look at please πŸ™‚

    Your fans from Czech Republic !!! πŸ™‚

  43. soyuneik on August 14, 2009 at 10:25 am

    WooYhea! XD Tell ’em Miker! I was shaping my umbilical cord into skull faces while still in the womb. …Bitchasses.
    EDIT: I just read the comments in hypebeast. “Yea, Fuck them…” They’re just turds that hide behind a computer and talk shit.

  44. ACDalgaard on August 14, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Some may find Vanitas morbid – I find it beautiful. There’s something liberating in accepting death and realizing that it’s not material goods that are your most valuable possessing – it’s your time, how you spend it, and with whom.

    Mike, don’t listen to those dumbfucks. Your art is inspiring and creative.

  45. Alessandra on August 14, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Thanks for sharing your art with us … I’m coming to LA on vacation … from Slovenia but unfortunately I come on 31 August, I couldn’t make it for 29 :(D
    finally comes … a few days ago I recived my MS hand signed picture πŸ™‚ so great, take care Mike!

  46. Stelios on August 14, 2009 at 10:01 am

    so weird, i just went to Damien Hirst’s latest art show “Requiem” in Kiev, and his latest work only has skulls in it, and it reminded me your art mike, just because it had skulls in it, not anything else, i believe you and Damien Hirst created the artwork with your own unique prespective. even though Damien Hirst’s art is awesome, i believe none can surpass you.

  47. miKer0cks on August 14, 2009 at 9:56 am

    The first thing I have to say about this post is that this line brought tears in my eyes. “My pieces are my own, personal perspective on it–a perspective that is heavily influenced by the bizarre and unique life experience that I have had.” You’re such a true and passioned artist Mike. When you talk/write/post about art I, at least, can understand what art mean to you and how excited you are for the new pieces you make! That’s pretty cool and unique. That’s one of the reasons I admire you so much, both as an artist and a musician. πŸ™‚
    The articles are pretty dope. No words for the pic. Just priceless!

    PS. Check this out

  48. rockermeg on August 14, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Hahaha, nice one Mike πŸ™‚
    We all see that, don’t worry. I’m glad you’re standing up to these “cynical internet crybabies” but it doesn’t really matter because you have millions of fans behind you. Can we have a link to an example? It would be funny. Please?
    Damien Hirst has nothing on you πŸ˜›

  49. Dori on August 14, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Wow, I haven’t heard/read the word, “dumb-fuckery” in quite awhile… lol anyway, skulls are FUCKING awesome! The story you tell in the GLX Excess collection is so different from anything modern I have ever seen. That right there should be what people consider unique about your work.

  50. Curiosa on August 14, 2009 at 9:10 am

    OMG Mike! Ur using real diamonds in ur artwork?!? & will u be selling it for millions of dollars 2? πŸ˜› lol Oh & u must b using real bones in ur artwork 2. πŸ˜› lol If their only reason 4 “thinking” of Damien Hirst is the use of the skull then they must think that Dia De Los Muertos was influenced by him. lol rolls eyes

    It’s good that you’re educating people on the vanitas movement since I don’t think that many people r aware of it. πŸ™‚ I know I wasn’t & I took couple of art history classess. lol I can’t wait 2 see ur artwork in person. You’ve had me curious since last yr when u mentioned the small details that we couldn’t see in the pics. πŸ™‚ C ya there. TC & have a good weekend. πŸ™‚

  51. Anstice on August 14, 2009 at 9:04 am

    LOL. “dumbfuckery.” Good word. Anyway, that’s pretty interesting stuff. I never knew anything about the vanitas style. I have to say, however, that while the art from this particular genre is firstly, uncanningly beautiful and secondly, amazingly mysterious, I’m terrified of the absolution of death. And while I would love to see YOUR art in person at the opening (or even while it was on display), that very truth (aside from the idea that I live all the way over in Indiana) would hinder me from going. After staring at it for hours, I think I would have nightmares about it all. I can’t stomach that stuff. I buried my cat Wednesday and almost threw up while holding her. Death = terrifying.

  52. RachaelLP on August 14, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Haha, nice rant. Always appreciate posts about your art Mike. By the way, dumbfuckery is my new favourite word.

  53. WidyaRahayu on August 14, 2009 at 9:00 am

    hi mike. i just finished my new drawing a few minutes ago and then i came here and read your blog above. i don’t really understand what it’s all about but i got quiet shocked because of the big contrast on what i felt about my art before and after reading this..

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