Mike Harrington’s early beginnings were in the fields of Art; learning how to draw from a neighborhood friend, he quickly took these lessons to heart— practicing for hours on end, never happy with his initial drawings, his mother ensured he had proper art classes. While in elementary school, he won achievement awards in art, and there, he met his best friend and greatest ally in art, Jean-Paul Rangel.
The two would battle for who would draw the best Spiderman (Jean would win most times, although their friendship was so strong that no one would ever keep score!), and soon, art became an all-consuming passion for Mike. Getting straight A’s throughout junior high school, he was chosen for a special program in high school where, one week he took intensive academic courses, and the next, he focused on his true love, which was now called Graphic Design. He majored in graphic design, with a focus on illustration, learning how to use cutting edge tools like the Macintosh, along with traditional mediums such as charcoal, pastel, acrylics, watercolors and oils.
His bedroom was filled to the brim with drawings; each one better than the last, and soon, Mrs. Arlene Green, his teacher at the time, suggested that he consider an exchange scholarship program that was being offered at the school. Jumping at the chance, he filled out the paperwork and waited. It was a few weeks, but the news came in over the loudspeakers that he had been chosen for this most honorable award, and directly after graduating high school, would be heading to Europe to study German and learn art from a European outlook for the next year.
To say that Mike was excited was an understatement; he took the German cassette tapes and books that were mailed to him and practiced his heart out, often staying up late into the night practicing this strange, new language.
The time would come that he would say goodbye to his family and friends and travel to Germany; there he lived the life of an artist while going to school; painting mermaids in pastels at the Cathedral in Cologne, he learned quickly how his skills would always be a benefit to others. He landed internships with award winning design studios such as Heye + Partners and ABW Werbagentur, where he worked on designs for such well known brands as McDonald’s and Campari Soda.
After a year abroad, he returned to the States and worked in a variety of design and development jobs, while drawing at night. Soon his ideas caught the attention of others and with their support, he has created Simian Soldiers as an outlet for his creative ideas, and also as a way to show the world African American men can do other positive, creative things other than make rap or play sports.
He firmly believes that good old-fashioned hard work is the key to a successful, fulfilling life; won’t you join him on his quest?