PORTSMOUTH, UK – Instagram has been a driving force in spreading Portsmouth based street artist, Midge’s work. Use the hashtag #thisismidge and it will serve up a plethora of beautiful hand painted black & white furry wide-eyed creatures lounging around on backdrops of vintage newsprint and aged sheet music.
Recently Midge and fellow Portsmouth artist, My Dog Sighs, caused quite a stir around London when they plastered prominent hot-spots like Shoreditch and Brick Lane with their collaborative series of paste ups.
Because I’m unduly curious about the affairs of others and I got tired of stalking Midge via her Instagram – I rang her up to chat.
HM: Your latest collaboration with, MyDogSighs was Instagram gold. I loved following the project and seeing what pieces people had found. We received so many emails during that time from your fans telling us we should cover it.
Midge: It was my first time in London doing something like this – feeling like a kid again trying to quickly scrawl something up on the wall and then running away. I found it a bit scary and then a bit of a rush, and now I just want to go back and do it again. I’ll be a bit more subtle about it next time and not have those shifty eyes. I probably looked really suspicious.
HM: It’s not often that you see hand painted originals being pasted up. I’m really drawn in by the vintage papers you use – it adds another dimension to the work. I don’t know if it’s a stretch, but I often get the feeling you choose the paper based on its wording. I find that so incredible, the amount of time you put into something so tangible and temporary when it could be taken down within minutes – with street art that’s the nature of the beast.
Midge: There something a bit more special about leaving an original, it’s never going be replicated – once it’s gone its gone.
And I love using vintage paper. I do prefer to use sheet music because of the lyrics. I try to pick sheets that have nice lyrics, then I can create something on it to reflect that and relate it to the song. The collaboration with My Dog Sighs was done on old Portsmouth newspaper, I thought it was more relevant considering that’s where we’re both from.
HM: The one thing we got asked repeatedly was if we knew how many pieces you guys collaborated on. People love knowing whether or not they’ve seen them all.
Midge: I think we’ve done 6 or 7 pieces together. We both pasted up our own pieces as well during that time.
HM: I noticed on your Instagram that you leave artwork out on the streets for some lucky bastard to find as part of Portsmouth’s ‘Free Art Friday’.
Midge: Yeah, every Friday artists leave free art out for the community. It’s so exciting because you don’t know how someone’s going feel about your art. I still haven’t gotten used to the ‘letting go’ part of it, but whenever we get an emotional response it makes me feel so good. Someone being emotionally affected by finding something you created, it’s a really lovely feeling – we’re building on this community.
HM: So what’s next?
Midge: I’m working on more pieces. Liking a piece is one thing but falling in love with a piece of artwork is something you connect with – that’s really important. I really want to build on that message. You have to make an impact while you have a chance.
photo credit: Susan Mackey