City Kitty Collab: A Sit Down with Miishab
In the world of street art, Miishab’s work is truly unique. It stood out the first time I encountered one of her hand painted wheat pastes on the street. I’ve always struggled with making a truly abstract piece, so Miishab’s worlds of botanical shapes and nebulas threw me for a loop. I was lucky enough to paint with her and Lungbox at Steve Stoppert’s wall on Second Avenue back in 2015.
Miishab’s artistic approach makes her a bit of a wild card. When you work with a character based artist you can usually see their concept begin to take shape, but Miishab’s thought process is very fluid. The way she works is done with such confidence and dynamic motions, which is a part of what I love about her work.
Miishab: I’m not sure what you want to work on, but I brought some paper that I have been dying that would’ve fun to draw into. City Kitty: sure. It’s a little big. Do you want to work on the ground so we can both work on it at the same time? M: Sure thing. I will start outlining some shapes in here if you want to start on the other side.
CK: So what have you been up to? I feel like we haven’t spoken much since you moved to Brooklyn. How’s NYC treating you? M: It’s been great, I love it, and my cats do too! It’s nice to be able to meet up with people and invite them over without having to convince someone to come to NJ. I also quit the craft store were I was working, and I started painting murals commercially. CK: I was wondering about that. I saw you posted a picture of a mural you were working on in Philly and it looked very different then the work I recognize as your own. M: Everything changes when you are working for a client. They wanted a piece with mountains, a wolf and a juniper. I wanted to make it more “trippy”, but it’s still a lot of fun. CK: I understand. For about seven years I created concert posters for national touring bands. It was difficult from time to time dealing with clients, but over all it was great experience. It kept me actively putting work on the street and working on my chops. M: Yeah there’s a lot of advantages to this new gig. It gives me more time to work on my own work. I’m also learning many new skills - like how to properly use a paint roller. On the days that I’m working, at least I’m still painting and using my hands. CK: When I first moved to NYC I worked construction and it opened me up to a lot of new materials and techniques. We would renovate an apartment and I would take different discarded objects like crown molding and build it into a piece. M: It’s nice to have time to work on my own art while these new ideas and techniques are fresh in my mind. Lately, I’ve been working on a lot of collages and experimenting with new materials. I’ve been cutting up pieces that I make and I’m starting to add in other materials like Mylar. I’ve also been soaking paper and spray painting the puddles and letting them separate and dry into fluid abstract forms. CK: That’s interesting. I don’t really know any other street artists that are making abstract work. M: I know some psychedelic artists who use to put abstract work on the street. Artists like Erika Horwitz who put work up on the street in the 90s. CK: It’s still a rare thing to see. Most street artists are trying to create a logo of sorts by creating a recognizable character. Its very refreshing to see your work. It shows that you’re doing it because you love it. M: Well it started with flowers and these lines that I draw going around it. So it was in its own way a character or more like a theme. Over time the flowers became abstract especially when I started painting more of the nebulas that I have been painting the past few years.
M: Oooh, I really like that bloody hand. Maybe you can draw a bunch of bloody hands all over. I like how it’s mixing with the colors. Also, as I start to drawing these lines and shapes it will look like it’s cutting the fingers.
CK: I’ve noticed you’ve been doing a lot more marker tags recently; it’s a very different direction for most street artists to take.
M: It’s in the same vein. it’s still about getting up and getting your name out there.
CK: I’ve never really been into it, but I appreciate the craft. I’ve always had horrible penmanship and being a lefty can be problematic when writing.
M: It’s just like drawing. I practice my letters so there’s consistency. For instance all my M’s are upper case. I’ve also been reading a graffiti book on lettering and been really nerding out on it. To try to hear and see how other artists are working, I’ve been reading a lot of art magazines as well.
CK: I use to do a lot more of that. I went to school for painting and when I first moved to NYC I lived with a bunch of artists.We use to do a lot of studio visits and kept up with a lot of art publications. It’s great to see how other artists work. It’s something that really changed as I got into street art because everyone is so secretive. What I always admired was your click with Jcorp, Hiss and Imamaker. You were always making work together and going out wheat pasting as a group.I was envious of that comraderie. M: That’s why it’s fun to go out with other street artists and see how they work. CK: Yeah, I’ve had a few strange experiences that turned me off going out with other people. I remember the first time I went out pasting with Balu, he freaked me out because he was taking so long trying to message out all the wrinkles. It wasn’t till we worked together in Barcelona that it made a lot more sense. It’s more laid back there and you have less to worry about.
M: See Balu is a good example. When I went out pasting with Balu, I noticed that he puts his paste on the back of the piece rather than just the wall. I tried that approach, but my pieces are too thin and fall apart. Even though it didn’t work for me, I learned a new technique and got to speak to him about his art. CK: That was one reason I started this project, to start connecting with other street artists who’s work I appreciate and really begin to understand how they work and why they do it. I appreciate you sitting down with me and working on a piece. It’s always good to get pulled out of your comfort zone. Your work always makes me think.
M: So what do you want to do with this piece? Do you want to cut it out into a shape? Do you think it’s too thick to wheat paste?
CK: It’s thick paper, but I can make it work. I’m headed down to Miami in January. How about I bring it with me and find a place down there to put it up?
M: That sounds great - I think the colors are very Miami!
CK: Well, I appreciate you taking the time to sit down and do a piece with me. I will keep you posted on as I find a spot for it.
Keep up with Miishab’s adventures on instagram by following her handle @miishab