Gavin "Mizzle" Mathieu On Shifting The Culture With Supervsn Studios
On December 20, I had a chance to link up with Gavin “Mizzle” Mathieu—an LA native and entrepreneur who has had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest people to come out the west coast. The LA community has some of the biggest impact on the fashion, photo, music and entertainment industry more recently and the main reason is individuals such as Gavin, who grew up in California and is now apart of the emerging street wear culture on Fairfax in Los Angeles.
As an LA native myself, I have a huge appreciation for my upbringing and what I have seen come out of LA. The people that I have met and the individuals I have spoken with have a lot in common: work ethic and willingness to live in a world of discomfort.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Gavin Mathieu. A Creative Director, Creative Entrepreneur & Designer.
I read that you went to FIDM for a semester; can you describe your experience going to school for graphic design?
Going to school at FIDM for me felt like a playground. Because it was a place where I could do what I love and really tap in. I was the only straight dude there and I was surrounded by a bunch of woman. I was also really young.
I use to always struggle with school—I left high school really early. I took a test and just left. At first I was excited about [FIDM], and even that wasn’t enough to keep me there. I just wanted to get on the streets and really do my thing and create.
Do you think it was a reflection of the education system or was it just you?
No, I just felt like I could learn more by doing it [myself] and the money that I was spending paying them to teach me—worse come to worse I rather blow that money trying things. And I probably did that.
I always say that, I probably paid “tuition” in making mistakes in business, fashion and starting companies. But I have way more experience than everybody else. Because I have been doing this since I was 14/15 years old. I have been screen-printing my own tees and designing—working with other people, and helping people build brands.
Was all of your experience self taught or did you have a mentor?
I was self-taught in graphic design. I just got an “AI” file and worked on it every single day. Graphic design was my first love. I use that in everything that I do—I designed my house that way.
My vision board for the year, I designed it out on Photoshop or Illustrator.
Having graphic design skills has really helped me design my entire life.
What was your experience being an LA Native?
When I first started I saw a huge gap in people promoting the culture.
As a creative, I would say I am a culture guy. Beyond just pushing myself, I also wanted to play the background and help other artists. Even when I opened up my store on Fairfax I could’ve named it “Just be Cool,” which was my brand at the time but I named it “YOUth,” so that I can keep it open for other people selling there stuff too. I wanted it to be a platform for other creatives. Because at the time (2013) in LA wasn’t getting enough love in music or fashion. I saw it as it is going to take someone to push those things to the forefront. A lot of my creative was about inspiring other creatives.
You shoot photos as well. Who are some of your influences you look up to in photography?
Photography wise, one of my larger influences is David LaChapelle. I love how he creates his own world and how everyone of his photos seems like it is in his own imagination. If that world was really here, (it seems) like he is living in it. I like his play on colors—[he] almost paints a picture with each of his photos.
Describe what success means to you?
Man, you know on a day-to-day for me success is happiness—as a generic answer.
One day I looked up the antonym of “create” and I thought it would be destroy or break.
But it was dead.
So we are here to create as people. We create children, and that is the highest form of creativity.
We create communities, we create relationships, we create art.
We create all these things and when we leave, hopefully the things we create makes the world better.
Success for me, when I die I did enough. I did enough to leave this place a better place for my children.
What’s the story behind your nickname “Mizzle”?
My uncles and my cousins used to always call my G-Money when I was a kid. I was always doing something—I was always trying to stay fly—then the whole Snoop Dogg—Doggy Fizzle shit came out and then my nickname became G-Mizzle, then people dropped the G. That’s the evolution.
Tell us about your brand Supervsn?
For me, Supervsn came from a self-realization of our powers; an awareness of our special beings and presence here. When I originally thought of it—I have been developing this brand and concepts for like 4-5 years—and I really began to view people as superheroes. So the first collection was some super hero shit.
I probably designed over a thousand designs for Supervsn and have trashed them.
But it helped me to develop to where it coming to now.
So it is very much like what we have been talking about—while we are here, what are we doing? What are we creating to contribute?
Or are we wasting our life?
Are we just letting time fly by?
We all have a purpose.
When we talk about the super hero idea, Supervsn is more of a portal for a message from a higher power.
Then the other side of Supervsn is to oversee and handle with care. Supervsn as a brand is here to supervise the culture and push it in the right direction.
Does the grid design on your shirts serve more of an esthetic purpose or is there a meaning behind it?
There is a meaning behind everything in Supervsn. It’s aesthetic but the meaning behind the grid is the axis that we live on with the world—and kind of the clean slate as an artist.
When you learn to illustrate and draw as a kid you start on a grid.
The grid is very much about the playing field we are on.
Can you talk about your working dynamic with other west coast artists, like YG, Dom Kennedy, OPM, etcetera?
All of those relationships started based off me doing my (own) thing and then them acknowledging/respecting it and saying, “let’s work together.”
With Dom [Kennedy]—we grew up together, so I was throwing parties in the city and there was this day Dom was also about to put a mix tape out. We had a party coming up and we said to [Dom] that you should perform.
I was always into the marketing and branding side—so I said let’s incorporate this and lets promote Dom.
When all that started to buzz in LA, that’s when YG approached me.
I knew his manager and they both pulled up to my store on Fairfax. They mentioned wanting to work together but they needed some help. This was about 2007/2008.
That evolved into me helping them on the creative side. So I design for them for a while.
Same goes [with my relationship] with Nipsey.
With all these guys it was a mutual respect.
How was your experience having a shop on Fairfax? How would you describe the evolution of LA street wear culture?
I started on Fairfax in 2007 having an office above the first location about the Diamond store. It was originally our space that acted as a home base for the events we were throwing.
Early on when I opened my first store, I had my cousin Kourtney working there. She opened my eyes—I must have been 25 years old at the time—but she had mentioned, “You know you are the only young black business owner on this block.”
It made me come to realize that the same way in some neighborhoods we grew up are now becoming gentrified—now the entire Jewish community of Fairfax has now been taken over by street wear culture.
A new community of multi-cultural, intelligent individuals—I think that is the future.
What’s next for you?
You will see more products and some first collections dropping for Supervsn.
You will see me creating more pieces with “400” clothing.
You will see me creating with some more people in the culture.
Are you able to disclose who you will be you are creating with?
Um, no—not yet!
On that note, stay tuned to Milk for some future releases by Gavin—as well as some more interviews of some LA natives.