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Miss Bugs Interview: Part I

Juxtapoz // Thursday, 12 Nov 2009

UK artists Miss Bugs have made an indelible mark on their home country and beyond. We wanted to get into the obviously colorful minds behind Miss Bugs: past, present, and future. This is what we discovered.


Introductions please! Who is Miss Bugs and how did the name come to fruition?

It’s two of us – Miss & Bugs. Girl & Boy… We started MB in early 2007. No big story with the name; we just needed a collective name to work by and it seemed to fit as we used to call each other by these nicknames before we started working together.


Where areyou from and where do you live now? Why did you choose this place as home?

Bugs – Bristol was where I was born and grew up
Miss – Born in Wales and moved to Bristol aged 12.

We both moved to London around the same time in 2001. We both have a love for big cities, they kind of engulf you… Not sure if it was our intention to stay in London this long but now we can’t imagine being anywhere else. Maybe we should try Tokyo next.

For us, London is an exciting place. We always come across new things, whether in galleries or on the streets; it’s an endless resource.


How did you start collaborating together? Did you start on the streets and then move to studio work or was it the other way around?

We started collaborating in the pub, I suppose, and we shared similar ideas that we spent many hours talking about. We both had been doing our own work, which we still do and is very different to what we do as Miss Bugs. The initial MB work was made in the studio and was kept in the dark for quite some time before it emerged as Miss Bugs.


Your style is full of contrast: clean animations with dripping paint; colorful bodies with black and white edges. Is this contrast intentional? How would you describe your work style?

We call ourselves image-makers…using images to tell stories from our culture and society, like a photojournalist who captures an already existing narrative.

But we approach our imagery graphically, using collage, stencil, silk-screen and loads of other materials. The contrast in our style has grown and developed over a short period of time. I suppose sometimes it is intentional but along the way you make mistakes, some good and some bad, but either way, they can take you in a new direction, so I like to think it’s always evolving.


Your newer work incorporates a spin technique to splatter and mix colors of paint in a controlled circular manner. Can you comment on this?

Well, we’ve taken and made our spin paintings as a reflection of Damien Hirst’s spin paintings. A lot of our work explores ownership of ideas, working styles, and the relationship and knock-on effect that artists have with one another. Hirst is a master of lifting other people’s creations (in the case of the spin painting it had been done many times before by the likes of Alfons Schilling). The great thing about Hirst is he can take things that have been done many times before, put his stamp on them, and make them iconic.

Part II of this interview with Miss Bugs is online HERE.





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