Step into any Art History 101 class and, chances are, you'll be learning about an old, white, male artist. Or, at the very least, someone classically trained and using traditional (read: expensive) materials. Grace Miceli is on a mission to change that. This Brooklyn-based multi-hyphenate (she paints, draws, curates, and designs clothes) founded and runs an online space for emerging artists, artbabygallery.com, with a mission to change the way we think about, view, and teach art and art history. Here, Miceli talks about why teenage-girl culture and doodling are indeed artistically significant, her love of Drake, and what it's like to have people from Oregon to China wearing your clothes.
Tell us about Art Baby.
I wanted a platform to showcase art that was being made by my friends and peers who weren't yet at the level of being represented by galleries or taking prestigious commissions. The ultimate dream was an IRL space, but starting online was a financial necessity. This summer I curated an exhibition at Alt Space in Brooklyn, and seeing all of this art that I found so inspiring online come alive in the physical space was such an exciting and satisfying experience. I can't remember the exact moment of that name popping into my head but when it did I was like "Oh that's cute, that's it!"
Who is your audience?
Right now it's mostly people who identify as female, with an interest in art as a viewer and potential producer. I would definitely like to expand my male audience. Females who study art academically are taught about mostly male artists. I'd like to see that reversed.
What inspires you?
My friends, Drake, and teen movies from the 2000s with Shakespeare-inspired plots.
You focus on teen-girl culture—what's the mission behind your art?
I'm very interested in the DIY approach, and I want to encourage the idea that you don't have to come from privileged background or have anyone in the art world officially approve of your creative efforts. Also, I want to continue expanding on the notion that you don't need to invest in oil paints and stretch a 5-feet-tall canvas to be considered a legitimate artist: you can make videos on YouTube with your webcam or doodle in your notebook with colored pencils. Creativity in any medium is valuable content.
What's the craziest part about designing your own clothes?
I love the accessibility and breadth of location where you can find them: I'll get tagged in instagram posts of people in China shopping at a boutique that carries my clothes.
You're also a curator at Alt Space in Brooklyn. What's been the coolest moment of that so far?
I'm only now working on my second exhibition, which opened on December 10th. But this summer, at the opening for Girls At Night On The Internet, there was a line around the corner the whole night to get into the space and view the exhibition—I think that's pretty cool.
Below, a selection of Grace's merchandise, available to buy (and gift!).
For more information, or to buy any of these items, see gracemiceli.com.