Mike studied art/antiart, printmaking,and design at the University of Auckland, NewZealand, in the late seventies and early eighties.Taking inspiration from the 'Dada'
and movements,the punk scene ,and the performance art of Coum Transmissions and Peter Roche,Mike formed the art group 'Fetus Productions' with friends
Jed Town and Sarah Fort.After an initial exhibhition in Auckland the trio relocated to Sydney where they created a series of audio and visual works. Production of the first Fetus album,YPRX1908, followed,now including ex Features Karel van Bergen and James Pinker.
Screenprints of the time included images of disaster and genetic deformity . Mike, Pola (Rose Castranova )and Steve (Spaceman )Nixon started to print fabric and produce their own garments selling them at the Paddington Markets to the early 'Dotti' stores and to 'Impact Imprint' Some of these early designs were the first to be made using flourescent fabric printing ink. After a couple of years 'FP' left Australia, members heading to Japan , England, and back to New Zealand.
Mike,Pola,James,Karel,and Kolleen Ford ended up in London with friends SPKDominik Guerin(Graeme Revell )
and all became to some degree part of the 'Industrial Culture' along with Throbbing Gristle ,Psychic TV, Chris and Cosey
, Lustmord,Einstuerzende Neubauten ,Current 93, Portion Control
,Caberet Voltaire,Nocturnal Emissions ,Little Annie ,Foetus and designers like Mosquitohead and Modzart.Setting up in a squat overlooking the Oval Cricket Ground, Mike, Pola, Rick Read, Jo Thompson and Scotty Mc Ellis , built a print studio and began producing their unique designs to sell at Camden Market ,
the Great Gear Market in Kensington and to the odd store in France ,Italy, Holland ,and Germany .Mike, Steve and friends created the second Fetus Album 'Environmental' and with Jed released more material ' Anthem ,Classical,and Flicker 'on 12" single.
Returning to New Zealand in the late eighties Mike and Rick established Virus which soon became known for its bizarre original screenprints. The buisness quickly expanded from it's Central Auckland base in K'Rd, to include the shop 'Ameba' on Haight St ,San Francisco and a showroom in New York hosted by designer Patricia Fields ,stylist for Sex In The City'.After showing at several NewYork Boutique Shows and filling orders for such top stores as Bloomingdales and Seibu Seed ,Tokyo(showcasing along side Jean Paul Gaultier.and Katherine Hamnett ) Virus has since directed most of its effort to supplying boutiques across New Zealand and Australia.
Many people have come and gone over the years and their input into the 'Virus' buisness is fondly remembered.Steve ran a stall at Sydney 's Paddington Markets for many years and now builds custom Harley's , while Jed's doing various art and audio projects. Mike and partner Sabrina are still directly involved in designing the clothing and screenprinting textiles.Rick and Mike remain good friends and collaborate from time to time.Always cutting-edge and provocative,Virus continues to innovate in the
field of contempory textile and apparel design,spreading it's influence around the globe.