INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MONICA ROJAS

INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MONICA ROJAS

I know your mother was an artist as well, how did she help shape your views and aesthetic?

When I was younger she would take me to the Art Institute of Chicago often and we would watch "Sister Wendy" together which was this PBS show about a nun who hung out in a lot of museums, my mom would also let me watch her work in her studio (she was a glass blower). The work we make is so aesthetically different but she was always encouraging me to create, and that was really awesome. 

How do you come up with the subjects for your illustrations? 

I spend a lot of time watching TV, eating snacks and surfing the internet simultaneously, and I think a lot of my inspiration comes from that. Like I will be watching Mob Wives on my TV and eating pizza and shopping for handcuffs online at the same time and then be like, this is funny, I'm going to draw this. 

Before you began focusing on your illustrations and paintings, how did your art take form? 

I studied photo and video in college. I'm not traditionally or technically skilled in painting or drawing, like I couldn't draw a realistic detailed portrait of something if my life depended on it, so I never felt comfortable exploring those mediums in an academic setting. During my junior year when I was at Goldsmiths in London I realized I didn't have the patience or attention to detail for making the kind of photos/videos that I wanted to make required, I just could never focus in on it enough, so I started making more conceptual work. I remember being 20 and living in London and I made these fake bedroom doors and covered them in photos of Josh Hartnett and Freddie Prinze Jr. and I was like "Oh, this is it..." 

How do you decide whether a VISION will be a painting or a drawing?

I think often it can come down to how much time or patience I have when I decide to make a piece. If I want to focus and work for a few hours I will paint but if I'm just itching to create something quickly and have to get ready for work or like do my makeup/hair and get ready to go out and meet my friends I'll whip up a drawing in like 20 minutes. 

When was the first time you felt success as an artist? How did it shape your future? 

I'm not sure I can say I've felt success yet, but when I started posting my drawings on tumblr and got attention from people like Tavi Gevinson & Molly Soda and all the other cool girls at night on the internet, I felt super encouraged and it made me want to keep doing it for sure. There have been times when I felt like I got too caught up with making work specifically based on what I thought my internet audience would like or reblog and that can get confusing but having my work find an audience online has been pretty necessary and is now an integral part of my practice.  

How do you project your feminist views in your work? 

It's not something I'm setting out to do, but I guess it's just product of when I, as a feminist, make work. I think it's shown more in how I go about putting my work out there, maybe aggressively, and demanding space. Also Art Baby is feminist in it's goal to showcase underepresented points of views and artists. There are so many talented practicing female artists who aren't getting the same attention and support and solo shows in NYC as their male counterparts and it's so frustrating and sad at this point for me to see that same boring bro art getting put on a literal pedestal again and again.  

DO YOU FIND YOURSELF FIGHTING ANY MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FEMALE ARTISTS?

For sure. There's the idea that everything I make is just for females or about being female, and I think that's really limiting and negates the fact that my work  can communicate to a non-female audience. But then again I guess I don't really value anyone's opinion who has already decided that about my work or the work of female artists in general. 

What led you to create "Art Baby Gallery" (a *VIRTUAL* gallery)? 

I wanted an easily accessible platform to showcase art that I wanted people to pay attention to, instead of using tumblr or Facebook which are both so overwhelmed with imagery. In my dreams I would open my own physical gallery space, but I'm not a trust fund kid, so that's not going to happen anytime soon. 

You've taken to printing your drawings onto clothes- LIKE cropped sweaters, have you always been interested in fashion? Or would you say ITS JUST ANOTHER CANVAS? 

In one of my middle school yearbooks I wrote that when I grew up I was going to be a fashion designer, but beyond that, no. I made a joke capsule collection my senior year in college called "Alien Grooves" that poked fun at fashion but the clothes fell apart the second I took them off. Right now they are my art via another medium, which is cool because it's more affordable & useful then like a $300 painting. 

Whats next for Grace and Art Baby Gallery? 

       

 

 

 

 

I'd love to make an IRL group exhibition happen sometime this year, so that's a project I'm working on. I'm also interested in more collaborations, similar to my Art Baby hats & beanies with Beanie Babes Clubs, 2 minds are better than 1, ya know? 

What is your most recent project and how was it made? 

Last week I made the "Drizzy Inflammatory Essays" text pieces, which are now also shirts. Drake and Jenny Holzer are two of my favorite artists and I wanted to make another Drake shirt (I have one of his as Jimmy from Degrassi in his wheelchair) that was more subtle. I had a few people look at the shirt who weren't so familiar with him and thought that his lyrics, which are the text on the shirt in the style of Jenny's work, were written by a female, and I liked that a lot. 

What is your next project and how are you currently planning on making it?

More Art Baby loungewear, like an all white sweatsuit, I'm going to start working on it next week. 

WHO IS ONE PERSON OR THING THAT HAS BEEN INSPIRING YOU LATELY (OR YOUR ALL TIME BIGGEST INSPIRATION) AND WHY? 

Ok I have to pick two. My two most recent inspirations have been Lola Bunny and Jessie Spano from Saved By the Bell. Lola was hot and better at basketball than the boys and got mad when you hit on her and Jessie was really bossy, had a super cute trophy boyfriend and huge hair, which is like, goals. 

What is your latest regret? 

Not buying hot Cheetos earlier at the deli because now I'm too lazy to put pants on and go downstairs. 

If you were a year, what year would you be? 

2015, it's been the cutest year for me so far

If you were a piece of advice, you'd be? 

"Everybody a thot for somebody".

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