It was a warm humid afternoon. I was glad I was in the cool respite of an air-conditioned hotel lobby lounge. Seated comfortably in the armchair opposite me was she. Jet black curly hair cascading onto her shoulders, sunglasses perched atop, sexy red dress with ruffles. I was here to interview Miss-Tic, French stencil street artist, who is currently in Singapore for her exhibition, Parisienne, part of the VOILAH! French Festival Singapore. Miss-Tic's work is known throughout Paris, and exhibited all around the world. In her earlier days, she had to play hide and seek with the police. She kept her identity a secret then, letting only her stencil art which popped up here and there in the streets to speak for themselves. In between smiles, laughter and ponderings, Miss-Tic had a little chat with Cookie Cutter. I picked her brains on taking a path less trodden:
CC: You were a poet, a newspaper critic, and a street theater performer. Why did you turn to street stencil art?
MT: Even when I was in those other jobs, it always involved the more alternative in those fields eg. underground magazines. I had already started going by the stage name, “Miss-Tic” then. I went to the States in the late 70s and got acquainted with the Hip Hop and graffiti movement. I took my new found love with me when I returned to France in 1983.
CC: And the rest as they say is history.
CC: Did you always have a talent in drawing? Were you self taught?
MT: I was always doodling even when I was a kid. I took some classes here and there. It was the same with writing, I’ve always loved it even as a young child.
CC: Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
MT: We can’t always expect ideas to just magically pop up in our heads. I think creative work calls for a lot of hard work as well. I look for inspiration in my everyday life-- movies, music etc.
CC: Is there a message that you want to convey through your work?
MT: (in English) Freedom, love, eroticism. These are good energy!
CC: Was it difficult doing something unconventional and even having to hide from the police especially in your earlier days?
MT: Well, stencil street art was like a natural choice for me. And when you’re young, you’re rebellious, full of energy. I had lots of pent-up emotions, feelings and thoughts I wanted conveyed.
CC: What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a creative dream instead of mainstream occupations, especially in a conservative society like Singapore?
MT: Work around the system. There would be “loop holes” which you can leverage on. Find like-minded people for support. Then add lots of determination to the recipe!
CC: This is your first time in Singapore. What’s your impression so far?
MT: I’m finding it interesting, many ethnic groups living together. I love the food. Yes, even the spicy food! Not so much a fan of the humidity though.
I enjoyed the interview and walked away feeling inspired. It was wonderful to meet someone who fiercely lives the life she wants, regardless of what society dictates. I see in Miss-Tic someone who’s so comfortable in being herself. And because of all these, she is happy. Isn’t that what we’re all after? Happiness.
If you are in Singapore, Miss-Tic’s exhibition, Parisienne, is on at the Ion Art Gallery from 1 - 16 May, 10am - 10pm, admission is free. Check out http://voilah.org.sg for more information.
*Special thanks to Nabs for this.