Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Off the Wall

Mis Red
A View from the Hills

Female graff artists are a lot less numerous than their male counterparts, so it's always nice to discover a new artist on the scene. After seeing her work on Facebook we soon got in touch and met up for a coffee and a chat...

RDC: Hey, Mis Red could you tell us where you are from and where you live now please?

Currently residing amongst the seven hills of Sheffield, UK away from the coal stained birth land that is Barnsley.....Good market though!

RDC: What is your background, are you self taught?

In terms of graff, pretty much self taught. Although CoLor did try to show me how to do circles and explained what caps were what, but I spat my dummy out after 5 min's because I didn't like being watched...I'm a terrible pupil, but a much better student. I prefer to study and learn by my self, trial and error. It's the best way to learn anything.

In terms of art in general, pretty much all my life in every capacity, so I had a good foundation of skills, knowledge and practice before I started graff.

RDC: Why the spray can and have you had a go at any other media?

I go through manic stages with most things that are new. Someone will put an idea in my head and/or object in my hand and then that's all I can think about and do. Felt tips pretty much from the word go, then I remember my Plasticine obsession. We'll fast forward a bit, or this could get looong. Every night after school I'd draw using a technical pencil, photo's from kerrang and NME, it took president over my school work every time, but it kept me outta trouble.

Screen printing was my first proper adult art obsession, and I still hold both the technicians in high regard today, I think they we're sick of seeing me, but pretty much gave me free reign of their studio's. So I think with that foundation my work has a kind of graphic/graff feel/approach anyway.

My mum bought me a sewing machine at 18, which consumed my life for a good few years. I loved the inside out and back to front process of having to workout making things from the first sketch. I find this with spray work in a way, the way you have to plan a head, figure out the layers working in a kinda backwards way.
Paintings a doddle in comparison. I cannot remember not being able to paint to be honest, paintings been very natural, I've never been obsessed with it, but I'll always go for representational painting. Graff has really helped me to start developing a style of my own. Replete described my paintings as having an 'editorial' feel, so looking back, it was only natural that I would eventually turn my hand to the spray can. My spray paint skills are eons behind my painting abilities. I must admit though I love how the concessions I have to make due to lack of skill with the can, from sketch to wall make my work/style naturally evolve into some thing fresh from my original conception.

RDC: When did you start spraying, someone said that some photographs look like you are painting in your back yard?

I started at the end of April this year. I knew a few guys in my teens who liked their spray paint, but it was tagging and I didn't understand it back then. However have now gained an appreciation of hand styles. Having said that I'm more aware of how much crap there is out there (as well as the skill)....although 'piss flaps' made me giggle in the same way seeing a crude cock and balls does....what ever happened to 'piss flaps'?

 I went off the question there, sorry. The point I was getting to, is until April I hadn't met a graff artist. Funnily enough they don't make themselves known in person that often. It was when I first met CoLor. He who put the idea of graff into my head and a can into my hand. Sadly I'd like to tell some story of meeting him on the streets that involved a police chase or somert along those lines but it was as far from cool as you can get. Anyway credit to him. Since then I have met a few more and found out a few existing friends where at it all along. So their tip, advice and encouragement has been priceless.

As for the garden painting, good observation there, I'm guessing that was Fiona Milne's eagle eye. I spent my first order of spray paint on the walls and wheelie bins of my back yard, until I 'manned up', as it was put by a peer. I feel at this point I should give a massive credit to Kaze, who chatted to me when I did my first piece, he's shown me around key spots and its been good to have a co painter around.

RDC: Ha ha, good guess with Fiona!

RDC: Can you tell us what inspires your work - it seems like you were into skeletons at one time, has that changed?

The main inspiration and drive to my graff work is getting better. trying new things, playing with styles. The skellies where just a simple sketch I plucked from many. So Im just playing, visually with that,  seeing what works, what doesn't. Flicking through my sketch book now its seems all so random, but others have spotted themes. I don't really think about it too much. I just soak up idea's and am inspired by the things around me, like any artist I guess. I'd love to hand my sketch books over to a psychologist and see what they say.

There are returning/reoccurring themes in my work, and this includes my non graff work as well (which there is much much more of). Mexican day of the dead - dias los muertos is defiantly a fascination of mine - Sylia Ji's paintings are a beautiful modern take on it. On a personal level I love anything beautifully sinister. I remember my English teacher explaining the word juxtaposition, and that's been a favorite word and the best description of the any thing that catches my eye. Grimms fairy tales, folk lore, religion and mythology have always fascinated me from being a child, and certainly keep me busy on Wiki threads - any kind of morality tale I suppose (you asking me this question has got me thinking). Anyone and anything on that tone strikes a note with me.
I have always been fascinated by human anatomy from being young. I like things that are a little macabre but are presented in a colourful celebratory way. I'm drawn to the garish imagery of Zombie, monster and B-movie's, graphic novels (particularly Mike Mignola's neo film noiresque art work, (I'm sure you can spot the influence in my recent work), and frank quietly (check out We3, its disturbingly beautiful). Calma was introduced to me recently and his work really wets my whistle. Blu's animations blow's my mind, and I love to do some stop frame (when my friend remembers to loan me her camera). I love classic tattoo pinups soft core s&m porn and draw lots of that kind of thing although that hasn't transpired into my spray work yet, but I'm still a wee toy. So early days. I could go on and on.

RDC: Bouldering/climbing - give us an insight into these hobbies of yours Red?

This is a sore point for me as I have done so little. Over winter I really slacked off after becoming completely obsessed with it last year, There are definitely exploitative links between graff and climbing that I love. My slackness was mainly due to laziness and snowboarding. Unfortunately just as the summer climbing season was approaching and I started to get my ass in to gear I developed a pretty mean lung infection and in turn developed in to pleurisy (due to spray paint no less, so get a good mask, learn from my mistake). I'm only just well enough to spray paint now, but will be out for the count all summer on the climbing front which proper sucks big style. 
Thanks for that question RDC.
RDC: This deal that you did with the Devil, can you tell us how that went down?

Ha ha, well the devil makes work for all idle hands. If I wasn't drawing or at least doing something creative with my hands as a child my, hands were generally doing a mischief on behalf of the dark lord it seems. from taking out the putty of my grandmas single glaze windows, pressing stop buttons on escalators in busy shopping centers on Saturday afternoons, taking apart expensive electrical equipment, finding new and unique places to store plasticine, from plug sockets to keys holes, reinacting scenes from Georges marvelous medicine, poking holes into waterproof bags of coal in the pouring rain, experimenting with new pyrotechnical methods of ant nest eradication and barbie doll amalgamation amongst others. You know, the usual childhood past times. Any way the deal, avoid men in suits with contracts, weather it be in phones 4U or on your doorstep asking about your gas/electricity supplier. If their not the devil their probably working for him or just a plain bastard. No cross roads I'm afraid.
Maybe if I have time I'll get back to the graphic novel I started doing and all will be revealed.
RDC: What hopes and ambitions have you got for your future in graffiti art?

I just want to get better at what I do. I'm an illustrator to be honest so it's more about exploring the medium and getting my work out there. My 'real' job pays well and I enjoy the work I do as its still  within the creative sector, but its very restrictive for my personal creativity. However my plan is to drop a day or two and go part time in the next year at the latest now I can afford to, and focus on my art work in general, so I can do more of what I enjoy. Graff has certainly re ignited my passion for art again.

Not to get pleurisy again by investing in a descent mask!

RDC: That pleurisy sounds well severe, we are glad you are getting better now... (the things we do for art eh...). All the best Mis Red!

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