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style is subversive: Mab Graves


April 19, 2017

to launch our new #styleissubversive interview series, we thought it appropriate to pick pop surrealist painter and dinokitty creator, mab graves. mab embodies our belief that style can affect culture. we believe independent, creative thinking is a viable lifestyle, that conscious consumption and re-evaluating one's use of our resources could be the norm and through individuality we will change the world!

In three words, describe your artistic style.  

Dreamchild Neverist. One word to spare! Do I get a bonus lightning round? How about: Mod Kawaii Renaissance?

Give us a peek into your creative process, initial idea to final piece.

It starts with an idea - an inspiration - and then it's like a camera flash. A shutter goes off in my head and the piece is there. Born in a split instant. After that it's just a process of pulling it out of my mind and putting it onto a canvas. It usually takes several weeks to a month because I paint in tiny tiny details.

Where do you find your creative inspiration?

Oh geeze. That depends on where/when I am. I get inspired from anything and everything. Chunks of cement in the street, things I'm passionate about like Science, Astronomy, Paleontology, everything Kitsch, Mod, Horrible and Adorable.  Things I read or listen to, things not seen properly that my brain reassigns into it's own particular creatures, conversations half-heard... it just depends!

What do you think sets you apart (maybe from other pop surrealists) and what is your secret weapon, in the art world?

I don't think I have a secret weapon really. I'd say I have more of an ally than a weapon. My major ally is an utterly-obsessive-to-the-point-of-near-unhealthy work ethic. I'm working from the moment I wake up to the moment I crawl into bed. I have an unrelenting drive to create. That's the biggest secret to being really good at anything - you have to do it a LOT. I've got tens of thousands of hours of practice in my craft. The downside is I'm not very good at being a human being and I'm terrible at "relaxing" ^_^

 

Do you have a favorite piece, or collection or pieces?

I have a pretty killer art collection. I love it. My walls are filled floor to ceiling, window to door jam!

What advice would you give artists out there that are just starting out and trying to discover their own style and craft?

Make creating part of your daily life.  This is really important. If you don't carve out and keep space for it, Life will fill. You will get distracted and busy with the business of it and you will struggle to find time to create. Give yourself some dedicated, sacrosanct time each day.  

Tell us a little about #SickGirlsClub. Are you using the ups and downs of your illness to fuel you artistically?

The #SickGirlsClub is something I started as a place mainly to talk about living life with endomitriosis. It's a disease that in mild cases causes extreme pain, and in severe cases causes fusing of the organs and corruption of cells leading to cancer. It's estimated 1 in 10 women are affected to some degree by this disease and yet medical advances in diagnosis and treatment really haven't progressed since the 1970's. Mystifyingly we can get 3D ultrasounds of fetuses, but we don't have any blood testing or ultrasound technology that can pick up a disease that causes massive internal havoc. We still have to physically cut into the body to find it. As such, it goes largely undiagnosed. The one thing I found all Endo Girls have in common besides the crippling pain, is the shame over it. Doctor's tell us we are fine, to toughen up, treat us like we are being hypochondriacs, or even worse accuse us of being junkies. Growing up I didn't understand how other girls could just take a Midol and go, when I was in too much pain to function for several days out of each month. Why was I so weak? I didn't realize that kind of pain was not normal, because I had never had a "normal" period. As I got older, it got worse. I felt like a werewolf, terrified of the moon. If had 3 or 4 days out of each month where I was NOT in pain and bleeding I was lucky. Still, doctors didn't listen. Still I felt such humiliation for my weakness. After multiple surgeries, and many rounds of chemo injections, I had to have a full hysterectomy. They caught itwhen I had stage 4 endometriosis. After years of questioning my strength, sanity and telling doctors there was something wrong... it was caught too late. It's not okay, but it's okay. I just want to provide a place where we can support each other and talk about it if we need to.  I don't want another generation of girls to go through this pain, confusion and self-doubt. It's not okay that we don't have better diagnosis for this disease... and as much as I hate to say it, I think if 1 in 10 men had their penises affected by something like this we would have a cure by  now. There is a silence and a stigmata about "women's issues" I feel we need to break. It's a dialog we need to have, and men (who become fathers, husbands and boyfriends) need to be a part of it.. Men still have some of the strongest voices for change in our society.

Being a Sick Girl finds its way into my work, because it's been a deafening part of my life. Art is the way I process things, so when I have a day I an feeling particularly sad or defeated I ask myself "okay, how can I find a way to laugh at this?" Survival of the Sickest is all about attitude ^_<

xxxxx

mab wears solemate no.1059 alley clog in black leather, hand-painted by miss mab herself...

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www.mabgraves.com

interviewed by kirby bittner



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