MISO was a delight for the team to meet. We visited her Melbourne studio for coffee and photos and discovered a woman with an intriguing and calming worldliness that belies her youth. Stanislava’s honesty and thoughtfulness in our interview is a gift of some insight into the person of many talents and great success that she is.
Interview with Stanislava Pinchuk
Street and fine artist, author, also known as MISO
Would you share with us a favourite childhood story or memory?
I remembered this the other day, and I thought it was so funny. My parents were 25 when they had me, and I was an only child for a while, so I always felt like they were more my friends than my parents. They always spoke to me like an adult, and weren’t strict, or anything like that. But I think one day they decided that they would do something really funny, maybe to see if I would believe it. I think I must have been about three. And so, they told me that inside shop mannequins were university students. That they would come in the morning and get inside the mannequin and hold that pose all day until it was time for the shop to close–and that’s what they did for work when they were at university. And it affected me so, so profoundly–I thought it was the saddest thing in the world. I would always try and peel away from my parents in shops and, when no-one was looking, I would reach out and pat the mannequins’ hands, or just hold them for a while and whisper to them. It haunted me, completely. I think I did this for the better part of a year, at least, and I don’t think I’ve ever shaken my strange empathy with shop mannequins since.
Can you locate the origins of your creativity in any of your childhood interests?
I think so–I’ve always been really shy, really introverted. So, I’ve always really liked making things, especially drawings, sewing clothes for my toys, making my own things to play with, things like that. I had really vivid stories and worlds that I drew. I read avidly too, through my whole childhood, I still do, I guess. A huge bookworm. So, making things, reading, drawing… it’s just always been my favourite thing to do.
When did you leave Ukraine? How did you feel about it?
We left for good sixteen years ago, though I’ve been back a fair bit. I miss it, of course–it’s a huge part of who I am. How do I feel about it…? It’s a big question. It’s been a really difficult year, seeing a civil war in my country. It’s not something I ever, ever thought I would see in my lifetime. I’m glad I’m not there, and I feel a lot of guilt about that.
If you were an animal, what do you think you would be, and why?
Bees are my favourite… but if I had the choice, a blue whale, of course. Wouldn’t that just be the best thing to experience, being the largest creature in the whole world?
Is there somewhere you having been dreaming about visiting?
Apart from your art and work, what sensorial activities give you pleasure?
Swimming. It makes me really, really happy.
If you could time travel what era or moment in history would you visit, and why?
I would love to see ancient Greece… it’s a world I would love, love, love to see. Even after studying Greek philosophy for so long, I still find it hard to imagine or visualise what it might have been like. I think about it all the time.
How do you feel about space travel?
I think there is nothing more exciting in the world… I am completely obsessed with astrophysics!
What is your favourite meal?
A black coffee in the morning, in the sunshine.
What is your most treasured possession?
A Tracey Emin etching, ‘Love Is What You Want’. I will carry it with me everywhere I go, forever.
Whose work or talent do you admire whom you wish you could meet? What would you ask them?
I would love to have met Vali Myers. The list of questions I would have for her is endless.
I feel like she could answer all the questions that keep me awake at night.