"I want to use every talent, every moment I have on this Earth to find as much truth as I can through people, through love, through empathy. I want to share my eyes with everybody else and to use everyone else's eyes as my own." - MissMe
This is the last part of the interview with MissMe, Montreal based street artist. It was great to speak to her. I always leave interviews feeling like I came out of it with a different perspective on life, and this was no exception. MissMe shared with me her perspective as a woman and as a human being.
In this part of the interview, we spoke about how society tries to define us, learning to accept yourself, why she quit her job in marketing, and, ultimately, what she wants to use her life for.
Here are the first two parts:
Hope you guys enjoy!
Can you talk about your own process of learning to accept who you are?
"It forces me to be strong even when there are a lot of people who don't like what I stand for."
It's hard to have the honesty and courage to deeply know yourself because society tries to define who you are. Sometimes you internalize those pressures, and when they're too loud or imposed, it's oppression.
It can be as a woman or as a man. The definition of a man is a very strict one. Men may have certain traits that are very human, but aren't considered manly. So they might struggle. It's hard. It's the same for women obviously and for those in the LGBQT community, any human basically.
Do you think that the process of expressing yourself helps in that process of learning who you are?
Yeah. By putting my stuff out there, it forces me to be myself. 'It's out there now. Are you going to stand by it or not?' It forces me to be strong even when there are a lot of people who don't like what I stand for.
I'm trying not to be ashamed of my opinions or who I am, and at the same time, I try to keep a certain amount of humility.
In the video that Brit + Co did on you, you spoke about this idea of freedom.
What kind of freedom were you talking about? Was it the freedom to make the art you want to? Or was it literally the physical freedom to wake up and do what you want?
It was both.
It was also the emotional freedom from outside voices telling you how you should be.
It was freedom of creation.
I come from a field where I was always told what to do, brief how to do it, how to change it. And it was extremely creatively important for me to break out of that by doing exactly what I wanted, the way I want it, and putting it out there and no one is telling me how to edit it. That was a big one.
And also physical freedom. I want to put it on that wall, I'm going to put it on that wall. Watch me. Because I also truly believe I'm not doing anything bad.
"People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you're not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It's yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don't owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don't even start asking for theirs." - Banksy
It is ironic that you were working in marketing and now you're a street artist.
There's a quote from Banksy where he talks about how we don't have control over the advertisements that are on the streets. We are forced to see them. Street art in a way provides a counterbalance to street advertising.
Yes! I have to look at your shit, every day and everywhere I go. And it's okay because you have the whole system behind you? If I want to put my opinion out there, you'll see it. And it's a very healthy thing that we can do that.
Is that one of the reasons you left marketing?
No, there's no reason. I just couldn't do what I used to do anymore. It was kind of killing me for all of these reasons I'm telling you. And I started doing that. It kind of just happened. It wasn't a planned thing.
It was emotional vomit.
You also said in that video that your marketing position was slowly taking you away from what you wanted to use your life for.
What do you want to use your life for?
I want to use every talent, every moment I have on this Earth to find as much truth as I can through people, through love, through empathy. I want to share my eyes with everybody else and to use everyone else's eyes as my own. And to hopefully have a positive impact, otherwise what's the point?
And the only way to reach any of this even slightly is to truly dig into who you are. Which is super scary and that's what I'm trying to do.
On Instagram (see above), you have a few photos of children posing in front of a few of your pieces.
"My little crew posing in front of what they have been watching for 3 days. Happiness in my heart especially when every single lady, from the little girls to the grand-mothers pointed at my queens and said: "It's me! right?"
Yes. It’s all of you."
It's easy to see people superficially, but it seems as though you have this ability to go a little bit deeper to see someone's inner beauty.
I feel that everybody else's eyes could be my eyes. If I look deep into who they are, hopefully they'll share part of it with me.
When it's all said and done, how do you want to look back on your life?
I think I'd be really bad at dying because I'd want to learn so much more. I'd probably be very aware of everything I didn't do or didn't meet or didn't see.
I'd really hope that I left positive impact.
If you enjoyed this interview, check out my interview with Dr. Stephen Liben, palliative care pediatrician.
In other words, he works with children who are terminally ill. His perspective on life and his work is deeply influenced by Buddhism. And that was the main subject of this interview.
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