Interview with MISO


Amidst frantically shifting studios and moving to Japan, Couturing managed to sit down and have a chat with awe-inspiring artist Stanislava Pinchuk, also known as MISO. Being just 24 her work has been inspired across Australia and parts of the world. While she jumps from place to place and country to country, she still calls Melbourne home. After being a resident for over fourteen years and always being inspired by Melbourne’s artistic scene and beginning her artistic exploration at only 14 through street art and graphic design.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I’m a visual person, the answer comes through my drawing and comes through in my work, and it is already through the drawing. I think it’s self-explanatory to people who see my artwork. But I also like to leave it open, if I wanted to use words, I’d use words.

You’re not from Australia originally, what made you move to Melbourne?

I lived in the Ukraine, and moved here with my parents fourteen years ago, but I’m all over the place but Melbourne is always where I come back to. I’m gone maybe six months of the year but I love coming back. There’s a great way of living, a great support network. I find it really supportive, I don’t think I would have stayed in Australia if I weren’t in Melbourne.


You’ve done some collaborations with designers such as Tailfeather and Warren Harrison, how has that influenced your style, how has it felt for designers to recognise your talent?

Yeah, working collaboratively is great. I didn’t go to art school, so it’s great to have designers and artists who make utilitarian products, so it keeps me going, because there’s also people that expand you as an artist technically, and push your expertise and foresight. It does push me and making compromises for your designs, its quite a learning experience, but it’s also great because I’m self-taught and those collaborations really keep me going.


Is there any specific designer you would be really keen on collaborating with?

There’s so many people’s work I admire, these shoes I’m stitching now are for a Gorman runway show, they’re just a one-off but collaborating with her would be amazing and seeing what she does. But it’s quite hard to start naming things; I’d like to work for Penguin, Colette and Opening Ceremony.


You and fellow Melbourne artist Ghostpatrol have done a few collaborations and shows together, how did you two first meet?

I guess him and I just liked a lot of each other’s work before we ever met. We met in Melbourne briefly at a show, then we kept in touch and he moved to Manchester and we’d do art trades back and forth, like wheat pastes or stickers and I’d put things up in Melbourne for him and he’d put them up in Manchester for me, then he came back to Melbourne and we just started sharing a studio and working together with loose collectives and projects.


Do you think living in Melbourne has helped you in many ways with being in such a creative city?

Yeah, definitely. I always feel like I’m here at the right time and the right place. It goes back to like I said before, it’s just so supportive and a great community of like-minded people. There are a lot of older artists who enjoy sharing work with good things to say. It’s not a competitive city, I don’t think I’d have the studios, or the job or the recognition that I have if I wasn’t in Melbourne.


You just had a solo show in Sydney, what was the response like differing from how a show in Melbourne goes?

Yeah, I really like Sydney. This is the second show I’ve had there, but I love it. I feel like it’s a much more commercial scene, and a lot older people there compared to Melbourne, much more expensive. But It attracts a different type of artist, with different mediums and interests. It’s quite distinct from Sydney in that way.


What’s your favourite place to visit in Melbourne?

I keep my head pretty low here in Melbourne, although I drink a fair bit at Cavallero, Yvon House, quiet places, Labour in Vein and Hells Kitchen.


Your homemade tattoos have been linked across sites like Tumblr and Twitter and have been quite famous. Do you have any passions to work on that more?

It’s a fine line, I’m pretty torn with the tattooing at the moment because, I don’t want to take it more seriously, outside of money. I think it’s really important, I’m not really comfortable tattooing strangers compromising my designs for people I don’t know. And keeping my tattoos for my friends for trades, it’s nice because I know what the person is about they know what I’m into, There’s a really implicit trust when you tattoo someone, I’m just not quite comfortable to bring people into my space and put something on them that’s there for life.

With sharing and posting my tattoos online it’s something so personal to me, it’s surprising how many of them are copied by other people it’s really uncomfortable and considered for one person. My friends and I can usually meet half way with the designs, money for tattooing implies a lot of compromise and people have the power to order your designs around a lot more which I’m not comfortable with. It’s something I’m not sure where it’s going but its increasingly becoming a big part of my art practice.


Why did you start tattooing?

I first started tattooing because I felt my work was really ephemeral, whether it was street art or installations it goes to someone. My work is also pretty unaffordable, it commands a certain price range that’s quite high, so tattooing just became a really fun hobby where I’d tattoo my friends and they’d be basically getting a piece of my artwork that’s on them for life and it’s really cool and special and also for them. It was something I’d do briefly at the end of the night but now it’s merging into my artwork.


Your pinprick drawings are pretty similar in the method for tattooing, without the ink; can you explain the process and similarities of those?

It is a similar technique in terms of hammering or piercing a surface with a needle, also disciplined and severe, but meditative. The tattooing is painful for the person getting the piece but the pinpricks are more painful for me. There’s a lot of parallels, tattooing which is pretty messy and chaotic, but the pin prick drawings are white, and clean, I can see them coming together slowly and it might be something that I use in the future.


Do you have any advice for artists who want to follow your steps and get recognised as you are?

I’d say my biggest piece of advice would be to let go of your ‘hours’ in terms of showing something and not destroying something because it took them so long, or it has so much detail, which might mean it has much more meaning because it of the hours invested in it which isn’t necessarily the case. I’ve been cautious about letting that go and not being precious about my time and my hours and efforts. And destroying my work even if it is something I don’t like, because it took me so long. I think that’s really important, and destroying work and just letting go. I haven’t kept anything I make and I think it’s been really helpful to me. There are some people who can finish something in a second that could be miles better than something someone else took five hours to do.


How did you start making money and actually put the title forward as an artist, was it always something you had been passionate about?

I started doing a lot of street art when I was around 14, I think I was at the right place at the right time doing that then, there was a lot of support and attention from it, so people were a lot more open and wanted to accept my pastings or submitting it to different places and publications as well and group shows. When I was 16 I started doing freelance jobs and graphic design, that’s where I started making money. Group shows turned into solo shows which turned into commercial shows then people flying you across Australia or the world to do some things, it’s a little ball that keeps rolling. Graphic design helped me a lot, and moved me into a studio when I was 18. Word of mouth and having a web presence really influenced my publicity as well.

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