Mike was the youngest of his graduating class from Art Center College of Design of Pasadena in 1998, with a Bachelor of Arts in Illustration. He has had a hand in most artistic facets of Linkin Park's imagery, including album artwork, band merchandise, web design, and on-stage production art.
During time off in 2003, he did a collaborative "remix" shoe for DC Shoes, remixing the "Clientele." He reworked the colors and materials for the shoe, and additionally designed all the packaging and print advertisements. The following year, he also designed a customizable Kid Robot "Munny" doll for a charity auction.
In 2004, Shinoda created a series of ten paintings which became the basis of the Fort Minor album The Rising Tied. That series became the backbone for the packaging of the album, and was featured in Shinoda's first public art show "Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs." In addition to the ten Fort Minor pieces, the show also featured thirteen more original works and five collaborative pieces. “Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs” opened at Gallery 1988 on Sunday, November 19, 2006.
Additionally in 2004, Shinoda started a college scholarship at Art Center College of Design to benefit future illustration and graphic design students. Named the Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship, it is awarded based on financial need and merit. The scholarship was awarded for the first time in 2006. The scholarship fund is made possible through the sale of his original artwork on his website (mikeshinoda.com
), art shows and his DC Shoes projects.
2009 has proved to be a busy year thus far artistically for Mike. On July 11, Shinoda’s second public art show “Glorious Excess (BORN)” premiered at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The show included nine new pieces, with an exclusive signing on opening night. The show served as part one of the “Glorious Excess” two-part series, with the second installment “Glorious Excess (DIES)” due at JANM in January 2010.
Concerning the inspiration behind the Glorious Excess series, Mike stated that it:
"Got to a point where the pervasiveness of “celebrity news” concerned me. It seemed like it has jumped out of its niche into places where it doesn’t belong. I would be watching the news, and thinking, “of all the things going on in the world right now, why are they covering so-and-so’s breakup?” It didn’t make sense to me. Add to that the fact that I’m supposed to somehow “belong” to that celebrity group—and I really don’t feel like I do in a lot of ways—and you can see how the topic started to become really interesting to me. The Glorious Excess (BORN) show was my way of diving into those topics, trying to find answers. It follows a central “celebrity” character, who is filthy rich, slightly violent, and famous without any particular skill or talent."
About the exhibit, the museum says:
"Glorious Excess is a subversive interpretation of the classic art movement "vanitas," a type of symbolic still life painting commonly executed by Northern European painters in Flanders and the Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Following a central character through various facets of celebrity life, the exhibition explores the motivations behind contemporary society's fascination with fame, excess and instant gratification: from the unique perspective of an outsider on the inside of rock superstardom."
Also in 2008, Mike partnered up with DC Shoes again on a second DC Remix Series project. The project would feature a "great juxtaposition of Mike's unique influences: accomplished artist versus recording-breaking musician, American upbringing versus Japanese heritage." The MS/DC limited edition remix has two different versions - Xander and Pride. Roughly 2000 pairs of the limited edition shoes were made available for purchase when the sneaker was released on August 1, 2008.
In an interview with Sneaker Freaker Magazine, Shinoda had this to say about the latest DC Shoe project:
"This remix is a little slimmer than most of DC’s skate shoes; the Xander feels almost like the skate shoes I grew up wearing in the late 80s. But the art brings it up to date—my work is laser-etched into the panels on the side of the shoe, and the sole is a clear gum sole with a koi fish pattern, and four-color artwork beneath. That way, when you’re walking, and your foot lifts up, it’s a little surprise under there. We also took the time to add extra padding and a satin inner lining to make it as comfortable as possible. They come with three pairs of lightly waxed laces instead of two, because I like to flip up the look sometimes. Each pair also comes with a booklet of my art."