Interview: Maie Dionisio, artist
Maie is a creative woman with many faces – she is a designer, an artist, a stylist, a visual merchandiser, a photographer.A creative mind since a very young age, Maie has developed an idiosyncratic style, which is epitomised in her dusky illustrations of obscure female figures. MUSE is proud to be hosting her second exhibition Enter Maiden. We asked her to tell us what it’s all about.
Being a freelancer in the event styling industry has been very challenging. So I thought – if no one is going to let me be a director of something, I’ll direct my own thing. This exhibition is an opening of that, and it’s called Enter Maiden: you’re coming into my world. It’s a dark world, but there are little sparks of beauty in it.
How did your artistic life begin?
I have always been very creative. I was working full-time at David Jones as a visual window merchandiser until last year, but I felt I needed to revive my personal creativity. I think of myself more as a designer than an artist. My illustrations are fashion based, and finding that balance of art and design is very important to me.
What is the philosophy behind your work?
I draw girls that I have photographed and I twist them in with other fashion figures. I draw them unfinished because we are not finished products; we are still growing. The rugged lines represent the darkness in my illustrations. The girls are dishevelled, there’s something obscure about them. The idea is to reveal the beauty in the weird and the ugly: it’s a concept I call ‘A misinterpretation of Beauty’.
In your art you work with mixed media, juxtaposing drawing, paint and fabric. What is the thought process behind this artistic method?
I actually used oil, acrylics and spray paint in one of my paintings. Someone told me “You’re such a Frankenstein, you can’t mix those mediums together!” Why not? I just did. I am impatient and oil does not dry fast, so I found a way to mix it with other mediums the way I wanted to. I put contrasting things together in my work, because I find conflict between what I can and what I want to do – it defines me as a person. I think not being so ‘by the book’ about mediums can create something great and unexpected.
Your work focuses on the female body. What draws you to it?
My parents always had nude paintings and, when I was younger, it made me uncomfortable. I now enjoy beautiful nudes, because I recently started accepting my own body. In my portraits I want to show real bodies, with stretch marks and scars. I want to shock people and remove the idea that a woman should be perfect.
Can you name one of your favourite artists and tell us how their work inspires you?
I love Monet. His work is very patchy: from up close you see blotches of colour, but from afar it creates an image.
Can you name one aspect of being a freelance artist that you find to be the most challenging?
It’s proving myself all over again. People are sceptical because I don’t have qualifications on paper, and I haven’t specifically done event styling before – but I’m a visual merchandiser and the two go hand-in-hand: I have the eye to put things together. So I’m re-marketing myself to a different market.
What tips would you give to young creative people who are trying to make a living with their Art?
Be determined in your conviction and just keep pushing forward, because you are your own worst critic. If you say no to yourself, you’ve lost the battle.
What are you most proud of so far?
My first exhibition, Friends of Maiden (June 2012), because I proved to my parents I could do it as an artist. They used to be very unsupportive of my choice and wanted me to pursue a secure career path. Now they want to buy my artwork. They’ve done a 360 and it’s a nice feeling.
What is your next big project after the Art Show you are organizing at MUSE?
My partner and I want to move to Melbourne, the creative city of Australia. When I started doing fashion, Melbourne picked up my clothing line. In Melbourne people are open to wearing and supporting local designers and artist, so I think I’ll feel more accepted there.
Maie’s exhibition takes place on the 6th of May at MUSE.
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