Her designs are quietly filling the city; sneaky rainbow clad critters, hiding down alley ways or proudly frolicking along the sides of buildings.
For the first time in six years, Mica is showcasing her smaller scale works in Wellington in a show titled Hanker.
Virgo. A messy one- that has weird need for order.
Fred, the bulldog of a cat. He's top cat in our cul-de-sac and I feel kind of bad for the other cats.
What were you like as a child? How did you develop your relationship with creativity?
I was super shy and scared as a child but I flourished, and was encouraged, with my art. I ran with it because I knew I was good at it and it became my voice. I dreamt of being an extrovert badly!
Love Blindsided me. I met a Kiwi in Scotland and fell madly in love. I thought immigrating at the age of 23 would be a good idea; I was the hardest, loneliest thing I have ever done. But Moving back to the Sates was not going to be good for me. I felt more connected to my true self here. I would just get swallowed up and lost in America.
I love the unicorn drawing you did for me! You also paint all kinds of animals and many a rainbow. What inspires your (beautiful) subject matter?
I started doing animals after the break-up of my kiwi love affair. At that point in time all my work had been colourless, self-portraits. I went on an artist retreat and saw a weka and rabbit fighting. I thought it was the funniest thing. So I started drawing these funny animals doing things to each other. I started to feel happy. I also started use my dreams of animals as a starting point as well. I no longer wanted to be miserable and hurting. I needed to fill my life with laughter and joy so even though I no longer wanted to use me in my work they became me. I have always said if you could read my paintings you would get my life story. I put more of me into the work than I realise.
When did you realise that you were going to spend your life making art?
Second grade. I clearly remember being asked in class what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a race car driver, or an artist..
But I guess it was not till after moving New Zealand that I realised I could not stop making work even when my world was falling apart. It became like an extension of my being. Sometimes I've thought I should just give up and get a real job but now I am in deep.
So you began as artist who painted on canvases and now you do large scale street art all over the world. What inspired your transition from canvas to wall?
I actually did black and white photography in art school- painting on my photographs and making dark depressing self portraits. When I moved to NZ I gave us the photography darkroom stuff cause I could not recycle my chemicals like the States and could not ethically dump the waste. I was lucky that I met a few local street artist who encouraged me to learn how to spray paint. They gave me tips and pushed me. Again I think there is a tread in my life- encourage me and I will thrive. I absolutely love the challenge of painting walls. It is such a physical medium. I also like that the work gives back to the community
Would you say the NZ art scene is accepting of street artists?
Yes, I think NZ art Scene is- it is a bit trendy now. I think most street artists have other art practices other than painting in the streets, so there is a nice cross over.
What are some of the down sides of painting street art?
The down side is you have a short amount of time to create something. I would love a wall that I could experiment with, with loads of time to play and make mistakes. Weather plays a big role in doing the work. Rain is frustrating and being too hot and wearing a mask can make you feel like you are going to faint. But I love the challenge of it all really.
Your first solo show in Wellington in 6 years, titled Hanker, has just opened! Can you tell us a bit about the collection?
Most of this work was painted for my Auckland show called Hope Land, late last year. This show includes some new drawings which are playful little portraits. My new paintings excite me. I like painting on a half rounds that are based on a rainbow shape. I created the world with all my animals where you can get lost in the journey that they might be taking. You are meant to spend time with the paintings, follow your eye and discover its path. I don't have a concrete concept when I start but I build my work on a feeling and respond to my intuition. I like the audience to invent their own story as they view the work. The response has been great so far. When the viewer sees the work they respond with joy and some have even responded with the words of hope. So exciting hearing people respond to the work with feelings, rather then over analyse the work.
Final question, do you consider yourself a feminist?
Absolutely, there is no question. I found though, that over the years I had to discover what that really meant to me. I used to feel quite intimidated by using the word feminist because I felt all the other woman were more articulate about their reasons for calling themselves a feminist that I was. I could never put it into words. I just knew in my heart that I was, and am, a feminist. Age has allowed me not to give any more fucks that I can't win a debate with words. But i can draw you an image that can speak for me.
You can follow her on Instagram, like her on Facebook and checkout her work, here.