Meeting Miss Tic

The provocative women of Miss Tic attract the eyes and seduce the passers-by in the streets of Paris but also on Fluctuart. They don’t limit themselves to charming us: powerful words accompany them and make us think. Artistik Rezo takes us to meet them.

What has been your career path? How and why did you start painting on walls?

It was a long time ago, I was doing street theater. Then I spent almost three years in the United States, at the very beginning of the eighties, and I saw the birth of hip hop, of graffiti. When I came back to Paris, there were young art students who were painting in the streets with different methods: some were covering billboards, others were painting on fences. There were multiple techniques. All this did something to me and I decided to paint in the street. I used the stencil because for me it was a technique that gave the possibility to reproduce my images several times and then very quickly I decided to add texts to the images, as I love poetry and literature.

Why did you decide to make your characters speak? How important are words and literature to you?

I love to read: for me reading has been a great opening to the world, to myself, to others, so it was also a way to give back what I had received through this medium.

Where does your name, Miss Tic, come from?

When I started, it was a time when all artists took pseudonyms. Miss Tic is the name of a witch who is in Scrooge, a newspaper from the Mickey era. She is a Disney character. Scrooge is a very rich duck and she, Miss Tic, is a bit of a “loser”: she tries to steal his souvenir but she never succeeds. It is precisely the image of the witch that I liked. Plus she’s a witch who fails at everything she does. And then with this name I announced directly that I was a woman.

Women in the urban art world are not yet as numerous as men. Was it difficult when you started to make a place for yourself in this world?

With other artists I didn’t have any problems. After, in the art market it is more complicated, it is not only in street art. In the visual arts, for example, women are much less numerous than men. There are many women graphic designers, illustrators, but in painting and sculpture less.

It’s linked to the condition of women, these are jobs where you have to be free because they are very demanding jobs, where it’s difficult to have a family. So socially, as soon as you have children, it is rather the woman who takes care of them. It is a mirror of the society, there is still a lot of work to do.

The women you represent are very seductive, sexy, provocative and the sentences they say are very striking and make you think. What are your sources of inspiration, and is there a message you want to convey?

There is no message, I think that the simple fact of being an artist is a way of being in the world.

But it is true that, as far as women are concerned, with my writing it was difficult to illustrate the words. At the beginning I made self-portraits and then I got a little tired of working on my image. Then, a bit like a coincidence, but all of a sudden, I used as a model this woman that we see in the media such as advertising, women’s magazines, which normally is there to sell products. I wanted to make her say something.

Precisely your characters are “perfect” women, who completely embody the criteria of beauty.

Exactly, they are young, healthy, sexy.

Is that why you made this choice? They rebel in some way with their words?

Yes, that is to say that you can combine thought and femininity. At the same time I am not an activist, I do not do this work to defend the cause of women. Because women, I think that we are a little responsible for what happens to us, it is as in the couple, we are still in the West, where, in this sense, we have the possibility to say no.

Concerning the walls where you paint, do you improvise or do you choose them in advance?

I scout. I was convicted in 1999 for painting on walls. Until then, I was painting at night and choosing the walls, but I was doing it illegally. After the conviction, as the procedure was very long, it lasted two years, it made me think a lot. So I decided at that time to ask for authorizations.

Since then, I ask the shopkeepers for permission: on condition that I have carte blanche. So for the public it doesn’t change anything and I don’t have any problems with the justice and the police.

What are your plans for the future?

I have many projects that have been cancelled. I have a more distant project that should be done, at Artazart, a bookstore-gallery specializing in graphics and photography in Paris and which celebrates its twentieth anniversary by reinviting artists who have made stumps in their home. It’s a way to find them.

More information on the website of Miss Tic.

Interview by Violagemma Migliorini.