January 04, 2007

New Years Greeting 2007 in fragments:

1. From the Wikipedia heading "ANIMAL RIGHTS"
Animal rights is the movement to protect animals from being used or regarded as property by human beings. It is a radical social movement insofar as it aims not only to attain more humane treatment for animals, but also to include species other than human beings within the moral community by giving their basic interests - for example, the interest in avoiding suffering - the same consideration as those of human beings. The claim is that animals should no longer be regarded legally or morally as property, or treated as resources for human purposes, but should instead be regarded as persons.

2. From Guy Debord " On The Passage of A Few Persons Through A Rather Brief Unity of Time"
"The only interesting venture is the liberation of everyday life, not only in a historical perspective, but for us, right now. This project implies the withering away of all the alienated forms of communication."

3. From Allen Ginsberg on the writing of his poem "Howl"
"I sat idly at my desk by the first-floor window facing Montgomery Street . I had a second hand typewriter, some cheap scratch paper. I began typing, not with the idea of writing a formal poem, but stating my imaginative sympathies, whatever they were worth. As my loves were impractical and my thoughts relatively unworldly, I had nothing to gain, only the pleasure of enjoying on paper those sympathies most intimate to myself and most awkward in the great world of family, formal education, business and current literature."

4. From Pema Chodron, "The Places That Scare You"
"At the beginning joy is just a feeling that our own situation is workable. We stop looking for a more suitable place to be. We've discovered that the continual search for something better does not work out. This doesn't mean that there are suddenly flowers growing where before there were only rocks. It means we have confidence that something will grow here."

Happy New year,

Posted by Humans at 12:32 AM

July 21, 2006


Ribbons scarf taking a nap on my bed.

Has anyone out there made anything with humans fabrics, or done something interesting with their ribbons, or posters. I always conceived of Humans as being just the beginning of a collaboration - but I rarely get to see how people are living with the work. If you have made something, please send us a picture and we'll post it here on the humans blog. I would be truly excited to see what you have done.
Okay. Hope all is well,

Zoe wearing the scarf on a sunny day.

Posted by Humans at 02:31 AM

July 04, 2006


ari book cover.jpg
I got Ari's new photo book a little while ago and I'm very envious of the whole thing. It so makes me want to be a photographer - how great would that be, work at home, take pictures of what happens that day, being always conscious of how each moment is actually this big mysterious thing we call "art". This book is mostly shots of his two boys and wife Jennifer - just stuff around the house, but it's so beautiful, surreal, tragic and hopeful to me. I think the crazy interwoven world that a family makes together is one of the most interesting and difficult things to capture, but with Ari's stuff you get a sense of the air in the room when he shot it, the conversations we aren't hearing, all the ambition and desire for mastery that pre-teen boys embody. I am always so impressed when people make surprising, beautiful work based on the very simple events of their everyday life, with no affects added. Ari's also inspiring to me cause he works alone a lot, he's not super trendy, he's not living in some big city, he's not 25 years old and filled with the ease of just starting - he works very hard everyday, no matter if other people are watching or not. I think this is really hard to do, maybe the hardest thing to do, but also the key to being liberated from the dependence on what other people think of you - the key. Here are some photos out of his book, I didn't ask him, I hope that's okay, it should be, sometimes he calls and just talks at me for a long time so this is my payback.
Thanks Ari - Love, Mike

A spread with his wife and boys.

My favorite photo.

Ari Marcopoulos "Even the President of the United States Sometimes Has Got to Stand Naked" (2006 JRP/RINGIER)

Posted by Humans at 01:55 AM

June 20, 2006


My film Thumbsucker will be coming to the Cinemarise theater in Tokyo sometime in late August or Early September of this year! I'm psyched it will finally be seen in Japan. I am coming to Tokyo next week to do press and general promotion for the film. On June 26th I will be at the Apple Store in Ginza. Anyways, I'll be there at 7:00-8:30pm talking about some of my video projects.
On the 27th I'll be at Tower Records (Shibuya), also at 7:30pm, doing more of the same. You should come! Please tell people that the film is coming - if no one goes to see it in the first week it's released the film will not stay there long. Believe it or not, it's very hard to get people to come see and support smaller films, SO IF YOU TELL A FRIEND, IT'S A REALLY BIG DEAL!! I've been working on Thumbsucker since, 1999, I've learned more than I could have possibly imagined, that's putting it lightly. Anyways, I hope you get to see it, I hope you like it, I hope I hope I hope.
Hope all is well,

Posted by Humans at 03:45 PM

October 20, 2005


I am itching to do new Humans work. I don't have any idea what it would be yet, but I have this gnawing feeling. When I'm in this mood new things start to pop up and catch my attention and old ideas that I'd forgotten resurface.

Here are some objects, things in there embryonic form. Does showing them to you now ruin the chance of them ever turning into something? I don't know.

Something about Coyotes.
Something about this edition of "The Catcher In The Rye"
Something about Ted Menten, the man that draws these incredibly cute bears.


click to enlarge


Posted by Humans at 06:20 AM

October 16, 2005


Here are Humans installations at the "Trip" boutique in Milan and "Reserve" in Los Angles.Maybe Humans will never have a fixed store you go to. Maybe it will forever be impermanent, just popping up in store here and there for a short amount of time, and then going away again. Maybe that would be good, we wouldn't be so hung-up on the idea of being a store that has to sell enough to keep going, and all the pitfalls of selling and permanence. But would that really work?


Window front.gifTrip, Milano

windows.gif Reserve, Los Angels

Posted by Humans at 05:51 AM


Here is another Humans installation at the COW BOOKS [Minami Aoyama store] in Tokyo. The blew-up a version of the pattern "Mark's Paper Ribbons" in the back of their book display, and put out some Humans products and books that relate to the designs on the shelves. I have always admired Daniel Buren's stripe installations, and I think his influence on me is especially clear here. There is something so interesting to me about the way the patterns I have made can be used in so many situations, and the way the different contexts give the designs new meanings. I have always leaned towards "art" pieces that can quietly integrate into everyday life - work that doesn't need to be segregated from everything else in the world to exist. To me, "Mark's Paper Ribbons" represent many things, sort of heavy-things: they are a celebration of how everything is transient, how cheap disposable paper ribbons can be the most beautiful art, and a memorial to my father. To have all those intentions sitting in this everyday, commercial context is very exciting. I don't think that anybody passing through the store gets all my intentions, but that's the direction I am trying to go with this work. And really, I'm not sure what people do and don't get from my work or anybody else's - I'm less sure than ever about what happens with art. I don't think my desire to integrate these things are successful or finished or anything new (Arts and Crafts movement, Wiener Werkstatte, Bauhaus, Fluxus, blah, blah, blah) but these are the problems that excite me.


COW BOOKS Minami Aoyama
cowbooks aoyama1.jpg
click to enlarge

Posted by Humans at 05:11 AM

October 12, 2005


Here is the store in Tokyo. Thanks to all the people at Playmountain for putting together such a nice store. I really like how small and simple it is! From the beginning of Humans, Takafumi, Hitoshi and I have dreamed of having a place to hang out, where you could find interesting used books, CDs, records and DVDs, maybe even get a coffee, find work from other designers, and see new Humans work. My dream is for the store to feel like a very casual art gallery, where things are not too expensive, and there is no "we are so cool" attitude.

You can see some aprons people have made from the city fabric (there is very small type on it that says " THE ONLY ANIMALS THAT SUFFER FROM ANXIETY ARE THE ONES THAT ASSOCIATE WITH HUMANS"). You can also see the many little key-chains people have made from the ribbons, and some bags people have made from the fabrics.

I wish I lived in Tokyo so I could visit the store!


HUMANS shop @ Play Mountain VILLA
Playmountain or…nal goodies.jpg PMinside.jpg
click to enlarge
aplon.jpg building aprons…yard staff).jpg

Posted by Humans at 07:54 AM

October 08, 2005



Benjamin from Nieves put together a show of Humans work at his studio in Zurich. He also published a little book of the latest Humans work I've done. I was so happy to see his installation, especially the fabric panels below, I never thought of the fabrics being presented in this way. I want to make Humans more and more collaborative: both by encouraging people to make their own work with my fabrics/ribbons/etc. - and for my designs to incorporate more things that are not "mine" (history, facts, systems, imagery I found, other people's lives). I feel like I'm at the beginning of a new way to work. I also thought Benjamin's installation hit the right balance between the fabrics/ shirts/bags/ribbons being ephemeral consumer objects and "art". Somehow I want the work to have the cultural position of both a T-shirt and a painting at the same time. I like how contradictory that sounds.


nievesout.jpg nievesinside.jpg
click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Posted by Humans at 06:25 AM

August 01, 2005

Hello humans!

Hello humans! Do you think it's pretentious that this company is called "HUMANS BY MIKE MILLS"? I kind of do. What do I think? I made humans? I just wanted you to know that. This is my first blog for the humans website. Does anyone really need to hear me talk more than I already do? This is an open question. Maybe I should talk about a party I had, I didn't take any pictures, but let me describe what happened:

My friend and awesome artist/photographer/person Mark Borthwick had a concert in my backyard on July 7th. Mark now makes crazy free music, just his voice and acoustic guitar. Mark is funny and bearded and strange and kind and pretty dang free. He made many dishes for people to eat in a wild but casual frenzy all day. Mark's photos and music and food are all connected. He made his own chocolate with ginger and green tea powder on top, he made Bruchetta, and some salads. It seems like he's not doing anything or just making a mess or just being a kid in the kitchen but then he makes the most delicious and surprising food. Everything is always in simple elements, easily prepared, big peices, you can see the ingredients but there is always a surprise, like the ginger and the green tea together. After he finished cooking and serving he climbed up the tree in my backyard. I'm not being metaphorical here, he climbed up the tree and sat on a branch and played guitar for about 50 people who all sat below. My backyard became like a theatre. He played for a couple of hours I think, most people seemed pretty into it, but some were confused. Confusion, especially when served with nice food, can be a very good thing. Okay, this is really strange, but a huge flying cockroach kind of bug, I don't really know what it is, just landed on the back of my neck while I'm writing this. How odd. What do you think that means? Does it have something to do with me writing this Blog to you right now? This has not happened before why is it happening now? What is happening to you right now as you read this? What are you wearing? Why aren't you playing outside or kissing someone? Are there any bugs near by? Is there a bug reading this somewhere with a tiny human sitting on the back of it's bug neck? Did the bug crush the human in a piece of paper towel it just used to clean it's desk and then did the bug just toss the human corpse and towel into the trash? If bugs have paper towels do they also have deforestation, consumer society, and impaired ozone layers? Do bugs struggle to find meaning in their lives beyond work? Do you think bugs ever get depressed? Maybe that's why they were reading this blog in the first place. Do you like to have parties? My parents used to have parties almost every week when I grew up. My father was the director of the art museum and part of his job seemed to be having big parties. I grew up walking through these strange scenes with lots of strange and often drunk adults milling about all over the house. I wish I could go back to those parties now as an adult. I would follow my 10 year old self around and try to talk to him and tell him not to worry so much. Key things to learn from Mark: 1.Trust your most crazy ideas, trust your most crazy self. 2. Have fun, Mark is really good at not taking things too seriously. 3. Just do what you want and don't worry if it's freaking other people out - They'll get over it or they might even grow to like it or you'll probably stop soon and they can go on living. Whose life is it anyways? 4. Simple can be complicated 5. Cooking is as important as art.

I was going to draw a picture of Mark in the tree, and I felt kind of exasperated and I sighed. Just as I did that my dog Zoe sighed from under the table. I looked at her and felt a tremendous connection, like the most connection ever. So, I ended up drawing Zoe sleeping right now, all jammed into the corner of my office. It's hot so she's real stretched out, like her own legs are making her hot. Okay, good night, thank you for reading. Mike.

Posted by Mike at 10:06 AM