Mia Warner is exhibiting ‘Feel Good Summer Mural’ at the The Northcote.
We asked Mia some questions about her art practice and ideas.
Julie: Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the Leytonstone Arts Trail in 2016.
Mia Warner: I have painted a small mural at the Northcote Arms in Leyton.
I was looking for a wall to experiment with, as I loved the idea of using my traditional signpainting techniques on a slightly larger scale. The Northcote is a fantastic, happy friendly place and is a wonderful part of our community. The brilliant landlady, Tuesday, was looking for some colour in her pub garden so I saw this as a great opportunity. We had a look together and thought the BBQ might be a great space to play with. We both wanted something fun and playful in that space that would evoke the feeling of summer, fun, friends and happiness – everything that you would expect when the pub BBQ opens!
Julie: This is the 9th LAT. Have you taken part in the Trail before and what did you do?
Mia Warner: I have only moved to Leyton in the last few months and have never taken part in the Trail before. This community has been nothing but welcoming and supportive towards me and my work and there are some amazingly talented people working around here. I am honoured to be a small part of something so great.
Julie: Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education.
Mia Warner: I studied Graphic Design at the University of Brighton and discovered two things – I loved typography and the study of letters, and I hated computers. A strange mix for a graphics student! Luckily, I had a brilliant tutor who picked up on the fact that I was interested in lettering and introduced me to the worlds of signpainting, calligraphy and hand-rendered lettering. I became completely obsessed. After graduating I trained with two brilliant teachers (Cooper from Dapper Signs in Bristol and Mike Meyer, an incredible signwriter from Mazeppa, Minnesota) and have been painting letters ever since.
Julie: How would you describe your art practice? What kind of things inspire you to create art?
Mia Warner: I rarely look upon my practise as a form of self-expression. For me, signpainting is so full of history. As a craft that precedes computers, techniques have been passed down from generation to generation and it is amazing that signpainters today are so willing to pass on their expertise. It means the traditional methods of application are being performed and perfected in the same way today as they were so many years ago. I am obsessed with the process of creating each sign, rather than the concept behind them. There is a currently a huge appreciation of the hand-painted sign in the UK which is only going to grow stronger. Human craft is timeless – machines can do amazing things but there will never be anything that carries as much passion and soul as hand-rendered work.
Julie: How would you describe a good day in the studio?
Mia Warner: A good day in the studio starts with coffee (ideally from Deeney’s or Yardarm! Both in Leyton) and a flick through some of my books or a Pinterest browse for inspiration. I might spend the morning finishing up some calligraphy for a wedding or laying out the pattern for a sign for a shop facade, but my favourite days are when I’m painting on site. I meet so many brilliant and interesting people doing my job and I love the point at which I come in. The cafe or shop or venue that I am painting is usually almost finished, and I feel like painting the sign on the door or window or panel is what starts to make the new place feel real and complete. It’s a very exciting process, and one that is incredibly satisfying to watch.
Julie: What challenges (if any) do you face in preparing yourself and your work for the Trail?
Mia Warner: Tuesday has made it very easy for me – she’s given me complete creative reign over this project so I haven’t really faced any challenges. Other than getting it finished on time! It will pretty much be freshly painted when the trail starts!
Julie: Do you collect art?
Mia Warner: I collect prints and lettering ephemera.
Julie: Please tell us something you really like about Leytonstone.
Mia Warner: I fell in love with Leytonstone when I saw the stunning tribute mosaics to Alfred Hitchcock at the station.
Julie: Besides the Trail, what is coming up next for you and where can we see more of your art in the flesh or on-line?
Mia Warner: You can find more of my work at www.miawarner.com or a more detailed behind-the-scenes look on my instagram @mia.warner.signpainter.
You can also see my signs all over Yardarm on Francis Road, and Deeney’s on Leyton High Road.