Artist and designer Mik Gaspay left the steady 9 to 5 twice in his career and has learned a thing or two about being bold and going for what you want. On today’s episode of Making Ways podcast Mik shares his journey, discussing his move to Palo Alto from the Philippines at age 9, his work at Colorforms toys, what life was like as a grad student at art school while also working full time there in IT, and the moment the band Built to Spill helped light the spark to his pursuit of an independent career. Mik also offers practical advice for those seeking to break away from their day jobs and how to navigate the highs and lows of the freelance hustle.
Mik Gaspay gleans stories from material culture. By transforming mundane, mass-produced objects out of their everyday environments, Gaspay’s work uncovers capitalism’s effects on migration and assimilation, class and identity. Having migrated to the US from the Philippines as a child, his work distills historical, personal, and corporate narratives into a theatrical laboratory of objects that exist as emblems of social or personal identity. He reinterprets and recontextualizes the form of found objects to suss out questions of meaning, status, and value. His divergent strategies of artistic production reflect the abundant products and conduits that actively shape our individuality and our shared experiences. Weaving together invention and documentation, Gaspay’s work revises the familiar to express playful queries about the messages embedded within the things that in part identify us.
Mik Gaspay (b. 1976 in Quezon City, Philippines) lives and works in San Francisco.
Gaspay received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2011. Gaspay has had a solo exhibition at Alter Space Gallery in San Francisco. He has also participated in various group shows in museums and spaces including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Art Gallery at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, WhiteBox Gallery in New York. Gaspay was awarded a commission by the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco for a permanent public art installation in San Francisco Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square Bridge.