Travelette of the month: Miso
Miso. No longer will this name evoke images of the healthy Japanese soya bean and seaweed broth. Instead, “Miso” will flower the images of incredible street art, homemade tattoos and amazing maps needle-pricked from memory. Sounds like a pretty epic transition, but once you have trawled this post for all the breath-taking and exquisite images of Miso’s work, you’ll understand why the art prevails over the soup.
Miso, also known as Stanislava Pinchuk, is currently enjoying life in Melbourne, Australia, where her street art adorns the laneways and alleyways of the city. Her career has flourished over the years and has culminated in her becoming the youngest artist in the Australian National Collection after The National Gallery of Australia accumulated a few pieces of her latest collection… did I mention that she’s only 25 years old? Wow.
So lets start from the beginning: Take it back to her roots, follow her zigzagged journeys around the globe and how this traveling lifestyle has influenced her art, then I’ll end with a plea to get one of her unique and personal homemade tattoos. A plea which should be accompanied with a photo of me on my knees, begging.
Miso was born in the Ukraine and grew up on the edge of farmland which was an ever flowing stream of inspiration for her. The history, the language, the folk art and the architecture channelled her into an artistic future, plus her love of stencilling from a young age set her on the path to success. She moved to Australia where she embarked on a Philosophy degree and took her art to the streets. If you’ve ever been to Melbourne and spotted the great street art, there’s a high chance that you’ve spied Miso’s work; whether it’s been epic and intricate stencils, or small images of her and her man in fox masks. Street art has always fascinated Miso as the relationship between artist and audience is severed; only a small percentage of the public will see her work and this sense of mystery intrigues her to continue. Her work is integral to the street art world of Melbourne and it merges with the urban landscape, deteriorating organically as the environment impacts on her mark.
Outside of street art, Miso uses many mediums in her work, for example, polaroids, tattooing, wall paintings, installations, and predominantly paper work. A vast majority of her pieces usually involve drawing, cutting, pin-pricking card and stencilling.
Miso also has a hobby of tattooing. She’ll only tattoo friends or friends of friends and would sit up drinking and drawing late into the night with them to create something personal and unique. No monetary payment is made, only a trade of some kind, for example, they’ll teach her a skill in return, cook a dinner, or give her a bottle of delicious whiskey. Miso loves tattoos and how they change and age. Their context changes in different cities or with different clothes, they’re both transitional and permanent!
Her most recent exhibition in Melbourne was entitled “Everywhere I Have Ever Been” and was the incredible work that attracted the attention of The National Gallery. This collection of work was made up of pieces that reflect her personal experience of her travels over the past few years, in cities that she classes as ‘home’, all of which were pin-pricked into paper. Inspired by indigenous artist Dorothy Napangardi, Miso’s work maps stories and memories of the lands that she’s travelled through. Without using maps or photographs, she documented her memories of cities into drawings that are weaved with objects and personal belongings. They were all created from memory and from travel diaries. Memory is full of gaps and exaggerations, making it confusing and harder to trust, however in turn, these qualities make it both fascinating and mysterious.
These maps have traced her favourite walks through a park, particular routes in a city, and journeys to a friend’s house, which captivate the notion of walking towards the people she loves.
What inspired you to begin this collection?
Miso: I think it was just a long time between places, and never being home. There wasn’t a particular trip, but just years of working in different cities then finally moving to my own studio in Melbourne, and realising that I really owned… nothing!
So it was just a need to make those memories into something physical, to show something for all the experience. Turning the ephemeral into something physical that surrounded me, and then giving it all up again and letting it sell.
Were there certain places that you felt had to be mapped?
Miso: There were actually no certain places – I traced every single place, every street and memory. I didn’t mark certain friends houses… but every single friends’ house I could remember going to! It actually condensed every single experience in my memory. Maybe it’s not as accurate as it really was… but that’s the nice thing about memory.
What caused you to begin home tattooing?
Miso: I think being around other tattooists and being a really technical person! I was working with paper cutting so had a really steady hand and an attention to detail. It’s such an intimate way to think about art and the people around you. And obviously it’s incredibly difficult… and the responsibility of making something permanent on another person makes it an incredible feeling. The tension is so unique – it makes you really think about what you’re doing.
It’s really terrifying, but it’s so good to be terrified.
Travel heavily influences your work and your life. Apparently your bad habit is spontaneously booking a flight one night and taking off without telling anyone. What destinations cause you to book these last minute trips?
Miso: Booking spontaneous trips is a bit of a habit of mine, but then I work out projects, shows and clients around it. Usually, it’s Tokyo. I don’t even know how many times I’ve been there. I’ve already done it twice this year. It’s a second home.
What kind of traveller are you?
Miso: I’m the most minimal traveller. I don’t take more than a small bag with me wherever I go, always carry-on (luggage). What I pack are usually a pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, a leather jacket, a dress, a polaroid camera, a journal, a book, my tattooing gear, a toothbrush.
Where would you call home?
Miso: It’s a hard one! Right now, Melbourne. I’ve had an apartment there for a long time and my studio is there now. Actually, I think by now I know Tokyo as a City better than Melbourne. I spend so much time there each year with a regular place, a bike and so many friends. Melbourne’s where I just knuckle down in my studio… and ride a bike in a narrow path between my place and the studio!
Home is also Kharkov, Ukraine, where I was born and raised. A beautiful city, but also a tough place to be from. I’m really overdue a visit since my grandmother died…
Where would you love to visit, but have yet to reach it?
Miso: Ahhh… definitely to Morocco. I’m obsessed with Berber women’s tattooing. I’ve read so much about it and I really need to go! There are also some NASA large telescope projects I would love to see in the middle of the Colorado Desert.
Where’s next on your travels?
Miso: I signed a lease for a studio in Melbourne in October… so I’m actually going to be here for a few months with a few projects and finishing a solo show. Then back to Paris and New York for work, to Berlin, maybe Reykjavik and Kharkov for some important visits. Then Tokyo for a three-month residency.
And finally, what’re you currently working on?
Miso: I’m knuckling down on a solo exhibition in June with Hugo Michell, plus designing ahomeware collaboration for Gorman (Australian clothing brand). There’ll be lots of tattooing in between and a few self-published zine projects.
An incredibly talented individual with a flair for bringing streets to life with her images, channelling travel memories into artworks and creating personalised home tattoos that loved ones will cherish forever. What a girl.
O yes, and please tattoo me.
image 1 via theopeninghours.com.au, image 2 via studiohomeonline.com, image 3 via unruth.com, image 4 melbourneartcritic.wordpress.com, image 5 via deansunshine.com, image 6 via flickr.com , image 7 via brooklynstreetart.com, image 8 via studiohomeonline.com, image 7 tattoo-spo.tumblr.com.jpg, image 8 via studiohomeonline.com, image 9 via tattoo-spo.tumblr.com.jpg, image 10 via studiohomeonline.com, image 11 via minimalissimo.com, image 12 via minimalissimo.com, image 13 via estmagazine.com.au, image 14 via estmagazine.com.au, image 15 via estmagazine.com.au, image 16 via theopeninghours.com.au, image 17 via m-i-s-o.com