If you’re in Melbourne, no doubt you will have the seen the incredible work of street artist Miso. If not on the streets and laneways of the CBD, you might have seen her work in local galleries (including Armadale’s well-respected Metro 5 gallery last year), various press and web coverage, or beautifully documented in an ABC documentary late last year….(You must check it out!)

Miso’s work is unmistakeable and utterly unique. Her style is hard to pin down… it’s illustrative and detailed, it often depicts women from various walks of life… it spans drawing, illustration, paste-up street art and collage. Miso’s inspiration is varied, from Art Nouveau and the Russian Constructivists to contemporary street artists much like herself. I love her recent symmetrical figures framing doorways – those intricate patterns and cut outs…. truly stunning.

I was also EXTREMELY impressed to discover that Miso just turned 21. Yes! Agghh. What a bright future this prolific young artist has!

Miso shares a studio with her partner, street artist / illustrator Ghostpatrol. (I think their studio is in that awesome Harry-Potter style building on the corner of Elizabeth st and Little Collins in the city!?). Ghostpatrol is equally an incredibly talented artist, with a very different style… stay tuned for an interview with him next week!

Huge thanks to Miso for her time with this interview, and all the fantastic images :) I will keep you all posted on any upcoming Miso news…! Like her exhibition this December… and that book she’s been collborating on, due out next year! Wowsers. Over achiever-alert (again).

Miso in action in her studio

Tell me a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?

I’ve always drawn, kept sketchbooks. When I began noticing street art in Melbourne in 2003, I would have been 14. It was great, being exposed to so much new and different art, always drawing and trying new things, starting to do shows, organising little projects. After a few years, it sort of unravelled into bigger opportunities, large-scale shows, books, big projects. I’m still not sure how that happened.

How would you describe your artwork?

I try not to. It’s more interesting to hear what other people see in it.

How did you meet Ghostpatrol and begin working together? How do you support and influence each other creatively? How much of your work is done in collaboration, and how much is independent?

I guess we’ve always been fans of each other’s work, before we ever met. Doing trades, little collaborations, keeping in touch via email. By the time he moved to Melbourne, we began sharing a studio, and started working together pretty intensively from there.
But lately, we’re trying to concentrate on doing our own work. We still like to draw together, plan shows – but maybe that’s just too easy, to have someone finish your work when you’re stuck on it. I think it’s important to put a bit more pressure on yourself that way. But it’s really great having each other around in the studio, and living together, because we know each other’s work so well, and can give each other advice and criticism that’s pretty honest and really helpful.

Miso and Ghostpatrol – love this shot!

What have been some of your favourite artworks, special projects or collaborations?

It’s always hard to talk about ‘favourite work’ because it’s usually the last thing I did. Lately, I’ve really liked the drawings that I’ve been pasting symmetrically around doors. I became really obsessed with the Russian Constructivists for a while, with the idea of creating art that’s embedded in everyday life and errands. The way a transformed doorway might make a relatively banal task, like walking through a door, seem suddenly a bit more of an event, something that makes a connection, creates a private moment in a public space. I really like that idea.

Where do you turn for inspiration – nature, travel, books, magazines or the web etc?

A lot comes from drawing and photographing friends, strangers in the street, reading, music, everything really. I’ve been looking at lots of old Eastern European folk stories and songs, Greek mythology and Russian literature, which has really inspired a lot of work in the last while.

Which designers, artists or creative people do you admire?

Besides the Russian Constructivists, I’ve become really taken with the Vienna Secession. Artists like Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser. But also people like Armsrock, Swoon, Elbow Toe, doing similar street work, and photographers like Ryan McGinley and Donald Weber. They have this way of documenting what’s around them that’s really unique, it’s just great.

What is your ‘day-job’? How does your day-job correspond with and complement the artwork you do in your own time?

No day job, I just get to draw all day in the studio. But I’m finishing a degree in philosophy right now, so that can really detract from having enough time for drawing and finishing projects, but I found that it helps work too, so I can’t complain too much.

What would be your dream creative project?

Making buildings.

What are you looking forward to?

I’ve been working on a solo show for December for a while now, and I think I’m just looking forward to installing it more than anything else. Seeing it up, it’ll be great. I’m also writing a book with some other people that will be launched in April. I can’t wait to see it finished. And maybe a vacation, one of these days.

Melbourne Questions

Where do you shop for the tools of your trade?

Melbourne Artists’ Supplies.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

Peko Peko on Smith Street.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

In the studio. Maybe at the pool.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

Hell’s Kitchen, maybe? Or maybe it’s not so secret.