My name is Joshy and I started REBEL8 in 2003 at the age of 22 with $500.
But my story really begins in 1998 while failing high school. Restless and uninspired by the public school system, I launched a website dedicated to San Francisco graffiti called HiFiArt. Back then I’d spend the majority of my time snapping photos of graffiti and documenting the scene online. It was during these years that I became quite familiar with one of the city’s most notorious writers, Giant.
In 2000, I learned Giant had taken his artistic talents to skin and I reached out to him for a tattoo appointment. The friendship between us was immediate. Over the next few years I got more tattoos and ultimately thought of REBEL8.
To this day, REBEL8 remains a passion project between two friends. Over a decade later and now internationally recognizable, we’re still committed to the communities from which we hail.
Upon his arrival in New Mexico from upstate New York in 1979, Mike Giant discovered graffiti.
At just 8 years old, he simply just wanted to understand it. Still fascinated by graffiti in 1985, he learned about the huge color pieces being painted on New York City’s transit system in the iconic graffiti book, Subway Art.
Finally in 1989, while skateboarding at a local ditch, Giant made his first mark in spraypaint; which read “Uptown Sk8 Posse” with the names of all his skateboarding friends under it. From that day forward he was hooked. He got the name from a friend who mused that he’d go down like a giant every time he fell off his skateboard.
Twenty-six years later, Giant still puts his name on walls across the globe. He’s most known for the plethora of different handstyles that have heavily branded REBEL8’s signature looks.
Graffiti wasn’t the only thing Giant discovered in 1979.
The first tattoos he can remember were on the local Albuquerque gang members. Their tattoos were all done in black and shades of grey, a tonal signature Giant would later become famous for. Although Giant didn’t get his first tattoo until 1992, in the late-1980s his friends began asking him to draw designs for them.
In 1998, Giant bought an unassembled machine, taught himself how to put it together, and began tattooing. In 1999, he moved to New York to work at East Side, developing the skills necessary to be a world-class tattoo artist. Later Giant would go on to work at premiere shops in the Bay Area before opening his own in Albuquerque. Today, Giant remains one of the most sought after tattoo artists ever.
After being a skater for a decade, in 1993 Giant was offered a full-time job at Think Skateboards in San Francisco.
Giant created hundreds of skateboard graphics for some of the best skateboarders in the world; Eric Dressen, Duane Peters, Phil Shao, Dan Drehobl, Wade Speyer, Matt Pailes, Matt Reason, Jaya Bonderov, Chris Senn, Sergie Ventura, Paul Zuanich, Jesse Paez, Jason Jessee, Keith Meek, Tom Knox.He’d go on to produce more graphics for FTC, Krooked, Santa Cruz, and Adrenalin. REBEL8’s DNA is constructed in part from skateboard lifestyle and culture.
“I’ve seen things in the skateboarding world change a lot over the last thirty years, very much for the better. There are multiple generations of skaters shredding together and a tolerance for all of skateboarding’s various manifestations, which are not only accepted by encouraged. Now more than ever, I feel proud to be a skateboarder.” –Mike Giant
REBEL8 only works with brands that share our vision of bringing unique products to the world without sacrificing design integrity.
Consequently, we’ve always been extremely selective of whom we work with.
Major Lazer “Aerosol Can” featuring Pharell music video - 2014
The inspiration for Major Lazer’s “Aerosol Can” music video: Giant’s stairwell installation at REBEL8 Headquarters Los Angeles, CA.
REBEL8 x Dickies 2010
REBEL8 x Vans 2008