About A Girl:
Artist Grace Miceli is currently making waves on the web as everyone's favorite cybergirl. Inspired by pop culture and the internet, her witty drawings and paintings perfectly capture the hilarity of teen girl culture. —Hazel Cills
My name is Grace Miceli, I am a 23-year-old artist/gallery assistant/museum educator/shop girl living in Vermont. I recently graduated from Smith College and I also studied at Goldsmiths University in London.
When did you know you first wanted to be an artist?
Ever since I was young I've been encouraged to make art (my mom is an artist and my dad a musician) so it has always been a hobby. But when I started working for K8 Hardy in Brooklyn I learned so much from her and I gained the confidence to start taking my work seriously and to consider it a possible career.
What's the inspiration behind your work?
I think that I have a general desire to entertain, and right now I'm expressing that through art. I'm inspired by pop culture, my friends, the internet and my past.
How do you think the internet has affected your presence as an artist?
I feel in a way I grew up online, on Livejournal, in chatrooms, on AIM. The reality of the internet has a whole different set of social skills and ways of interacting with people that I really appreciate and I've always felt very comfortable and welcome online. I admire the malleability of identity on the internet as well the possibility of anonymity and the opportunity for connection. Also posting work online has allowed me to gain an audience and therefore sometimes a feeling of purpose for making some of the work that I do. I found out about a lot of the artists and theories and movements that I admire online. In a way I feel like the internet has allowed me to be an artist, I'm not really sure what I would be doing now without it.
You draw, write, paint, collage and make video art. What's your favorite medium to work in?
Probably drawing and painting, since I've really only been exploring those mediums since last January. It's nice for me to take a break from my laptop as well and not stare at the screen for hours on end in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro.
Your celebrity drawings are, in one word, brilliant. When/why did you start making those?
Thank you! Last January my friends Cody, Velvet and I had an exhibition at Smith under the guise of "a teen museum", so I started doing celebrity drawings for that show and ever since then I've been doing them in that same style and it's always really funny to see how they come out.
You also seem to channel a sort of teenage angst/moodiness in your work, which has attracted a primarily teen-girl fanbase. What do you think is so fascinating about teenage girls and teen culture?
It took being in my current post-adolescent phase to really appreciate the fact of being a teenage girl. I'm not sure if I am fascinated as much as I feel invested in teenage girls and their culture. I guess I'm dedicated to the idea of empowerment through creative means, so therefore I'm so happy to have the audience that I do.
What were your teenage years like?
Pretty close to Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate about You pre-falling in love with Heath Ledger. I was the editor of my high school's literary magazine and I had an affinity for writing poems about teen suicide, taking dramatic black and white photographs, and going to pop-punk shows in Boston every weekend.
Would you say your art has a feminist message?
I don't necessarily set out to make "feminist art" but feminism is an important aspect of my identity so I hope that messages of female agency, as well as a celebration of girl culture, are articulated through my work.
Have you ever shown your work to people who just don't get it at all?
Totally! I think it confuses a lot of people-because they have a certain understanding of what art is supposed to be in terms of technical skill or seriousness. But art is subjective and it would be silly to assume that everyone who sees my work is going to like it, or have the desire to engage with it beyond that initial viewing.
You have created a lot of zines and have written for many zines as well. Do you think zine culture will eventually die out because of the internet and blogs?
Well I think that the internet has allowed for a sort of resurgence of zine culture, at least within my online community. The internet allows for a huge audience and instead of trading zines at local shows now you can mail them all over the world. There is something to be said about the physicality of experiencing art or writing outside of the screen and in your own hands, and I think that zines and the internet have found a positive way to coexist.
Tell me a little bit about the Art Baby Gallery.
Art Baby Gallery is an online exhibition space that I launched in December to feature young internet-based artists. I'm looking to showcase artists whose focus or practice centers on an online existence and to hopefully allow for more focus than a reblogged photo on Tumblr. I'm also selling stickers of each artist's work to coincide with their month-long exhibition.
What are you doing when you're not making art?
I just started working with two amazing organizations, Vermont Works for Women and Burlington City Arts, so that keeps me busy. But I also like getting my nails done and reading graphic novels.
I read somewhere that you have a band?
Well for a while my friend Velvet and I were making noisy electronic music under the name "Decapicat," named for this one time I saw a cat head on the side of the road driving home from the mall. I started playing guitar when I was 13 and since then I've started numerous musical projects with my friends but I was always more interested in taking band photos, designing logos or posting our lyrics online than actually playing music. I'm not sure if I have the attention span or patience to be a musician.
What are your favorite things to do in Northampton, MA?
Hanging with friends, Kim and Thurston spottings, listening to WOZQ 91.9 FM
How would you describe your style?
Rihanna as a high school art teacher.
What's currently hanging on the walls of your bedroom?
Photographs of cats and palm trees, art made by my friends and mom, a Dr. Dre poster, my new 2012 Hello Kitty calendar, my marijuana American flag and a hat my friend Sam bought me in Chicago at a thrift store that says "Style" in red cursive.
What are your plans now that you've graduated from college?
Well, I graduated in May and I'm still trying to figure that out but I plan on moving to NYC in the spring and - fingers crossed - go back to school to get my MFA. My immediate plans include learning to play tennis and teaching my cat how to walk on a leash.
Do you have any super cool future projects we should look forward to?
Once winter is over I am going to start filming the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Workout Video." I've been going to the gym everyday to prepare (and watching lots of Buffy, duh).
What advice would you give to young female artists?
That it's so important to be confident in your work but also humble! If you don't believe in your work, no one else is going to. But you need to realize as a young artist there is so much to learn and that your work is probably going to change a lot and often. Also you can't get discouraged by criticism or intimidating attitudes in art school or from people in general. It's vital to talk with your friends and classmates and professors about your work, because while it's great to just make things I think it's also important to try and understand what you are doing. Also reach out to artists who you admire, get an internship with a female artist and get to know your creative peers wherever you live. It sounds cheesy but networking is super important!
Five Favorite movies?
- Clueless: One time I cried at the end of Clueless because I didn't want it to be over.
- Nowhere: Ever since I saw this film I've been obsessed, '90s teen apocalypse is the best film genre ever.
- Basquiat: Um, David Bowie as Andy Warhol! Basquiat is one of the better artist biopics and clearly made by an artist.
- Enter The Void: I didn't know what was going on around me for a few days after watching this, walking home from the screening my friends and I saw a car driving backwards on Main St. and a dog wearing a human sweater. I really appreciate the physical effects of this film.
- Smiley Face: Probably the most accurate stoner film. Gregg Araki can do no wrong.
Five favorite pieces of clothing?
- Cornflower blue fox fur coat: I feel like Lil' Kim when I wear this.
- Neon yellow Cambridge Satchel company bag: You can literally spot me from a mile away.
- Kork-Ease platforms: I really enjoy being 6ft+.
- Girl Gang Zine Tote Bag: Support your local girl gang!
- Everything in my closet that is neon or animal print.
Five favorite artists?
- Ryan Trecartin: Ryan's work articulates a post-gender queer utopia that is purposefully difficult to understand yet makes so much sense because of that. You can find most of his work online—although it's really fun to view his work installed in museums—the first time I saw it was in a re-created airplane at the New Museum.
- K8 Hardy: K8 started making music videos for bands like Le Tigre and now takes photographs that encourage the notion of self-portraiture as an inherently feminist act. She is also a performance artist and one of the most intelligent and talented women that I know.
- Guerilla Girls: In the '80s the Guerilla Girls were saying a lot of things that we still need to remind ourselves about today about the representation of women and racial inequality in the art world.
- Andy Warhol: It was hard for me to appreciate Andy at first because his images are so well-known. After reading his diaries I began to understand how important his influence is to my practice.
- Alex Bag: Alex Bag has had an undeniable influence over a lot of contemporary web-cam parody videos. She is hilarious and frighteningly accurate in her mockery of art school girls.
Five Favorite zines?
- Girls Get Busy: Beth Siveyer has published 10 issues of Girls Get Busy over this past year and I'm so proud to have been involved with her and the zine and its correlating events, I wish I hadn't left London right before it all began.
- Hyperlink 2 My Heart: This is Dream Beam's zine of her net art, I just think her work is so funny and kind of brilliant
- Dirt-Dirt is WOZQ 91.9 FM's zine: I was the editor my senior year at Smith and my favorite article I published was Marisa Meltzer's interview with Joe Coscarelli about their interest in music made by teenage girls. Also I love looking through past issues of Dirt, which include interviews with Nirvana and the Pixies from the '90s.
- Womanhouse: A Survey of Unconventional Women in Pop Culture-Molly Davy and the other ladies who edit Womanhouse also attend an all-women's college so I feel a natural sisterly bond, plus this zine was inspired by Roseanne, it's just awesome
- #ItsPinkFridayHoe: This Nicki Minaj inspired zine by Teen Witch features his totally rad design aesthetic and lots of Nicki eye candy
- Who was your first crush? Michael from Barney, I would go up and kiss the tv screen when he appeared
- First celebrity crush? Devon Sawa. Freddie Prinze Jr. was my first celebrity love.
- Girl crushes? Kat Dennings, Lena Dunham and Amy Sedaris. Funny girls are hot! I have a crush on all independent and creative women to be honest
- Internet crushes? I have so many! http://volt-ohm.blogspot.com/, http://ceedling.tumblr.com/, http://girlsandguns.tumblr.com/, http://karaj.tumblr.com/, http://stoopidjesse.tumblr.com/ and http://locasinlove.tumblr.com/ are some of my favs.
- Artist crushes? Hennesey Youngman/Jayson Musson ;)