Painter - Canada
"Recycle yo, reuse n’
Bringing fine and street art together. Anya Mielniczek, the first generation Canadian from Toronto born to Polish parents is one artist to watch. Raised by her mom for the first couple years of her life because "my dad had gone back to Poland (and because my entire family is still there)," her time was split heavily between Europe and North America. She remembers growing up in Toronto and seeing the combination of graffiti and grunge merged with the wheat fields, frogs, bugs, roosters, wild flowers, real food and little creek life outside of Krakow and Warsaw, Poland. She brings a conscious perspective to where we live, how we can all preserve what we have and who we are. Using discarded materials such as plastic bags, batteries, and more, she draws attention to our consumeristic tendencies and the implications it has to our environment. Her work is through provoking and beautiful. We had the opportunity to speak with Anya about her work, influences, and what she wants to accomplish with her art.
What's your earliest memory of art?
Toronto graffiti, tags, watching the colours zoom by taking the subway with my mom as a tiny kid.
Who inspired you to be an artist?
I didn’t plan on being an ‘artist’. It was photography all the way, until a super disappointing co-op in high school derailed that plan. Then I was considering English and well, I could see myself dying a slow death writing hundreds of essays, so art was the last thing that I felt held a window of opportunity into something I could enjoy. The decision to be an artist popped up in the summer going into my third year. I was working on a painting in my room (huge, I barely used my sketchbook the first couple years), and it hit me. This thought just *pinged* so hard like.. ‘You know what, this is exactly what I want to do, and I’m going to do it’. It never felt like a serious career to consider before that, I heard a lot of starving artist talk around me and maybe I was naive at that moment, but the absolute thrill I felt creating art out of my own free will in a seriousness I hadn’t allowed myself prior too spoke louder to me than anything had before and I was set.
Who were some artists that influenced your work and you admire?
Egon Schiele was a huge influence for me while I was in art school and in the beginning when I had graduated and was pursuing my fine art practice. ETAM crew probably came next, they had me rethinking and noticing street art like I hadn’t before. Their work still gets me. I like Bordalo II cause he fucks with garbage and that’s so necessary at the moment. Charmaine Olivia too, been following her for years… especially for how she’s always experimenting and evolving, you see the seasons in her work and I like seeing this passage of time and growth.
If you could collaborate with any artist dead or alive, who would it be?
Mad C. I’m in awe of her career. Her hyper-real spray pieces and the abstract she’s doing now. The woman’s a powerhouse. A collaboration would be unreal but I feel like I still have things to learn. If she’s ever looking for an assistant...I would drop everything in a second to get on a swing stage/life/wall with her and be mentored right now.
What do you want to accomplish with your art?
I want my art to wake people up. Bring their attention to what’s being represented, connect them to the issue being portrayed, shine a light on the cues mother earth is giving us that she needs us to pay attention. Have it be a catalyst to move one to do, think or be a bit differently,
What is the last thing you saw that really inspired you to create?
I find that pollution always gets me going, nothing like another whale washed up with 9 plastic bags, 8 cups a shoe etc in its stomach to get me going. Or the fires, the fires around the world have been a huge source of fuel recently.