Goodbye Turdbrains! is undoubtedly a great title for a show. Unfortunately more often than not, exhibitions with such headlines can be a little hit and miss. But fear not! In this case there should be no such anxiety because hanging and producing the work is the brilliant Mimi Leung.
Mimi is an illustrator at the height of her talents, showing some work created while on a residency in the a central Australian desert. What better prompt to say hello to Mimi, ask her what we could expect, and why it is that everything she makes seems is so unashamedly vibrant.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do
I’m an artist and illustrator. Graduated from RCA communication in 2007 and since then have spent a year in Hong Kong making new work and having exhibitions here and there.
Why did you decide to go to Hong Kong in particular – is that where you’re from?
I was born in Hong Kong and have some family there. By the time I finished RCA I was really fed up with London and art in general, I wanted a fresh start on a clean slate. I went to Hong Kong to figure out what I wanted, get to know my family a bit better and explore some new things/people.
What are your drawings of?
They are images of the things around me filtered through my thoughts, my memories and imagination. Everything is a very surreal and pretty mixed up, the colours are urgent and excessive.
Why do you use so many colours? Are you a colourful person yourself?
I spent 2 years at the RCA trying to be clever and making black and white prints so I suppose once I got out I wanted to go nuts. Eventually I found a way of working with as many colours as I wanted. I like colours and the way you can put them together almost arbitrarily, and also maybe because I am greedy – I want everything, all the colours, now. I don’t think I’m a particularly colourful person… maybe after a few drinks.
What work can we expect in the show?
A lot of colour, a lot of silliness and energy. (Though the first time I laid out all the work I felt a bit dizzy and a little sick because of all the colours…) All the work was done whilst I was on a 3 month residency in Yuendumu which is in the desert of central Australia, so landscapes, logs and dead animals mostly.
How did you find out about Yuendumu, and why did you want to go and work there?
I have a friend there and decided to visit. It’s not the sort of place you go to without knowing someone there. I worked at the local aboriginal art centre and learned a lot. I had a lot of time to think and wonder about in the desert. I like to experience things that are quite extreme, and the difference between central London and central Australia is pretty extreme.
How do you make your work?
Everything I do is by hand, I draw everything on paper and colour in gouache. Working on the computer confuses me sometimes cos nothing is really real, and I can’t get very precise control over the colours.
You seem to work in lots of different places, do you find it difficult working in one place?
I get restless… I am restless. I’m bored too easily and have a stupid attention span. If I stay in one place too long I feel stuck. Though increasingly I am getting tired of never fully unpacking my suitcase and forgetting where I left this and that. I would like to have a proper studio and stay there for a while but I haven’t really found anywhere I like enough yet.
Tenderpixel Gallery London
July 17 – August 10
Tue – Sat 10.30am – 7.00pm
Private View July 16, 6.00pm-10.00pm