Mia Taninaka: Free Spirited Artist On The Lam. Photos: D.Hump
RIGHTO, who is Mia Taninaka?
Mmm I don’t think I can sum that up in a few sentences. And if I could, I would consider myself to be an incredibly boring person. Today, I’m quite content.
How did you grow up, and where are you from?
I grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, but spent parts of my youth travelling through South-East Asia with my family. I think this definitely opened up my eyes and interests to a whole other way of thinking, eating and living. Since quitting my job a couple of years ago, I’ve tried to devote most of my free time to travelling and generally having a good time.
You strike us as a free spirit…is that why you draw so many eagles in your work?
I’ve always loved birds and their ability to see the world from a completely different perspective to the rest of us land folk. Eagles, to me, epitomise freedom, beauty and strength, qualities we should all aspire to a bit more.
Your other influences seem to be a mix of India and maybe American Indian? We’re just guessing…but it looks like there’s a lot of folklore going on.
I’m hugely inspired by the deeply rooted cultures of India, South American shamanism and Native American folklore. They, along with many other tribal peoples, have maintained a deep connection with the natural and spiritual world. Everything they do is in harmony with nature. The Western world has lost this connection and as a result has lost its way.
Tell us about your art, and how you got started.
I started drawing, painting and creating from an early age but I didn’t really start taking it seriously until I finished my major art project in high school. It was the first time I had to think about what I was painting and creating a finished piece of work to show to someone other than close friends and family. After that I continued to paint, and a couple of years later my boyfriend at the time organised for a gallery to show some of my pieces. I’ve been happily painting and exhibiting ever since.
How would you describe your style?
A wild and wonderful journey through the many magical layers of the natural world.
What interests you about life?
I’m completely consumed by love, nature, good food, beauty, travel, adventure and knowledge.Sounds corny, but feels lovely. I think we
live in this big beautiful universe and people are so involved in making money and careers to buy things they don’t need that they totally miss all the magic surrounding us.
Have you ever had a job? Like in a supermarket or something? Or a bank?
I’ve worked various occupations from checkout-chick to bar-girl to graphic designer and have come to the conclusion that I’m not really one for offices, long work hours or having to ask for time off. It’s much more satisfying working for yourself, the results you achieve are purely determined by how hard you work. I also get to go on lots of holidays and enjoy my freedom.
What’s the toughest thing about you?
My new hiking boots which I’m currently wearing in the chilly New Zealand Alps.
What’s the weakest?
My freezing cold fingers.
Where did you get the name for your blog…Wolfie and Huck?
Well I love wolves and my boyfriend kind of reminds me a bit of Huckleberry Finn so I just made up a little love story about them with that title and it stuck.
What exhibitions have you got coming up and where can we see more of your work?
I’m currently working on some side projects and have a few group shows planned for the later in the year. I’ll also be launching my online store within the next month, and will be setting up my new studio as soon as I get off this mountain and back to sunny Bali.
Any last words?
‘You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you’ – Isadora Duncan