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Traffic Artist Collection: Miranda Pissarides
London artist Miranda Pissarides wants to both repulse and attract you. She pairs her sculptures, which may resemble a pile of entrails, for example, with paintings that are lush and gorgeous. “I want to create extreme, juxtaposing emotions,” she says. Her work has won awards, including the ArtSlant Showcase Winner award and, most notably, the Saatchi Gallery Young Artist Award in Fine Art in 2018. She’s exhibited all over the world—from the U.S. to Brazil, Japan, Italy, and Greece (she’s half Italian and half Greek). Always eager to accept a challenge, she’s recently employed her talents to design new graphics for Wagner skis. We caught up her via Zoom from her London flat.
Wagner: What is so interesting to you about creating conflicting emotions in your viewers?
Pissarides: I like the idea of presenting both of those ideas together. We’re drawn to repulsive things—they evoke a visceral reaction to us that we can’t put it on paper. We often don’t understand why we don’t like something.
Wagner: You sold your first painting at the age of 7. Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
Pissarides: No. I was such a rebellious child, I had this urge to make things and I was always really drawn to color. But until I was 16 or 17, I fought against it. I tried to convince myself to be a million things before I addressed the fact that I liked making art. I don’t come from an artistic family—my parents are both economists, and my brother is an economist. It didn’t make sense to study art, because I thought it probably wouldn’t lead to a stable income. But there was just something inside me that felt like I couldn’t not do it.
Wagner: Creating ski graphics is new to you. Are you a skier?
Pissarides: No! But I wanted to do this. Then I got a template for the skis and was like, “What? I don’t understand how to do this!” In the end, I worked with raw images, and I quite liked that because you can zoom in on certain aspects and see different things. I created bigger surfaces, and then zoomed in when I put them on that template.
Wagner: What was your inspiration for the ski graphics?
Pissarides: They’re vibrant and colorful. I was only thinking the backdrop is snow, very bright white, and I wanted something that would pop out of that. The theme was grotesque and intriguing at the same time.
Wagner: Who are your main influences?
Pissarides: A lot of it is within me, but I get influenced by landscapes or nature or traveling or meeting different people. I like seeing new places and reacting to that. I feel like you can get completely engulfed when you have exposure to different things, and that’s what influences me most of all.
Wagner: How have you been doing through the pandemic?
Pissarides: Everyone thought it would be over in a few months. I just felt so exhausted trying to put an end and start date to it, and I just decided to focus on my practical work, which was good for me. I have never liked the idea of making work and it not going anywhere—I make it to be seen and to touch people. This is the first time I have been making work when I didn’t know where it was going to go.
Wagner: How did that change your art?
Pissarides: I took greater risks. I used certain colors and patterns I’ve wanted to use but never have because I think they’re obvious or cheesy or too much, like maybe my taste is too much. It’s given me total freedom in a weird way, because this time has been anything but freedom. But work-wise, I’ve been able to do and choose what I want.
Wagner: When you sell pieces you’ve worked hard on, do you ever have a hard time letting it go?
Pissarides: When I’m making the work, I take so much care of it I feel like it’s a child. I’m helping it stand up, or dry, or cure, or not get scratched. And when it’s done, I want it to fly the nest immediately. The work has a life of its own.
About the Artist:
Miranda Pissarides is an independent artist currently living and working in London. She works predominantly in painting and sculpture, as well as taxidermy, mosaic, and drawing. She was trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, from which she graduated in 2012 with a BA in Fine Art and Theory. Her sculptures were selected for an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, and, in 2019, she exhibited her biggest sculpture to date, Violet, at the Plutschow Gallery alongside Pier Paolo Calzolari, Keith Haring, Leon Löwentraut, Joyce Pensato, Larry Poons, Pruitt + Early, Mimmo Rotella, Julian Schnabel, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol. She is currently exhibiting a solo show in New York City, at Edelman Arts.