Inspired by magical and spiritual themes that are prominent in eastern cultures, Mia’s creations welcome you into an enchanting world of different colors, flavors and celebrations. With bright tints and fine lines, she mixes nature and anthropomorphism to create quirky, conceptual works of art. Mia bases herself on Sydney’s northern beaches and features her work in niche galleries across the country. A fun and lighthearted soul that offers endearing art to the kinsfolk lucky enough to discover her. How lucky were we when she decided to grace our virtual walls with her words and work? Read below for the full interview…
Your style combines acrylic, watercolour and ink onto wooden panels. What are some of the pros and cons mixing so many elements to illustrate a piece?
Mia: Sometimes it can get a little hectic and busy, but I think I’ve definitely become better at knowing whether a piece is finished or not. I have to be patient with the ink, and try to leave all the outlines till the end but patience is not one of my strong suits. I almost always get ink bleeds, the watercolours never do what they’re told and trying to get a nice flat coat of acrylic can be testing and time consuming. I’ve learnt to live with the imperfections and just roll with it. Every mistake adds to the pure originality and uniqueness of each artwork.
You have a store front! Tell people what kind of selection process goes into displaying art for sale.
Mia: I like to have art that is affordable for all the young kids and people with no cash, so I guess artworks that were particularly well received get selected to become prints. I currently do limited runs of about 30, but i’m thinking of cutting it all back to only a few prints available in runs of 10 or so. It’s good to have affordable art, but you don’t want to dilute your originals.
What is it about Japanese art that inspires you so much?
Mia: There is so much artistic expression in Japan, from painting to ceramics to fashion. Modern day Japanese art and culture has so much colour and noise, it’s exciting and they seem really open to anything weird and wonderful. Traditional Japanese art has a flow and spirituality to it rarely seen in Western art. I love the calligraphy and washes on silks and rice paper, I think their long history with brush techniques has made them particularly good at expressing themselves. The values and themes conveyed are often conceptual yet simplistic. Just like a haiku, I guess.
In our culture, there are all these many ways in which art’s been separated and segregated, and we have all these different hierarchies of what it means to be an artist. Do you feel there is a huge contrast in art in the west?
Mia: Art has had a major resurgence in the past 10 years or so, which is great. There is now a lot of people interested in art and it has become a lot easier to make a living doing what you love. However, as in most competitive fields, I think there are people that are performing their task as an artist, and then there are some who have gotten caught up with making money in a growing industry. As I would be much more comfortable painting picture on how I feel , i’m going to use as Terrence Mckennas words. This is an excerpt from his talk ‘Open doors for artists':
You can select yourself as an artist. … And once you have self-selected yourself as an artist you are an artist regardless of other people’s opinions. And now it bears upon you to imagine something, to conceive of something and to hold something in your mind. This something is private and personal and only you know of its existence. Then as an artist it becomes your task to manifest this something in the real world, to take your private and personal vision and make it visible to all.
This act of an artist, the sole thing an artist must do, is actually an act of magic. Make something tangible in the world that previously only existed as an intangible idea. In the artist’s mind this detail possesses importance. So then the artist contrives to create circumstances to attract attention to this small previously ignored detail so that others can recognise its importance as well. So this magical ability is a special talent and for this reason artists have a role to play in society.
Today there is great opportunity for artists. Much is missing from daily life. Many small details have become overlooked. Artists must show others what does not exist and attract their attention to the overlooked details of everyday life. Show the rest of the world what they have been missing. Now is your chance to step up and become the artist you have always wanted to become. Be part of the peaceful solution and the peaceful resolution.
What is it like showing your work in Indonesia versus other areas? Is it a culturally rich area for the arts?
Mia: I think one of the best things about showing art in Indonesia is the diverse range of people that get to view it, everyone’s coming from various parts of the world for a holiday or business. My solo show in Bali earlier this year was a huge success and I had a great response from people all over the world who had been here at the time. Balinese traditions are founded on beauty, music, dance and craftsmanship so it’s an amazing place to base yourself and be naturally inspired by your surroundings.
A lot of your work deals with nature, energy, spirituality and beauty. Most of these are aspects we can only tap into when our mind is in the right state. Are you able to apply your gentleness to your creations when you are in a bad mood? Or must your art be created when you are in a cool, happy state?
Mia: I definitely don’t want to be passing on any bad vibes through my work. It’s an expression of what I want to say, not what i want to whinge about. But if I’m not totally in the right state of mind, the process of painting usually soothes me and gets my attention focused on my work rather than whatever may have been bothering me at the time.
Do you have any favorite Asian films or Anime?
Mia: Mononoke Hime is one of my most favorite films ever. It’s animated so beautifully and the characters/creatures are amazing, you can’t help but be totally transported into these worlds. I love the relationships all the Studio Ghibli characters have with nature and their immediate surroundings. These films combine adventure, magic, spirituality and show how sometimes there’s no clear divide between good and evil – everything is balanced.
How has the experience of working in Bali and a new art studio affected your work as of late? Do you see yourself straying away from your usual subject matter due to your new surroundings?
Mia: Since I’ve got my own studio, I’ve been so much more productive. I don’t have any internet there or anything else to distract me so I’m consistently painting or sketching or drawing on the walls. I don’t think i’m straying away from my usual subject matter but i’ve definitely opened my mind and sketches to other elements of the universe.
Working with watercolors is quite unpredictable. How are you grasping the artform thus far? What is the hardest aspect of it for you?
Mia: The unpredictability of watercolours is what draws me to it. Many aspects of my paintings are quite neat and detailed, I think it’s nice to have the contrast of the swirling, messy watercolours. At this stage, I’m just playing around with it. I have a huge respect for those who can paint with watercolours, it’s hard to do to make it do what you want it to!
I know you have participated in some group shows as of late. Any plans for a solo show?
Mia: I’ve spent a lot of this year travelling which has been great, but not much painting has taken place! I’m hoping to have a show back In Australia early in the year, and also looking into heading over to Japan later in the year. I would love to do a show there! Fingers crossed!
What advice can you offer up to creative out there?
Mia: I recently read an article on another Australian artist, Beci Orpin, and she had a pretty good formula down for working artists, which i’ve now taken on as my own little mantra.
- Work hard.
- Be original.
- Break rules.
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