“The advice [my mentors] told me, I tell other people. Like, “Take the cotton out your ears, put it in your mouth. Sit on your hands and listen.” I can only keep what I have got by giving it away. For all the people out there that withheld ideas and kept secrets, I am here to give away those ideas and do the opposite.”
Mister Cartoon’s work adorns the forms of some of the most celebrated athletes and performers of our time ─ the shortlist includes Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Kobe Bryant, 50 Cent and Travis Barker.
Born Mark Machado in Los Angeles, Cartoon got his start as a graffiti street artist, muralling and silk-screening. Early on he drew upon a collection of diverse influences to create his legendary style ─ “fine-line” tattooing (a technique originated by inmates in the California prison system), retro signage, Old English gothic lettering, New York style graffiti, and classic car culture. Originality and intricacy became his calling card and by the mid-1990’s he was one of the most sought after tattooist. (He’s also the designer behind the iconic Cypress Hill logo.) But it was his tattoo for Eminem, a black and white portrait of the rappers daughter, Hailie Jade that placed his art squarely in the realms of music, fashion and pop culture, as well as bringing his work to the attention of brands like Nike and Toyota.
Today, Mister Cartoon continues to showcase the street culture he loves and his singular style in standout collaborations, in addition to expanding his multi-faceted brand. Mister Cartoon will be headlining Transcension, Manifesto’s 8th Annual Art Exhibition on September 18 at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse (255 Bremner Blvd.) from 7pm – 2am. Tickets available here. Chaka V.