Master & Dynamic x Grace Miceli, AKA Art Baby Girl
Master & Dynamic x Grace Miceli, AKA Art Baby Girl
Grace Miceli, also known as Art Baby Girl, is an artist and illustrator living in New York City. Her work, which often features fun characters and illustrations paired with clever copy, can be found across multiple mediums, from online publications to a 40-foot mural for a music venue in Brooklyn. Recently The 10,000 spoke with Grace about her art, how she’s connecting with her community online, and the launch of her NYC-inspired designs for our MW07 PLUS Charging Case.
Tell us about your work. Where do you find inspiration for your art?
My work has always aimed to be playful and humorous with a little darkness and reality thrown in there— accessing more serious subjects through comedy or with a lighthearted lens. Over the past few years, I’ve transitioned into making work that is super personal, which is scary, but has also been helpful to my process of evolving as a person as well as an artist.
New York City seems to be somewhat synonymous with your work and style. What is it about New York that you love, and how has your relationship with the city evolved over the past few months?
I was a teenager when I started to dream about being an artist one day. All the movies, books and media told me that this is where I needed to be for that to happen. There is so much rich creative history here, so many movements and inspiration that you see and feel all around you. It’s been super challenging to not have the freedom to explore the city and feel at ease wandering in the ways that I did before the pandemic but it has encouraged me to pay more attention to my neighborhood and also turn my attention to the internet and to connect with the community through there.
Your work is very relatable, and resonates with what many people are feeling and experiencing nowadays. How do you tap into your own emotions when creating your art?
It’s how I process and understand what I’m going through, and I’m so glad that by sharing it with my audience online it can help others to feel seen and understood too. So much of my work is inspired by what I talk about in therapy or conversations I have with people in my life and what I write down in my journal. For so long I was scared of expressing myself, my work was funny and dark but not really vulnerable or honest. Making that shift towards sincerity is really terrifying but everytime I do it I feel more powerful.
Your illustrations have accompanied articles in The New Yorker, The New York Times and on LinkNYC digital screens throughout the city. Can you tell us a little bit more about the process of creating an illustration to match a story?
I try to let my illustrations expand whatever story they are accompanying, to add more information that helps the reader or viewer really see what is being communicated, making the words come to life and provide clarity. It’s so fun to interpret someone else’s words through my drawings and also to write alongside my illustrations. I’d like to think they make each other stronger when combined.
You’ve worked with several musicians, such as SZA, Mac Miller and Anderson Paak to create album covers and concert posters. How did music and sound influence some of these designs?
Those really are such special projects to me. One of my favorite ways to work is to just listen to an album over and over again and pull out imagery from lyrics or just what pops into my head when I hear certain sounds, it’s so inspiring. It’s amazing that I get to do that for my job sometimes.
You also painted a massive mural for Elsewhere, a music venue space in Brooklyn, NY. Can you tell us more about the process of such a large scale project?
It really was the scariest job I’ve ever had. A true testament to feeling your fear but doing it anyway. It was such a challenge and then so expanding to work on a scale that is opposite from my regular work. So many of my illustrations are tiny doodles on a page and this was a 40 foot painting. For that mural design I went into the headspace of when I was younger, bored and living in the suburbs, listening to music was the only way I was able to escape and really harness my imagination.
Your designs and illustrations are often translated onto products, including a limited-edition of our MW07 PLUS charging case! What excites you about product design?
As an artist whose work exists mostly online it’s such a treat to watch it transform into reality through different forms. I love thinking of my work as this little pop of happiness that you see when you’re searching through your bag for your phone.
How did you come up with the ‘Art Baby Girl’ name?
It’s been so long but from what I can remember I was sitting with my friends on our couch when I moved to NYC right after college and we were just joking around while I set up my instagram account for the first time. It was a moment when I felt really young and like I didn’t know anything about what it meant to be an artist here in NYC, but I was so eager and excited to jump in and see what it was all about. It was a playful reference to my innocence and naivety about it all and it just kind of stuck.
How do you feel connected to the female artist community, and what are some new ways you’re learning to connect with the community online?
I feel so grateful to have been able to connect with so many peers online regardless of physical location. I’m constantly inspired by their work and evolution. During quarantine it has felt even more important because we can’t connect in person. I’m always grateful for other artists who make work about their personal lives and struggles and those who are sharing resources. Right now I’ve been focusing on listening to people whose experiences differ from mine and I feel really lucky to be learning and growing from that.
A lot of your designs include fun characters. Is there one in particular you would say is your favorite?
Oh definitely the dog character I’ve been drawing for the past year who looks like my dog Tony. He is definitely a stand in for me, we both have a lot of anxiety.