#TBT, Babskie TV is asking me about...
A week ago I was searching in my files for something else and by accident I found an old interview I did for “Babskie TV”. I totally forgot about it, so I was very surprised about that discover and also how I answered the questions. I decided to add it to my blog as a #tbt and part of my personal growth, because I find it pretty cool, especially when I saw the original content and seen how my work and technique have changed since then.
How was Mia Mandela was born? What inspired you for your artistic pseudonym?
Hi, It’s has already been three years since I live outside my country. For some reason my real name- Agata is hard for some to pronounce. My Mom’ s maiden name was Mandla and I read somewhere if you have the same first letters of your first and last name (Pablo Picasso, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin…) you are going to be successful…so I gave it a try and here I am (or maybe rather my alter ego) Mia Mandela ;)
How long has art been your passion?
I know it sounds trivial, but from always, since I can remember. Even if I had tried to quit so many times (let’s face it, being an artist is a hard piece of bread) I can’t live without creation and art defines who I am and how I see life. That's what makes me happy and fulfilled, it’s my sense of being.
In your work you are using various techniques and tools, even cosmetics. Could you tell us a bit about it and also what technique you like the most?
I have sort of ADHD, which means I’m getting bored pretty fast;). Once, I am in love with oil painting, another time with watercolors, pencil or fine liners…I am switching it back and forth all the time.
About cosmetics? Well, I hate to throw them out and they were past expiration, so I used them as a "recycled” drawing tool;).
Currently my very favorite technique is watercolor and I am using my very old, Russian brand - "Yarka” I received as a present from my friend & dad (I highly recommend them). I also use ink now. I scan all my work and preparing it digitally for print.
In your childhood, did you use to "steal” your mom’s lipsticks and paint over and on the walls to express your artistic talents?
Not that I know of;). But I remember when my mom decided to paint for me a replica of Stanislaw Wyspianski work (Polish master 1869- 1907) . It was a girl with long hair, holding a flower in a pretty dress. It was in the 80’s, when it was hard to find any art tools. My Mom somehow organized a set of twelve oils from Czechoslovakia (in those days). My dad prepared the canvas. It was the all day process… When my mom left her masterpiece for a minute, I decided to move in on the action and help her (of course) . I painted the curtains and the big sun with rays in one corner…I was proud of myself, and my mom… well, the face impression she had when she saw it was priceless!
Until this day I remember the smell of those oil paints- adore!!!!
So you got your talents after your Mom? Is your dad an artist as well?
My mom is the most creative person I know. She designs, creates, she has perfect sense of color, aesthetic and imagination.
Currently she sewn and design the costumes for children's theatre and I could not be more amazed by how she invented all her ideas into reality- all worked out outstandingly.
My dad on the other hand, is obsessed with Geography and History…perhaps that’s the reason why I love history of art and traveling so much…
If you're an art and travel lover, can you tell us what country would you like to explore the most, what artist and from what period you admire the most? Who inspires you?
I wish to travel around the world, but especially I would like to explore South America and Mexico, because that’s Frida Kahlo nationality. I would like to see also India and Japan.
When it comes to art, I think you would die in here listening all I have to say about the art I love and why. I would take forever! I have no one in a particular period that I like the most. But if I have to choose, it would be Art Nouveau. One of my very favorite artists are: Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Alfons Mucha, Amadeo Modigliani, Norman Rockwell, Scalco and Frida Kahlo (of course). When it comes to Polish artists: Olga Boznańska, Bruno Schulz, Józef Mehoffer, Stanisław Wyspiański i Julian Fałat among others.
I have noticed that your very favorite topic is portraying women and most of them are women of success. Why is that?
I am illustrating women in general, not only the successful ones. The reason? I am crazy about faces. If you'll ever notice, I'll stare at you, it’s not because something is wrong with you, it’s because I already sketched your face in my mind…Faces I love the most are the faces with character and usually the owners of the faces like that have a passion and interesting past.
My long time fascination with Kahlo, Boznanski or Hulanicki for example , it's because all of them had/ have an interesting life. They are strong, determinate and beautiful inside out. They have their own opinions, talents and they are eccentric. They are brave and they accomplished a lot!
On top of it, I am illustrating women because I know how much they struggle with a lack of self confidence and complexes and I want to show them how amazing they really are and how I perceive them .
Do you see in yourself beauty? Did you ever painted your own portrait?
Frida Kahlo said: “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best. “
No, I don’t paint auto portraits, maybe that is, because I don’t know myself enough yet to get inspired with myself…
I know, I paint women I don’t know in person aswell, but maybe because of that it’s easier for me for interpretation- It’s better to paint over a “white canvas”, if you know what I mean.
Successful women you admire is…and why?
Lots of them come to my mind, but the most inspiring one for me is Barbara Hulanicki. She works and creates non stop and all she does is amazing. I admire her also because she accomplished so much staying modest, funny and an open human being. She is not pretentious, very natural which I find amazing! I simply adore her and I feel honoredand lucky that I had the opportunity to meet her in person and spend some time with her. She believes in me and my talent, which to me is like a dream come true and it’s the biggest complement and I could have ever received from my icon.
Couple photos I did for Barbara's visual content using her designs for Icon Club
The prints Barbara gave me the very first time when I meet her. She just simply said: go to that drawer and choose which one you like! the photo of Barbara and I was taken when I was interviewing her for Miami DNA magazine (online magazine I own two years ago).
How long does it takes to prepare one illustration?
It all depends from what technique I am using at the time and how much I am inspired by topic. When I'm in my artistic mood I can work with a couple pieces at the time and finish them relatively fast. I'm working like crazy, totally separated from the surroundings. Sometimes though I "suffer” working forever on one thing...usually because I have to work with somebody else vision that I don’t really feel. But I am a pro, so I'm handling it and treating it as a task. I love tasks and challenges.
What made you decide to print your work on the cotton totes? Will you transfer your work onto clothing or other accessories as well?
I believe in street art and all their aspects. I find it super, to be surrounded by art on every day basics, not only at the Museums once an a while. I’m still searching for the solution how to incorporate my work into every day life, having no feelings, that my work doesn’t go into a vacuum… I wish to cooperate with bigger companies and have ability to design and draw illustrations, accessories and with fabrics.
My biggest dream is…
Working in my field and making a life out of it, meeting amazing people I can learn from and getting inspired, also becoming a better person each day and giving it back to others.
What should I wish for you ?
Happiness, health and motivation to endless creation .