Con Safos: Legendary Artist Mike Giant

There’s a certain something that happened at some point for me around the late ’80s while growing up in the West between whiteboy culture and cholo culture. Maybe it had something to do with all our parents getting divorced. Me and all my whiteboy friends lived with our single mothers, and were forced to move from our comfortably married homes, to moving with moms somewhere just barely on the “other side of the tracks.” There we were exposed to the Chicano culture and the whiteboy culture began to meld with that into a third type of category.

I learned about switches, and hand styles, stealing Starters, Ben Davis, the squeegee in the shower, gang symbolism, great rice, splitting mean streakers and derbys. My neighbor Enrique (or “SUNER-ONER”) across the street learned about boogie boarding, Motley Crew, vegetarianism, BB Guns, make-out parties, elephant keys and swearing at your mom.

Karina portrait by Mike Giant

I watched form, and was very much forcibly stirred into, this new California mixing pot. Enrique and I both were, really. Together with the help of Suicidal Tendencies, Cypress Hill and my own personal hero Mike Giant, a new street culture emerged. A completely American amalgamation of urban white kids and urban Chicanos borrowing from each other’s shit, gaining respect for each other’s unique ways of being completely bad ass, and ultimately treating each other as equals.

Similar to how Pharrell helped escort “black culture” into the “whiteboy skater” thing years later, it was a completely gorgeous gradient of cultural variations.

Enter Mike GIANT. One of a handful of whiteboy bombers in S.F. that completely personified this anthropological evolution. He was a legend, and remains a personal fucking hero of mine. His hand styles, street savvy art, and even tattoos reference both the “FTW Whiteboy,” and “Orelay Holmes” things I speak of. Mike GIANT is both a dedicated Buddhist as well as a world-renowned tattoo artist and master of cholo gang styles. Travis Barker, DJ MUGGS, Mike GIANT, to me these are a few of the cultures keepers and the fore-runners of this unique new breed of whiteboy.

Watch above as Mike talks about the “Con safos” and touches unintentionally on this third party I speak of.

Dude is such a fucking G.


Mike Giant skullz mike giant middle finger and tattoos


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