As part of our latest Think Tank report on the young female art movement, Tumblr Feminism (subscribers can check it out in full here), our Associate Editor Sara Radin sat down with Insta-famous artist and curator Grace Miceli, also known as Art Baby Girl, to pick her brain about her online art gallery, her fashion collaborations and how she’s become a new kind of influencer.
Armed with coloured markers and a wry sense of humour, Grace draws clever riffs on commercial culture and she also curates the work of fellow young artists through exhibitions across the globe. Most recently, she co-curated an exhibition of twenty emerging artists at Mother London, and she also participated in a talk at the Tate about her DIY approach to exhibiting artwork. With over 50 thousand followers, Grace is disrupting the old school ways of the art world through her approachability, honesty and irony. This is definitely an ‘it girl’ to watch.
Hi Grace! Tell us a bit more about you. How did you get into art making and curating?
I’ve always made art and then in college I started identifying as an artist in a much more professional way. While I was studying at Goldsmiths in London I started curating simply because my friends and I wanted to show our work in a more public setting, from there I realised it was something I really enjoyed.
When did you adopt the name “Art Baby Girl”? What does the tag represent?
Art Baby Gallery came first, I really can’t remember exactly when I came up with “Art Baby” but it’s a reference to youth as well as a reclamation of the term as it’s often used against women in a demeaning way.
You seem to use a lot of satire in your art as a way to play on commercial culture, what inspires you to create it?
I think that humour can be a great access point for people, it’s a way to be critical without immediately pushing people away. I think this current series could be considered a joke as I want to make my audience laugh and a little more aware of their reality.
We’re obsessed with Art Baby Girl clothing, especially your collaboration with Print All Over Me. How did it all come about and where can we find your products?
Making clothing for me is about accessibility, someone can own my art, in tote bag form, for $20. I’ve also found that wearable art is an amazing way for my work to travel places, I love it when friends across the country are like “whoa I saw someone wearing your shirt today.” I’m selling it mostly just online for now at shop.gracemiceli.com
but I am carried in a few shops, Junior High
in Hollywood & Sex + Ice Cream
in Kansas City, MO.
What plans do you have to grow your artwork and collaborations moving forward?
I always try to evolve my work and I would be bored if I didn’t continue to try new things. I want to create an animated series, and do more immersive installations, and beginning to work more IRL is an important goal for me.
It’s an online exhibition space that was created because I wanted a place to feature my friends and peers art that wasn’t going to be lost on an already existing platform. The artists are a combination of people I find and reach out to plus young artists who want to be a part of the project. I had a show opening in London recently that was all London-based artists and then I’m going to be working in Taipei later in this summer on a further developed version of last summer’s exhibit Girls At Night On The Internet. I think it’s important for me to be working outside of NYC, which can be a very insular world when it comes to art.
Are the Art Baby Gallery artists only female? What has your experience been like collaborating with other young female artists and curating their artwork?
No, I’ve curated men online as well as in recent IRL exhibitions. I never purposely exclude male identified artists from projects that I’m working on, but my creative community is made up of mostly women, they’re the creators that I find myself most drawn to. For me it has always been a really positive experience working with women, I cannot say the same for most men that I’ve worked with.
Female artists were largely left out of art history until the 1960s and they’re still struggling to get the same recognition as their male counterparts today. What’s it like being a young female in the art world today?
I studied art in a predominantly female environment but I also studied Art History and it was frustrating to realize that we really didn’t learn about female artists in the same way, there just isn’t as much academic text about them, or it’s separatist, like strictly about female artists rather than them being peers to men. I’m definitely upset that it still seems to be the case, my work is almost always in reference to me as a woman, even though most of my work doesn’t directly deal with gender.
You’re part of a growing movement of young female artists that Dazed Magazine has called Tumblr Feminism. What’s it like being part of this community?
Most of the other artists in this community are friends and collaborators now, after having formed relationships online during the past 5-7 years. It’s great to have people who support and share your work, I think that being part of a movement, however small, helps to build confidence in what you are doing, because you’re not alone.
You’ve garnered a huge following on social media. How has it influenced your artwork and the way you get it out into the world?
Social media has been a hugely important platform for me. It has definitely encouraged me to continue to share my work and process online. I obviously take into consideration that most of the work I’m making will solely exist online, specifically Instagram, but I don’t see that as a negative thing.
Like this? Follow Grace Miceli on Instagram here to find out more about her brand.
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