The Good Times - Mike Emigrated in 1958 from New Zealand and Arrived in Los Angeles USA to study at The Art Centre School of Design, Mike's artistic career was about to go from one strength to another with an intriguing variety of employment at some major US companies around about their peak of success. Starting with his first employment in the US in 1959 as a designer for the May Company department store, followed by another designer job at a newspaper The Los Angeles Herald Examiner. It seems that there were no shortage of opportunities for Mike in these early days some albeit brief as an example in 1962 a four-month employment at Reprise Records (the record company founded by Frank Sinatra). In 1966 Mike moved to New York and got employment as an art director at Young & Rubicam and afterwards at BBDO (in 1967 gaining a prize at the 13th Annual Type Director's Club Show TDC XIII). Then perhaps the most exciting years to follow as Mike also working in experimental fine art and exhibiting; in 1969 he did the front cover for Witzend issue 6 and in the same year came Mike's big break into SF from Ted White who commissioned interior and front cover illustrations for Fantastic Stories and Amazing. The work from then on continued to flow steadily with more magazines and book illustrations up until around about 1985/1988 where the opportunities were becoming harder to find.
The Hard Times - It is 1989 and Mike has no money he can't afford to eat let alone pay his rent and as Mike puts it in the letter he wrote (below) he's, "Running around like the proverbial Dutch boy stopping leaks in the dike". The letter tells of Mike's desperate situation and gratefulness to his friend that has just sent him some money. It is a wet and blustery day.
At the very bottom of the letter Mike is referring to two copies of the Mike Hinge Experience.
The S.F Encyclopedia U.K Publication that Mike mentions is The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Pan Books 1977 (page from the Encyclopedia with Face (1972) below)
Shorty Rogers & his Giants on Reprise Records and the record cover
by Mike Hinge (below)
The front cover has a Mike Hinge Credit bottom left, this is the first Record cover I have found by Mike. If it had not been for Mike mentioning his trip to the second hand record store in this letter I am not sure how long it would have been until this one would have come to light, such an amazing find both letter and record cover.
In one of Mike's resume's he wrote, "Record cover design ideas and comps.. Pick and buy type, use old engravings, lay down coloured zip on photoprints for wraparounds with bleed. (Reprise Records)".