Stencil Artist, Miss Link, from Sydney Australia won the inaugural Stencil Art Prize in 2009, which was then known as the Australian Stencil Art Prize. Miss link has exhibited twice in the Stencil Art Prize – as a winner in 2009 and a finalist in 2011. This year, Miss Link is one of the 2013 Stencil Art Prize judges.
What is your art background, how did you come to focus on stencil art and street art?
I was always a kid who drew, loved art at school and was encouraged by both my parents to grow my love of art. After leaving school I started as an apprentice in “graphic pre-press”. I spent much of that time cutting masks, planning film and making plates for CMYK process printing. It was not what I wanted to do but I got pretty handy with a scalpel and learnt a lot.
It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I did a course in collegraph, the print making process excited me and led me to stencil, where I had some ready-made skills from my apprenticeship. Always a bit of a risk taker, street art just appealed to me. I love to set it free, and once it is, it belongs to the street; I have no attachment to what happens to it, an exercise in impermanence.
What message are you driven to communicate through art?
I like to let it flow. Some pieces are highly personal and yet I am still not sure what I am trying to even tell myself. The last thing I want to do is interfere with how someone see’s my art, I want it to speak for itself to the viewer about what it means to them (if anything). I am always amazed to hear how my art is interpreted.
How would you describe your style of art?
An exploration, I don’t know where I am going but I am travelling all the same.
Whose work at the moment do you admire most?
Brian Cox – The Physicist
Describe your stencil making process – how does an idea move from being an idea into a finished artwork.
It starts with my sketchbook, it could be something I initially doodled in a meeting or on a scrap piece of paper. If it speaks to me I go with it, explore it a bit more. I usually have multiple things going at once and pick them up and put them down depending on where my energies are on the day. I usually have worked with a piece quite a lot before I even consider cutting, once it gets to that point I have a firm plan, and I become methodical.
What’s the hardest part about being a woman stencil artist?
Dark places at night, alone.
Finding a crusty, dry paste splodge on a pair of jeans I’m wearing, and trying to explain that it is JUST PASTE, if you know what I mean?
What would be one piece of advice that you would give you young artists starting to explore the stencil medium?
Make your stencils your own, make sure you leave a mark on them and develop your own voice.