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Introducing: Mimi Libro

An interview with Mimi Libro, the artistic curator of Tessellate: Intrusive Thoughts

· Crate Mates Writings

How would you describe your artistic style?

I would describe the style of the works I have previously released as jagged, linear pieces often encapsulating strong feminine figures. My work generally incorporates an essence of darkness as I regularly turn to art making as catharsis during more difficult periods in my life.

I grew up consuming a lot of cartoons, animation and anime which I believe heavily influenced my style. When I was a child, I tried to recreate characters I had seen in manga comics and animations with my own storylines. The characters I created in my younger years are still very prevalent in my work today, and inspire me to continue to create works that are unique to myself.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your 2018 film project titled ‘Be a Man’ and what motivated you to create it?
The inspiration for my short film ‘Be a Man’ stemmed from a major work I completed in high school under the same title. I grew up surrounded by a lot of male friends and would occasionally have very open conversations with them about their mental health. At the time, these discussions would usually result in them telling me that they rarely open up or struggle to talk to their mates about these subjects. This spiralled into an in-depth study into the culture surrounding traditional/modern masculine values in Australian society. In 2018, I came to the realisation that the information was still relevant, so I recycled the research I had gathered and used it to create my documentary project. I gained an amazing response from sharing my documentary and had a lot of people reach out to me which was really special as the aim was to raise awareness and encourage conversation.

I wanted to encapsulate individual experience which touches on a taboo subject and reflects the inner thoughts of the human psyche, in its beautifully chaotic way, that is completely susceptible to each individual person on this planet.

What mediums are you working with most frequently at the moment?
In more recent times I’ve been creating a lot of paintings with ink. Throughout a few years of trial and error, I’ve discovered that it’s a really relaxed medium to work with. I just use regular paint brushes matched with dark complementary colours to create bolder images, more closely related to current digital artforms. I’m currently enjoying moving my paintings through a scanner to gain a psychedelic effect, which I was able to display at a recent exhibition.

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What are the principles behind Sucker Co., and how did you first get involved with the organisation?
Sucker Co. is an artist-run creative company and gallery space focused on the development and exposure of Melbourne’s emerging artists. The space provides a variety of uses; including exhibition hosting, studio productions and project development. I became involved in Sucker through one of my closest friends, Ben Tambyah. It was always his aim to expand on the Sucker brand by opening a collaborative work/exhibition space. Ben is one of the most hardworking, innovative young people I know. I’m very lucky to be working alongside him and to be able to see his creative process evolve.

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Where do you go to find inspiration?

I’m quite an impressionable person and my inspiration has always stemmed from the people and places around me, which is found in my work through the hobbies I pursue and the environments that they contain. Film and animation were my first major sources of inspiration for creating art. I then continued to develop my love for illustrating and, as my music taste matured to match, I was able to use my love for each to inspire me to continue to create in whichever form it may be.

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What drew you to the event theme of intrusive thoughts?

The theme was driven by discussions I had with friends regarding the darker passing thoughts we had both shared. After partaking in conversations with a variation of different people I came to the realisation that these thoughts were very common among lots of my peers, although each had their own unique grasp on the subject. I wanted to encapsulate individual experience which touches on a taboo subject and reflects the inner thoughts of the human psyche, in its beautifully chaotic way, that is completely susceptible to each individual person on this planet.

As the curator, what are you hoping that people bring away from the Tessellate night?

The exhibition is designed to infuse music, visuals and art pieces, transposing a room into a communal state that engages multiple senses to guide the patrons into experiencing their own individual introspective of ‘Intrusive Thoughts’. This will be achieved by immersing people's minds in the colours and tones that are represented in each individual musician or artist’s unique approach to the concept. The impact of the minimalist design will ideally inspire others to create their own pieces.

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What are your top tips for up-and-coming artists around Melbourne?

  • If you want to be creative but you’re lacking inspiration, try to surround yourself with creative people, and attempt to work alongside these people to help you to create or advance your unique ideas whilst taking yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Try whatever opportunities or collaborations that come your way as these have lead me to some great projects and friendships, which in turn leads to more work and chance for self-expression.
  • Never be hard on yourself for being unable to achieve perfection, or whether you’re establishing a large online presence. Art is personal and to be brave enough to exhibit it to friends and the public is a success story in itself, so always be proud of your accomplishments as big or small as they are.      
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