Artist Feature: Miki Lowe

by Nisha Btesh November 03, 2018

Artist Feature: Miki Lowe

Believe it or not, I met Miki Lowe in the comment section of an @holagwapa Instagram Post. "INTRODUCE YOURSELF!" I encouraged and she did. I immediately began stalking her account @mikihlowe (you're welcome!) and instantly fell in love with the rawness and variety this Anglo-Japanese-French-educated-Nomad-Artist was bringing to the table. Try saying that five times fast!

Her aesthetic truly has no bounds. Miki will post effortlessly intricate doodley collage things one day and a surreal photography piece she created for the AFRICA album cover the next! I couldn't even keep up with her never the less attempt to figure her out... and I loved it! But I had to get some answers so I replied to her comment and invited her to slide into my DM's, again she did!

Real Talk: Where would we be without the gram?! And more importantly, where would the Hola Gwapa community be without "Yes!" women like Miki who continue to expose their vulnerabilities, their work and their process to us? So keep reading to fall for this boundary-breaking nomad like I have as she candidly shares her insights, challenges, fears, and successes working in the art industry with us.

Who is Miki? Where are you from? How did you become the woman you are today?

I was born in Kyoto, from a Japanese mother and an English father, but grew up in the south of France. In our house we communicated in a chaotic mix of all languages and customs. Now, I live between London and Spain, working between fine arts, illustration, design and sometimes as an artist’s model. 

Developing at the crossroads of 3 cultures probably fostered this ‘in between’ hybrid characteristic.  It has had an impact on shaping me as a person.; you belong to all your places, yet you are always a stranger- an integrated odd one out, walking on a border line, one foot in the circle, one out. It’s social yet solitary. I see it as an interesting position to be in at all times in life, especially in a creative aspect; I believe it gives one a spirit of inquiry and the habit of looking at things with multiple perspectives.

  

What is the message you’re sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about said message?  

Although I don’t focus much on representing people, I like to think that my work is about being human. It’s about how we search for something beautiful. It's a eulogy to how we seek a way to transcendent moment, in our daily lives. The message I’d like to be sending is - look around you; the elements, and nature, the structures we have build amongst them, our objects, the way we move and use them- life isn’t always easy, but there is beauty

 

Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your medium. Did you choose to work with said medium or did it choose you?  

I don’t think I have quite chosen it yet, or vice versa. I’ve always been drawn to so many. A big part of my process is to experiment with different mediums and techniques.   
 

You have such a cool aesthetic! Where does it come from?

Thank you. I’m not sure, I find it difficult to make that analysis on my own work. I could name a few influences- such as symbolism, surrealism, Japanese aesthetics and art forms like ukio-e, Matisse’s paintings... 

 

What do you want the younger female artists coming up behind you to know about you, your journey, and the art industry in general? 

 So far in my journey there has been many components: Some skill, some luck, some practice and work, and some being stubborn. I’d say it’s a tricky industry- At times it can be exhilarating, but also tough and testing- where the stubborness comes in handy. 

 

What do you know for sure?

Nothing. 

 What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced as a female artist to date? What are some of the biggest mistakes you've made and how did you overcome them?

I lacked confidence in my work when I started out. I don’t think it’s uncommon amongst creatives, or that it’s a female issue though. It’s a scary and competitive world. Mostly by fear of losing work, I would not be assertive enough with clients, whether about pricing, creative content or work load. It also made me accept commissions that were not necessarily a good fit and that ended full of frustration, as I was forcing something unauthentic out of my hand in an unnatural way, making work that wasn't coherent with my identity. That bothered me. It’s with time and experiences, that I learned to value my work better and begin to be comfortable about turning down things if they weren’t right. 

 

How do you stay motivated? What does your daily routine look like? 

Because I split my life between places and move around, it’s not easy to have a routine. However, I am fond of rituals; when I arrive at a new place where I will live and work, the first things I do are to put fresh fruit in a bowl or get flowers. I always drink coffee to start a day, and I prefer to work in the mornings and late afternoon into the night. Mid-afternoons seem to have a weirdly heavy, unproductive feel about them. If I am in a place where it’s possible, swimming resets me. 

Like the routine, my levels of motivation are changing- when they are down, I either persist in drawing even if I am not satisfied with the results until it changes. Or, I go with the lowdown and try to focus on other things- Ups and downs are natural I guess, and the trick is to remember that neither is ever permanent. 

 

Give us three of your favorite/ most inspiring things right now. Could be a book, a food, a destination, a song, a person, etc. 

1. Andalusia’s landscapes and architectures. I have just done a road trip across the South of Spain, and I wished I had a third eye to be able to take more in. It’s exotic and warm, sometimes wild, others opulent.

2. Chris Marker’s film ’Sans Soleil’ It’s a very poetic and melancholic journey, in space, and time. And it’s visually beautiful. The colors, the eerie strangeness of the footage fascinate me.  

3. Bathhouses. I'm not entirely sure why, but I am drawn to the way they look. They evoke mystery and mythology. It might be something primordial, the connection between humans and water.   

What's the best advice you've ever been given?   

You have to be your own best friend.  

 

What's your guilty pleasure?  

My comfort watch is my teen days show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  
 

What's your favorite part about being an Artist? 

My favorite part of an artist’s life is the variety and versatility of it.  On a single job, I can take on the role of the researcher, then producer, the maker, sometimes having to harness a new skill in the process. So far, each project has got me involved in unexpected worlds, with their load of experiences and knowledge. The unpredictable aspect- which can be double edge sword- on one side the uncertainty can be stressful, but on the other, there is a lot of excitement in taking on new challenges and witnessing the serendipity of life.  Also, when someone gets in touch to tell me that seeing my work has made them happy- it’s rewarding beyond words.
 

You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick? 

It’s between Nick Cave’s ’Red right hand’, and st James’s infirmary blues. 




Nisha Btesh
Nisha Btesh

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