m-i-s-o: art for other things
An eye for an eye, a pencil for a pen, a tattoo for a home cooked meal and some house plants. This is how it works for Stanislava Pinchuk, aka M-I-S-O. Born and raised in the Ukraine and now based in Melbourne, this intriguing 25-year-old makes art that really means something. She uses both detailed illustration and pin-prick through paper techniques to illuminate maps, images, and really hit the nail on the head with inspiring nostalgia and mapping out its related emotions. So what exactly goes through her mind, and how does she stay so productive?
You started your artistic career by drawing portraits of your friends on the sides of buildings. Do you remember the very first one you did?
I think so! But my head does jumble up these things a little. I think the first drawings were maybe of older women that I had known in Ukraine - my grandmother's friends and the women that lived in the commission block I grew up in. I was 18 at the time, and had been a bit between Ukraine and Australia at that point, and felt a little bit fragmented between two very different places. So pasting these drawings in Australia was the starting point of those works, I think. I liked how intimate those were, and started drawing friends from then on.
Beginning as a graffiti artist, what was it like running the streets as a teen?
I’m really, really glad I found it when I did. I feel really indebted to that time - I think it taught me a lot about being an artist, really quickly. There was a pretty amazing DIY ethos to it, which I feel so lucky to have picked up on then. I got in trouble too, which means you can’t do it forever - but I still think it was worth it.
You have moved on to doing a lot of paper prick works, when did you first start experimenting with that medium?
It was really around the time I was making the street works, and being a really detailed drawer - feeling a little frustrated that I couldn’t get as much detail with a scalpel as I could with a pencil. So they started appearing as little elements in the works… then little works on their own, then bigger works… and now I hammer all day.
Can you tell us a little bit about your process of working? Do you work in your studio daily, or are you more of a night owl, work outside etc?
I work every single day - I’m not really good with having time off, I hate feeling lazy or unproductive. I’m in my studio fairly early every day, and depending on my workload, I’ll usually stay late too - but it gives me a lot of satisfaction, I don’t mind. If it’s a little more relaxed, I usually stay in the studio until 7 or so, and catch up with someone for dinner or a drink, and walk home.
Born in the Ukraine, but now based in Melbourne, your upbringing and the recent unrest in your home country has had a great influence on your work. Can you tell us about that?
It’s been a really, really difficult time - I’ve been wanting to go home for a while now, but also relieved to be so far away. It’s a strange tension, and I’m still not sure what to make of it. I never thought I would see my home invaded, in this day and age. The distance has meant waking up every morning, getting texts, reading what has happened while you’ve been asleep - it’s been such a sad and strange way to wake up, starting every day feeling so angry - I think it was inevitable that some work came out of all that.
You have recently begun doing tattoos as a trade exchange for friends and family, many of which are maps; what do maps mean to you?
Well, when I map in my work, it’s usually mapping myself. It’s not really a practice other people have a say in. So tattooing friends is nice for that reason - it’s meeting halfway on someone else’s map, and illustrating their story. So those maps aren’t mine, and I really like the challenge. So the meaning rests a little outside of me.
Where do you see the rest of 2014 taking you?
I just arrived in Paris - I’m making a book here with a really great publisher, La Chambre Graphique. I’ve really been looking forward to it for a long time, we’ve been e-mailing all year, and this week is the week to get it all done. Then to Melbourne to launch my collaboration with Gorman, and back to Tokyo for a three month residency, a solo show with Backwoods… and that’s it! Then it’s New Year’s Eve and that’s it.
What is one piece of advice you have to give?
I think it’s really good not to be precious about your time - to know when to bin something, even if it’s taken weeks to make. It’s really good to throw things out.
Be sure, however, not to throw away this article before heading to M-I-S-O’s website:
By Vicki Fletcher @VickiFletcher88