Opus Art, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Mascaras 8 by Miss Van

Miss Van Biography

Miss Van started wall-painting in the streets of Toulouse at the age of 18, initiating the feminine movement in street art. When Miss Van’s sultry female characters began to pop up on city centre walls in the mid 1990s they instantly possessed a timeless quality, as if women had always painted such graffiti in the streets.

Miss Van chose to use acrylic paint because as she found it more comfortable than spray cans, even if it wasn’t a graffiti style. She then continued painting finding that painting on walls was a way to show that she was boycotting the conventional art world. When Miss Van first started as an artist she felt as though she was a ‘rebel’ as it was more exciting to paint in the street because it was forbidden. Painting on walls allowed her to keep her freedom and as it was illegal, there was no censorship. It continues to be a challenge however as each time she paints on a wall there is the risk of seeing her work erased.

At the beginning of her art career Miss Van’s dolls were self-portraits. Graffiti has a very megalomaniac side so instead of writing her name Miss Van chose to represent herself through her dolls. Since then her characters have kept evolving, becoming less cute and more dangerously alluring, their sexy aura made all the more complex by their increasingly ambiguous facial expressions. The more she moved into gallery work and could work with the nuances of more fragile media than the streets would allow (pencil, for one), her characters grew even more sensitive, subtle, and delicately rendered. Miss Van’s dolls often convey a provocative image, sometimes a bit erotic; as her wish is that they disturb people and provoke fantasies. She wants her dolls to make the viewer react, no matter the reaction so people forget about their daily lives.

Miss Van has exhibited her work internationally including shows in New York, Los Angeles, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, UK and Asia. She has shown in art centres and museums such as the city gallery of Schwaz in Austria, the Baltic Art Centre in Newcastle as well as the Von der Heydt Museum, Kunsthalle in Wuppertal, Germany. Miss Van has exhibited with many established artists such as Os Gemeos, Mike Giant, Banksy, Faile, Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee, Ryan McGinness, Takashi Murakami, Ed Templeton, and many others.

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