July 20, 2013

Spotlight: Grace Miceli

In a perfect world, David Karp would knight her thee Tumblr Teen Queen.

My favorite teen caricature by Grace Miceli has the quote “Uh so yeah I’m like in a relationship with my computer” sprawled under it, because just like that, Miceli perfectly represents “teen girl culture.” Practically the Queen of Tumblr Art with her drawings, paintings and overall art dominance, she also curates online exhibition space @rt baby gallery. She knows the Internet, she’s everywhere; but what I think we love most about her is that Miceli modestly prides herself with an “amateur aesthetic” – but is nothing like an amateur herself at all. Check out her comments on movements like “teen girl culture” and “Tumblr art,” along with her fave Clueless moment. She is the Internet.

THE LE SIGH: First off, we're big fans of your work. It's impressive how much you've done – drawing, painting, photography, video, writing. Is there a specific project that you're the most proud of?

Grace Miceli: It all started with the girl drawings. Before that I was making really serious, boring and typical art school art so that was an exciting moment for me, to rediscover that amateur aesthetic and just sort of run with it. Also my first painting I did post-high school, of the rapper Lil B (that he found and posted online) is a really weird thing I made that I'm proud of.

TLS: You went to Smith College and have had many notable female supporters along the way. How has feminism influenced your life and work?

GM: It's hard to say exactly because I've identified as such for a long time. I guess that being a feminist has made me especially interested in "teen girl culture" as well as supporting my online community, which is by effect predominantly female.

TLS: You said somewhere that you have a complicated relationship with your work being called "tumblr art" or being associated with tumblr culture. Do you feel any particular way about your identity being linked to the Internet?

GM: I feel totally positive about my work's connection to the Internet, I'm not sure I would have had any of the opportunities that I do without it and being on the Internet is definitely a part of my identity I'm proud of. I think more specifically being called "tumblr art" can feel limiting and then there's the doubt that the work can function outside of that platform. But I know that people feel more comfortable when they can categorize work so I'm not in anyway offended by the label.

TLS: Who would you note as role models or influencers of your art?

GM: I used to work for the artist K8 Hardy, she is a huge role model of mine. I'd like to think she was one of pioneers of the current feminist selfie culture you see online now, she was the first person who told me that self-portraiture is an inherently feminist act. Also I am definitely influenced by Amanda Ross-Ho, I can't wait to see her show "Cradle of Filth" when I'm in Chicago next week. I am also continously inspired by my peers online, everyone involved with Illuminati Girl Gang, Girls Get Busy, Rookie, etc.

TLS: What's the most recent surreal *I can't believe I'm here but my art got me here* moment you've experienced?

GM: I collaborated with the surf/skate brand Insight on a shirt and they sell it at Zumiez and 14 year old #1 Blink-182 fan me thinks that's really rad.

TLS: We write a lot about girls in music too. Do you have any listening suggestions for us?

GM: Yes! Currently obsessing over Charli XCX, Savages, Kitty, Tamaryn & Potty Mouth.

TLS: And most importantly, what's your favorite scene from Clueless?

GM: When Cher is using that computer program to help her pick her outfit, I remember reading online that someone created an actual program to do that, I'm jealous it wasn't me.

Learn more about Grace Miceli on her website

Ritu Ghiya, a NYU "bb", is extremely passionate about surrealist literature, technology and experimental R+B. Her dream is to become the perfect blend of Solange and MIA on her existential journey to read more and blog more.