Hi! My name is Mike Han. I'm a Korean-Detroit artist, designer, and modern vandal. I am a Cheongju Han, a Korean royal clan known as House of Han, whose history dates back over 1,000 years. I am the first born in America on my mother's side, who immigrated with her family into Detroit's Cass Corridor during the early 70s.
My artwork is influenced by Korean calligraphy, graffiti, and modern design. I strive to create with balance and harmony using carefully selected materials. I utilize manufactured and found objects to explore my identity, the relationship of everything and nothing, creation and consumption, and the ways in which we are all connected.
My practice is burdened and bolstered by the understanding that in order to create, you must destroy. From this truth, I now describe my practice as modern vandalism. Modern Vandalism is the conscious decision to destroy materials, products, and space in an effort to create value. By being mindful of my impact as a creator and consumer, I hope to help others see life in a way that isn't necessarily about resolution, but more about practice, understanding, and improvement.
I have a cat named Tum Tum. He's got one squished little ear and FIV (cat AIDS).
Mike has exhibited work in Seoul, South Korea and throughout Metro Detroit. He has been commissioned to paint murals for Google for Startups, vitaminwater, Apigee, Patrick Thompson Design, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Derrick May’s Transmat Gallery, for private residences and small businesses in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Chicago, and Osaka, Japan.
Han has had work purchased by Paramount Pictures for use in a feature film, created art installations for Red Bull, and his work has been featured on BBC World News, Apartment Therapy, The Detroit News, the Urban Outfitters Blog, and published in Detroit Home.
Mike was the founder of Street Culture Mash, a Detroit creative agency, which was responsible for creating and facilitating the Woodward Windows Project. The project transformed 7 vacant buildings in downtown Detroit into a world class public art gallery during 2011-2012 in partnership with 323 East Gallery (now Inner State Gallery), the DEGC, Farbman Group, and with support from Strategic Staffing Solutions.
As a sushi chef, Mike opened NYC's first sustainable omakase sushi restaurant to rave reviews and it was distinguished as a "Best New Restaurant in NYC" by the Village Voice in 2017. Han has lead sushi teams at highly acclaimed restaurants like Zuma in Miami, Roka Akor in downtown Chicago, and was formerly Chef De Cuisine for Bamboo Sushi in Denver (part of the world's first sustainable restaurant group).
Han opened Detroit's first sustainable sushi restaurant in 2018 which closed soon after in 2019 as Han was forced to leave by the food hall proprietors because he refused to sell California rolls and make the food "more approachable". Mike has had the honor of making sushi at the James Beard House for a sustainable seafood dinner with chefs from around the country. Although Mike no longer has any intention to open a restaurant, he plans to develop and express his Korean-American style of sushi as unique ephemeral experiences.