TSD.Thank you for providing Think Smart Designs this great interview with you Mia. Did you go to school for Fine Arts? Tell us where you come from and when you got interested in painting.
Thanks for having me! From as early as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write and illustrate my own stories. I became obsessed with getting into animation during high school, but quickly realized that I didn’t have the chops or the patience to make the thousands of drawings that it takes to animate. So I came back around to drawing, painting, and writing, and settled on illustration, which I majored in at Otis College of Art and Design. I originally wanted to major in Fine Art when I applied at Otis, but I just wanted a major where I could keep drawing and learn how to paint traditionally (which is not really what Fine Art was about). When I heard that I could do both of those things in Illustration, as well as apply writing to my work, I made the decision to switch my emphasis, and minored in Creative Writing at the same time. After graduating from art school, I was invited to show my work in an art gallery in downtown LA, so I began doing gallery work while trying to figure out how to get some commercial work. I never figured out how to do the latter, and just kept going with fine art.
TSD. Guide us through a regular day in your life, when do you get most creative?
I work 7 days a week, at a minimum of 10 hours per day, so I need to get creative 24/7. But it’s easiest to feel inspired when I’ve had some sleep, when I’m relaxed, and when I’m listening to music and audiobooks.
I start my day with emails or business tasks, but sometimes I just jump right into my work. If it’s a painting day, I list out sections to accomplish for the day and try to focus on those.
If it’s a drawing day, then I review my notes to help with conceptualizing, maybe I’ll do an image search to jump-start the engines, or sketch from reference until the ideas begin to flow.
TSD. I see a touch of surrealism in your paintings. Where does that inspiration come from?
I have a lot of ideas in my mind, and the best way for me to weave them all together into the same picture is generally what you end up seeing in my work. So it comes mainly from the need to make sense of my thoughts and the multiple narratives in each piece so that it communicates. I also tend to favor fantasy and imaginary worlds over realism, so I do enjoy surrealism.
TSD. Your paintings are amazing, tell us the evolution of your work over the years? Do you think you have improved? Is there any room for more?
I have improved over the past 2 years, but that is natural because I work very long and hard at this. Of course there is always room for improvement, but especially because I am 23, and feel that I’ve only scraped the surface of all that there is to know! This is a lifelong endeavor, so I intend to learn and improve until I hang up the brush 70+ years in the future.
TSD. Are you very critical when it comes to your own art? And how do you deal with criticism yourself? Do you always listen to what others have to say about your work?
I’m without a doubt my harshest critic, and I don’t take that criticism very well. Perhaps that is why I can take the criticism of others without much grief. I’m very interested in what others have to say about my work, but ultimately it comes down to who the criticism is coming from (oftentimes the most vocal critics are people who don’t know what they’re talking about, so I take it with a grain of salt), and more importantly-- what my intentions for the work are. I have the last word on whether I take anyone’s advice or not.
TSD. What have you been working on recently? Any up and coming exhibition we should keep our eyes on?
I’m working on my next show, which is also the last one for me this year. It will be at the Corey Helford Gallery in LA, alongside Krista Huot and Korin Faught opening on September 25th. I’ll be creating a 48” x 36” piece, which is the largest size I’ve ever painted. This will be the second piece of that size that I’ve yet attempted, so it’s exciting to work on. I will have a few more paintings and some drawings in that show too.
TSD. Which art period inspires you the most?
I love so many styles and periods of art history, but the most inspiring is probably Art Nouveau and turn of the century illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Alphonse Mucha.
TSD. Is there any other artist you get inspiration from?
Many of my heroes are animators – Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, and Ken Duncan to name a few – because I grew up marveling at the characters that they brought to life. Also vintage photography (anything historical is incredibly inspiring to me), and music— for example, Joanna Newsom can reduce me to tears with her genius.
TSD. I still see art tagged at high prices these days even with the economic crisis. Did that affect you or your art? Did you have to rethink your prices at some point?
Pricing is something I think about very carefully no matter what the economic climate is like. I prefer to keep prices at a range where it is affordable for smaller collectors to acquire originals, while keeping in mind what I need to make in order to survive based on my output. My prices are also determined by the intricacy of the pieces, and by the fact that I simply don’t make many paintings per year. But I also have to keep in mind that I am still very new in this business, so it’s a bit of a balancing act. The gallery owners that I work with are very helpful in this, and always give me good advice and feedback.
TSD. Thank You Mia for this great interview. Where can we also find you online?
My website is art-by-mia.com
My blog: miaillustration.blogspot.com
You can also find my fan page on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mia/357579429155
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