[Art Stuff] Artist Interview – Miss Riz
Miss Riz is an Aussie artist living in Brunswick, Melbourne and will be painting live at the next Sketch City this Saturday 13 March. We had a chat to her to find out how she works, what’s it like live painting in front of a crowd and why there are more guy street artists than girls out there?
How would you describe your work to someone that hasn’t seen it before?
Playful, very friendly and colourful. At the moment I’m really inspired by Brazilian and South American artists and their use of black & white against colour. I really like the simplicity of it – It’s a challenge to keep features articulated without using tones.
Are your characters an inward self reflection, a mini Miss Riz?
I don’t consider any of them to be a mini Miss Riz but I’d like to think that the innocence they capture reflect and innocence in all of us. They’re fun.
We love your patterned backgrounds and characters? You usually work with spray cans and stencils, yeah? Describe the process in finding your style.
I think in a weird way it’s a combination of my textile background along with loving & being inspired by the street art style. My work at the moment is a collaboration of all those little experiments I’ve been doing over the years. I always gravitated towards retro patterned fabrics with my sewing, and using aerosol and stencils is a skill I’ve developed with the help, and inspiration, of the artisits I’ve met and spent time with in the last few years.
So are you excited / nervous about painting at Sketch City? Any planning in the lead-up or do you wait and see what comes out on the day?
I thought I would be less nervous because I did it [live painting] last December, but im still pretty nervous. There is definitely planning, I’m cutting out stencils at the moment. I just hope that people respond as well to the use mixed media as they did last year.
This feels like a bit of a loaded question, but why do you reckon there are more male rather than female street artists? Any words of advice for chicks wanting to hit the streets?
It’s just a male dominated area of art, being that it can often be territorial and dangerous, and I think a lot of girls are intimidated that they won’t have the skills to play with the ‘big boys’. I think that the crews that dominate the scene have skills that are highly intimidating. I still get intimated when I’m live painting, but I’ve learnt to just get out there and do what I do, without making comparisons. I also think that’s why it’s great that there’s all this mixed media thing going on, because it is different it’s fun and more accessible. You don’t need to have these insane can skills to go out and do work in public.
Words of advice – stop being a big girls blouse and man up.
What do you most enjoy about being an artist? Especially living in Melbourne?
Oooh, I just really love the art community –you can be inspired by so many people– everyone has their own little thing going on. It’s like a little family and there’s usually always someone floating around with a bit of acetate or a black spray can that you can borrow!
Did you kick it art in school? After High School did you pursue your art or try your hand at other stuff?
Yeah I did really well in HS art, but our school really didn’t put much attention or money behind the arts program, so although I kicked it at HS I was totally over my head when I went and studied fine art at uni, everybody else was far more advanced, so I typically became disheartened and dropped out.
Have you ever been slapped down / discouraged for pursuing your art?
Definitely, heaps I think university was the worst for that. And obviously I get mixed responses to what im doing now but it really doesn’t phase me.
Inspirations? What makes you tick?
Kids drawings, I love the simplicity of their forms. South American street art. The playfulness and use of really beautiful colours of Oz Gameos, Speto, & K-Boco, highgraff. Patterns on old ladies wallets makes me tick. I consider myself a pretty lucky person with all the amazing artists in my life, from fine artists to street artists to musicians to cooks (props out to mum).
You have worked in collaboration on quiet a few murals, do you feel more creative in groups or by yourself?
I feel more inspired when I collaborate - it makes me push myself more. I’ve only ever worked with people that I really admire so I love the motivation to lift my game when I see the crazy stuff they’re pulling off.
I hear you’ve been selling quiet a few painting lately, without making you play a trumpet solo – why do you think your street-art styled work has such a broad appeal?
Maybe because it’s friendly and it’s playful. I think it’s really enjoyable, and aesthetically I think the palettes and the pattern work and the repetition is something that appeals to a broad range of people. Or maybe I’m a good sales woman?
Are there any works that you’re particularly proud of?
Umm, what I’m working on at the moment for my exhibition at the end of the year. I think it’s going to be really hard to sell them because I’m developing strong feelings towards them – more than anything I’ve ever done it really captures my personality.
How many hours a week do you spend painting? Fodder to fuel your work
Probably 20 - 25. Cigarettes and coffee, definitely. And soya crips from Safeway. Fizzy.
What’s your work space like?
Clean now. But earlier very messier. With lots of empty cans of fizzy.
You’re so neat – were you one of those kids that never went out of the lines in colouring in book?
Yeah I was very much a bit of a neat freak. But the only thing that is neat at the end of my work is the painting. My brain and the space are pretty messy by the end of it.
What’s your most fun childhood memory?
I know it shouldn’t be funny but my brother falling off his bunk bed and breaking his nose and finger in one go because he was picking his nose as he fell.
Oh and blowing bubbles backwards through a straw for the 1st time, blowing bubbles into a glass of fizz – amazing!
Any sayings that have stuck with you over the years?
Shhhhh. [laughs] …it stuck!
View Mis Riz in this video painting: