Studio Staple MK Opens Up About Her First Solo Show “Emotional Rescue”

Artist loveMKM talks about her up coming solo exhibition at Gowanus Print Lab

Interview with Victoria Wallace

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VW: Tell us about your upcoming show! Is it your first exhibition?

MK: Yes! It’s my first solo show. I’ve been making art “officially” for two years, in a way that I quit my full-time job solely to make art. For a long time I’ve been saying I wanted to do a solo show but I was never really prepared for it. This past summer I didn’t do much creative work but did a lot of personal work and took time for myself. I came in one day to work with Remy (studio manager) and said, “I think I want to do a solo show here,” and she said, “okay, yeah!” and it just happened. I had the courage to ask and she said yes, and the puzzle pieces had locked in together at that time, but it had been a long-term goal for me for at least a year.


VW: Absolutely, so do you think being at the Gowanus Print Lab had a lot to do with locking in a solo show in that respect?

MK: Oh my gosh, yes. I became a member here in November of 2014 and took the 6 week screen printing class. I didn’t even know how to screen print before then but I wanted to create street art, and screen printing is a great method for making editions. And then I was here all the time, I got to know all of the employees, I started working here, and one thing lead to another and now I feel like Gowanus (Print Lab) is like my second home. It was a really inviting and cool space for me and I definitely felt welcomed here. When I started screen printing here on the regular I needed some help with little things like Photoshop and the employees and other members here were so generous with their knowledge and just so kind. A lot of people that work here have seen me come from making the very first print to what the culmination of the show is, so I’m honored to be able to do it and grateful to the print lab for letting me take over. It’s so special because this is where I created literally everything that’s about to be displayed so it’s kind of got that really cool element.


VW: You started originally with street art for print making and your “Love Yourself” print can be stumbled across by many out in the world. Similarly, your solo show is titled “Emotional Rescue,” do you think the same self-love based message translates in your work right now?

MK: Absolutely, when I started making art I was utilizing as a form of self expression and when I started the “Love Yourself” street art it was a way for me to express my own journey and a way for me to share something publicly that I was really working on. People see the “Love Yourself” street art all the time and people can translate it whatever it means to them. I remember at a time when I was living and working in the city and feeling so down all the time–so when I started the “Love Yourself” street art I decided to put something out there that I’ve struggled with and I’m going to let other people see it and maybe it can make a positive impact on somebody else’s day. “Love Yourself,” “Emotional Rescue,” the whole point is how I basically quit doing everything else in my life and dedicated myself to self-love, healing, and getting through things within myself that needed addressing.


VW: Do you see the printmaking process as a way to work through these feelings? More specifically how does the printmaking process translate for you and why is it your medium of choice?

MK: Printmaking as an art form can be very tedious–it requires a lot of thought and a lot of set-up. When I’m tackling a print job I very much enjoy the mechanical nature of it. All of those little processes make it feel like something is happening and I’m making something that is going to be put into the public. Alternatively, a lot of the paintings I make allow me to express myself incredibly quick and that’s a really good alternative to the technical screen printing process. Sometimes I’ll even screen print on top of those canvases after painting on them with plastisol. Overall it is very therapeutic to be in this shared space and to be around artists and other people that are creating.


VW: Do you see this series of work continuing after “Emotional Rescue”?

MK: I’ve been thinking about that a lot myself–”Emotional Rescue” is going to tie up the first two years of my art in a nice little package and I don’t know what the next project is going to be. I’ve been working a lot with textile designs, and I’ll be wearing a dress at the event that’s made from one of my fabrics. I think I’m going to try more with fabric design and use “LoveMKM,” “Love Yourself,” and all of those elements as a little bit more of a branding. In my dream world I would love to do a collaboration with a label the way Gucci is working with Trouble Andrew right now and create a capsule collection to express my creativity that way with the support of a major, already functioning fashion label.


VW: And do you have any advice for artists that are absolutely terrified to quit their day jobs and jump into becoming a full-time artist?

MK: I planned it out for a really long time–I had a career in fashion retail management on 5th Avenue and grew dissatisfied with my career path so I started to create an exit plan for myself. It took nearly five years, and at first I wasn’t scared at all, and then after I was making art full-time I was terrified. There were a lot of emotional ups and downs and I’d say for anyone looking into it to make a plan and be prepared, and that’s the best thing that you can do. I’d like to thank the people who have come together to help make my show a dream come true. First of all, the staff at Gowanus Print Lab, obvi. Special shout out to Remy and Brian (studio owner)! Catherine Taveras, my show producer; Jeff Beler, the curator; and Angel Green at Mivida Market. Not only are these awesome people my friends, but great professionals at what they do. Thank you all and the millions of others I couldn’t list here!


Check out loveMKM’s work here.

Check out interviewer Victoria Wallace’s work here.

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