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Revealing the Playful and Provocative: Interview with London-Based Artist, Mia Wilkinson


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Portrait of Mia Wilkinson surrounded by her paintings. Photo by Louise Yeowart.

Step into the vibrant and thought-provoking world of Mia Wilkinson (b. 1992, UK), a London-based artist whose work embodies a fusion of ribald narratives, British experiences, and a touch of grotesque humor. This exclusive interview delves into her creative mind as she shares her journey, inspirations, and the captivating themes she explores through her intuitive paintings.


Mia's art practice revolves around the visceral exploration of sexualized female forms through her skilled use of vibrant colors and impasto techniques on paint-drenched canvases. Drawing inspiration from diverse sources, Mia's work possesses an unapologetic intensity that sets her apart. Prepare to witness the metamorphosis of women into animals and animals into women as Mia confronts societal issues with a unique blend of humor and symbolism, pushing the boundaries of conventional perceptions and notions of femininity.


With a degree from Wimbledon College of Art UAL and a string of exhibitions across the UK, Mia is swiftly carving her space within the vibrant London art scene. I'm here to tell you that now is the time to discover her artistry as she paves the way for an extraordinary career that lies ahead.


Join me in my conversation with the artist as we explore her inspirations, creative process, and the powerful messages embedded within her visually striking paintings.


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background as an artist.


I was born and bred in the North East of England (County Durham). I've always been drawing since my earliest memories. My grandma and grandad were always doodling funny things to keep me occupied, and we all sort of had a feel for painting and drawing. I grew up working class, so I was really the only one to pursue art as a career. I uphold a strong work ethic in general, and it has definitely crossed over into the discipline and dedication I give to my practice. It is inherent and natural to me to keep working and evolving. I live by the funny note I once saw by a screenwriter I shared a studio with: "IT CAN BE SHIT, BUT IT MUST EXIST," and it just really made me chuckle and enlightened me on what it means to be courageous in exploring and doing, do not get into your own head about whether it is good or bad.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Credit: Mia Wilkinson

What initially inspired you to pursue a career in art?


Firstly it is a hard career to pursue with lots of challenges behind the scenes, other than just being an artist. Still, ultimately it brings incredible satisfaction, joy, purpose, and energy. It is addictive and keeps you motivated, humbled, and excited. It is so part of my identity that I would still be creating and exploring even if no one saw my pieces. On the surface level, meeting different artists, collectors, and people, in general is incredible. Art is so open to everyone; people have opinions, and dialogues can be made, connecting you to those you might never have met. You discover a lot about yourself and the work from these interactions.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Credit: Mia Wilkinson

How would you describe your artistic style and the themes you explore in your work?


My painting is intuition-led, with several tangled threads woven throughout, but two major themes are ribald and Rabelaisian narratives from a female and British experience. It is sort of grotesque, humorous, and bawdy visual language, which I believe is primarily informed by being from the North East, where there prevails a culture of addressing serious issues from the security of light-hearted humor. It sounds cliched, but it's like laughing in the face of danger. I think being brought up with complex but strong matriarchs has informed the work. Also, beneath the bright colors and impasto paint, I'm interested in discussing women's unpaid labor within Neo-Liberalism. This is where the interchangeable characters are key. I like swapping women for animals and vice versa to discuss these issues and the notion of women or animals as "livestock." There is also a huge play on words that originate from UK slang when referring to women ("Bird" is the most common term for a woman, usually younger or a girlfriend, for example), and I'm exploring these things I've heard spoken about my gender, in a more literal sense.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Credit: Mia Wilkinson

Can you walk us through your creative process from ideation to completion?


I usually draw very quickly in sketchbooks that are small, furious scribbles, which I like to experiment with patterns, lines, and composition. The rest of the time, I'm constantly thinking about wordplay and cultural or pop references I pick up in my day-to-day life. I'm a keen, almost obsessive observer of people. I take a lot in from people and the psychology of their societal roles.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Credit: Mia Wilkinson

How has your style changed over time?


I think I have become less worried about making thick, painterly mistakes and instead encourage a messy accident, letting my unconscious hand and mind lead me with the marks and enjoying the process. Paint is so visceral and fleshy I am embracing how I can draw in the paint as well as relish in the painterly marks left on the canvas.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Credit: Mia Wilkinson

Have any particular artists or art movements influenced your work?


I'm a fan of so many, but the few to name that I have looked at with great joy are; Marlene Dumas, Chantal Joffe, Paula Rego, Tala Madani, Soutine, Ruben, Picasso, Mika Rottenberg, and really there are so much more I can list off.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Credit: Mia Wilkinson

What do you find most fulfilling about being an artist?


The freedom to get out of the real world for a while. A chance to focus my mind on an activity that stimulates, challenges, and many times frustrates me. It's an honor to be able to work out your life, sometimes on canvas or paper or anything in between.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Credit: Mia Wilkinson

Can you share a behind-the-scenes story or interesting anecdote related to one of your artworks?


Before I got a studio, I would paint in my room - I remember so fondly being (a dangerous) teenager at 17 and living alone in a crumbling bedsit in a town called Darlington (County Durham) where there was only a single brick wall and naked gas heating; having the fire blaring out while I sat an eyelash away painting merrily in oils and white spirits!! I was so incredibly fulfilled (and clearly high from fumes!) It always makes me darkly laugh at how I really could have set the house on fire with one of my paintings! Now I just aim to do that in a less hazardous setting.


Mia Wilkinson, artist
Mia Wilkinson and Jenny Munoz. Photo by Louise Yeowart.

To stay up-to-date with the artist's career, make sure to follow Mia here:

Instagram: @mia__wilkinson


 

If you want to invest in Mia's career by acquiring her artwork or need help discovering similar talented artists, I can help. As an art advisor, I do the research so that you can make informed decisions when buying art. With my help, you can discover artists that best fit your taste, space, budget, and goals.


You can contact me here.

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