Article originally published online for ACCLAIM Magazine.

Interview: Stanislava Pinchuk (miso)

"I love the rebellion and then the potential regret. It pushes me really far."


Stanislava Pinchuk is very intriguing. She’s unassuming and soft-spoken but packed with substance and talent. She never went to art school, got into street art at age 14 and since then her practice has evolved to encompass illustration, graphic design, installation and perhaps surprisingly – home-tattooing. Lately she’s been busy working on her exhibition ‘Bright Night Sky’ that explores the tension between permanence, transience, dreaming and memory – and saw her throw her whole body into the creative process. Luckily for us, Miso took some time out of her hectic schedule to chat. 

Hey Miso! How are you – feeling good?

Brilliant! I’m really happy.

I’ve heard you say you hate describing your art. I guess words make the art a little redundant or vice versa. So how would you describe yourself?

Oh, that’s even harder! So I guess the first thing to say is that I’m shy.

A lot of artists like to talk about how they’ve thrown their heart and soul into their pieces. The Bright Night Sky series had you

throw your whole body into it. Can you tell us a little about that process.

Yes! It’s really my whole body – start to finish! All these drawings are mapping and dreaming, all the walks back and forth between all my friends’ houses in the world. And then the creation of the work is also a really physical process. I’m hammering a needle into paper, one hole at a time – it’s incredibly physically demanding and painful.I don’t think many people realise that though because the works are so delicate and subtle.

nd the injuries obtained?

Not pretty. Sore backs, busted arms and messed up fingers.

Were they worth it?

Yes! At this stage, it’s nothing that pacing work and swimming don’t fix.

This series was made upon returning to Melbourne and settling down a little. You’ve lived between Ukraine and here for many years and have travelled a lot too. Is Melbourne home for now?

I think so – my studio is here now. I just moved into the most beautiful place. I’m so happy to be staying for a few months here. But it’s a funny thing, I’ve been in and out of Tokyo fairly intensively in the last few years, and now it’s starting to feel more like home than Ukraine. It’s funny how these things change – I’m pretty open to it.

What makes you pack your bags and leave?

If it’s not work, then it’s stress. It’s starting to become a bad habit but sometimes I just open my laptop, book a flight out to somewhere and not tell anyone. Then I just sort my work out around it. But that feels kind of important too – knowing that you can just pack up and go anywhere in the world the next day if you want to. It feels like a good way to live.

And what makes you stay?

My studio – it’s beautiful, full of sun and plants. It’s also in The Nicholas building, which is a pretty amazing beehive of creative people and really eccentric old residents. My studio used to belong to Vali Myers, who is a huge hero of mine, and it looks over the roof of a cathedral. It feels pretty magic in there.

The 'Bright Night Sky' series evolved from your travel diaries without using photos or real maps. Do you think memory than is more powerful than tangible things you obtain from travel?

Not necessarily. Memory is definitely a lot more confusing, harder to trust. That’s why I think I’m endlessly fascinated by it though. It’s pretty mysterious – full of gaps and exaggerations.

You’ve seemed to always have been inspired by the tension between permanence and transience. Art mimics life? Somewhere along the way this got you tattooing your friends…

Yes I think I just realised that I’d been treading that line for a long time – frustrated at making very ephemeral, or very permanent work. And tattooing fits so beautifully between those lines – it ages, it changes context with different clothes, in different cities. That, and I tattoo people I don’t see again.  It also reflects the line between memory, beauty and physical pain in a pretty amazing way. Mapping bigger ideas back on the body.

So the tattooing is as much about the experience as the art?

Tattooing is very intense way to think about making images when you’re an artist. It’s a really amazing tension, a lot of implicit responsibility. I love the rebellion and then the potential regret factor. It pushes me really far. I think I was solidly terrified for about the first year and a half that I tattooed – but it’s really, really good to be terrified as an artist.