Mia Christopher is a multi-disciplinary artist and student from San Francisco. Although we only recently discovered her work, we have quickly fallen in love with her expressive use of color and every single one of her mixed media pieces. You can check out some of her prints for sale on here, here and here. We asked Mia if we could learn a little bit more about her and her inspiration and she happily obliged!
1. When did you first identify yourself as an artist?
I’m still getting comfortable with saying I’m an Artist without feeling super self conscious. I’ve only been exhibiting work for about two and a half years, but I don’t think that is what makes someone an artist because you can be an artist without anyone ever seeing your own or thinking of you in that way! I am also going to school, so I am a student, as well as other roles. Artist means different things to different people. I think it is a very lucky thing to be able to be, and growing up I did not realize that being an artist was even in my realm of possibility.
2. Do you have a favorite piece of work you created during your childhood?
The thing that sticks out in my head is my bedroom door from ages 7-10. My parents were really generous with letting me be expressive, and they allowed me to cover my entire door with stickers. Now that I think about it, I may have just started sticking them on one day and they let me continue. I’ll have to ask them sometime. I collected tons of stickers, mostly Mrs. Grossman’s and Lisa Frank, and other free stickers family members would pick up for me from various shops and concerts and so forth, and stickers from the vending machine at the bowling alley. At first I would put them on office paper and staple them together to make books, but it was so much fun to be able to cover a huge space like my bedroom door. It was so satisfying and I remember kind of getting lost and making up stories while sticking stickers all over the door. Of course, once I turned 12 I felt too cool or angry for cute stickers and I painted over everything with thick, black paint. I wish I had a photo from before I painted over it. I still fight the urge to collect loads of tiny, decorative stickers and stick them all over things. I could see this playing into my work some time in the future.
3. Who/what are the biggest influences of your work?
Right now I am completely enamored of Monique Prieto’s paintings from the 1990’s. I love the work she is doing now with text as well, but those big shape paintings are really exciting to me. San Francisco artist Leah Rosenberg makes gorgeous paint confetti and stacks of acrylic paint peels that are so visually pleasing, I am very intrigued by her practice.
Other than artists I think the biggest influences of my work are probably just day to day occurrences and watching environments form and relationships shift and settle and change and my mood and the weather, both mundane and personal moments.
4. Many of your works are mixed media. What would you say is your favorite medium to work with?
I’m partial to working with acrylic gouache on paper, and drawing with colored pencils and graphite. I also like markers that are really bleedy and have been utilizing them a lot lately. I like playing with flat, opaque colors and transparencies in my surface and materials.
5. One of my favorite pieces from your latest collection is the one with the beautiful colors stacked on top of each other (above, right). What can you tell me about this piece?
Thank you! This piece is part of a series of stacked colors and shapes as objects that keeps coming up in my work and kind of represents the bare bones of what I always seem to be investigating; color, shape, relationship, space, and mark-making. I’m very excited by color as it’s own subject, and am interested in playing with balance and relationships within the frame of formal painting questions such as color, scale, shape, and so on. I like the idea of a color or a shape as an object or form that has a life of it’s own and how it relates to the surface and whatever else may be in it’s environment.
6. Do you have any future projects in the works? If not, what are you up to currently?
I’m currently working on my BFA show at California College of the Arts which is going to take place in March 2012, as well as an upcoming installation for a group show at Empire Seven Studios in San Jose in January of 2012. I have several different drawing and painting series’ that I am working on for these, as well as exploring some sculptural elements and working with some new materials. There may be more textiles work in these shows as I have just been learning how to silk screen and have been making felted sculptures.
7. Three things you never leave the house without?
pen, chapstick, keys
8. Favorite part about living in San Francisco?
The views, weather, hills, microclimates, delicious food, eucalyptus trees, the architecture, having new things to see all of the time- it is my favorite city! I love it here so much. I love being in a beautiful and interesting place, it has a plays a large role in my mood and motivation.
Thank you, Mia!
All image credits: Mia Christopher