October 2, 2009
While her friends had crushes on teen pop stars, she desperately wanted to be a comic artist for Donald Duck. Later, she changed her mind and imagined herself being a plastic surgeon. Now she is twenty and, luckily, she has turned out to be a terrific street artist. We first met Netta while she was painting a wall in Old Street and we had a chat with her.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I make lots of grumpy noices, I try to fix my hair –which, at that ungodly hour, looks like a war field– and drink a terrible amount of coffee.
Explain us in a few words who are you and where do you come from.
I am Finnish, but to be honest I have been traveling throughout my life from places to places so I often say I a from “the blue planet”. I moved to London a year ago and now study graphic design at London College of Communication (LCC).
What do you like about being a street artist?
I love being in the street, it’s addictive! I’ve always had the temptation to “mark the existence” with little scribbles in the environment. Whether it was a surreal long stick man in age of four, the statement of it was already then fundamental! Also, working in the street turns the work into a interactive piece and breaks the “distance” between the art work and the viewer. Often people don’t have the chance to see the evolution of the work which is, in my opinion, the most interesting part. It also makes it more approachable for the public and is an opportunity for me to meet lots of crazy and interesting characters!
If you were not an artist, what would you like to be?
I would always choose to do something creative. But I guess I could consider being some kind of a Christopher McCandless, like in the movie Into The Wild.
Where do you get the inspiration from? Any artists you admire?
The environment is a visual puzzle that I play with. I visualize my ideas in motion. Because they are in constant evolution I try to capture as much of it to my most precious thing: the sketchbook. It’s nice to flick trough my old sketches because they are always full of little surprises. Although, sometimes it freaks me out to see sketches that I made when I was six or seven.
Artists that I admire… I could name hundreds!! But there is something that recently inspired me a lot such as works by Animalbandido, Blu, and David Firth’s stop frame animation. They are just beautiful.
Do you have any topics that are repeated, in general, in your artwork? What’s your message?
I like to keep things a little surreal. It awakens curiosity. My work seems simple to read but the more you try to intepretate it, the less sure people become on how to make sense of it. I use subjects that are quite familiar such as instability, childhood, motherly bits and pieces, anatomy, chop and twist organisms with humor. It can make you smile but also question its “healthiness”. My style is well affected by the fact that I am a little bit a weird mix of cultures.
I don’t often use many colors in one piece because they tend to be full of texture. My work is always in captured as “unnaturally still”.
My message always leaves space for personal interpretation; many find it very dark. I have always drawn or painted when I wanted to cope with something that made me very upset. It is a way of freeing my mind from things that bothered me without hiding them. I’d like people to enjoy it visually but also to think it back. Also, London seems such an hectic environment where it’s easy to forget about yourself or others.
What’s the Cargo’s wall you painted about?
In simple terms it illustrates exploitation, the nature of a (wo)man and its relationship to its environment. But I am interested what individual interpretations can it bring.
If you could choose any wall of London to paint, which one would you choose and what would you paint in it?
If I am honest, I always wanted to paint the Gherkin to look like an easter egg. I am not quite sure why, but from the first time I saw it, I decided it was an egg, not a Gherkin.
Also, I’d quite like to paint a massive warehouse wall which I see from Shoreditch High Street into a super version of “nature of a (wo)man” piece. I want to make it look like a man could be part of the graffiti. Cargo’s wall would look like its baby product. I think it could be pretty striking. I am already excited about it but what I need is a good space and more and more designs!
What’s in your opinion the best city to paint graffiti in nowadays?
I suppose Berlin, London and Barcelona are the top ones. Also I’ve recently heard about Brazilian street art culture. I am quite shocked of the decision of who-ever to remove all graffiti from London streets! It is one of the best attractions in the city. It does not qualify as vandalism if art is out in the streets instead of being locked up in gallery spaces!
Explain us how would it be an ideal day for you in London.
I love small simple things. I’d probably get a good group of friends and set a little fire in the river bank, chilling and playing guitar. Or break dance. Or plan a massive art guerilla attack to London streets! That would be mental! I love brainstorming with friends, it’s exciting and pushes my adrenalin really high. I am already excited just with the thought of it!
/////////////////Here is something by Mish ///////////////////////////