Grace Miceli developed her signature bold and playful style once she’d left Goldsmiths university. Wanting to “get over the expectation of what type of art [she] should be making and instead connect to a more genuine expression of self”, Grace’s child-like illustrations embrace a candid messiness and inaccuracy, which she feels is more true to her.
The artist’s drawings humorously re-interpret well-known brands and icons, combining cuteness with real-life anxieties. She uses humour as an access point to more difficult emotions, telling It’s Nice That, “I’m drawn to humour because it exists in the space between actuality and expectations; there is a lot of room for the imagination there.” As a result, her designs have caught the attention of clients such as Nike, Adidas Originals, Nasty Gal and Carly Rae Jepson, each drawn to her “provocative style and the way she engages with and is inspired by, pop-culture.”
“Pop culture is a language that I’m very comfortable communicating with,” Grace explains. “I’ve spent so much of much life in front of the television or computer, and that has definitely affected how I interact with my world.” Drawing inspiration from this “layer of experience,” the artist states how people so often dismiss pop culture as “mindless, superficial content”. However, there is something to be said for “it’s accessibility” she explains; pop-culture, “like beauty and fashion, is pushed upon women”, becoming central to their existence and therefore, “many women develop nuanced and complicated relationships to it.” Pop culture can also be thought about critically, as well as merely enjoyed.
An “entrepreneur” as well as an artist, Grace has created a line of clothing and accessories under the moniker Art Baby Girl and also runs the online exhibition space Art Baby Gallery, which has “had several successful IRL incarnations”. As an artist who has always embraced the internet’s democracy, she tells us, “Instagram has grown as a tool to the point where emerging artists are able to advocate for themselves and independently launch their careers online.” “I have friends who never went to art school working on brand campaigns and I think it’s great that there is an alternative path to working within the traditional hierarchy of the art world,” she explains. Grace understands the modern-day hustle; she is aware of how difficult it is to be an artist, get recognition and get paid. For an artist to “stay afloat”, they must juggle many “different iterations” of their practice; Grace does precisely this, her practice includes beautiful custom illustration, animation and merchandise design.
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