Madame Kawaii

« I'm 28 year old born and raised in Worcestershire UK. By day I am a senior graphic designer for a newspaper / magazine group. By night I go by the name “Miss Wah” creating illustrations, doodles, murals, commissions and digital art. You name it, I do it. »

She's full of energy, can write and draw on the beach or in a naughty street at night, she likes pink and kawaii. She's addict to social networks, and always uses humour, even on emails. Here comes Miss Wah!


* How did you get in touch with drawing and graffiti?

I think I started like most artists, doodling and sketching for fun from a very young age, I remember in my school days all my work books where covered in characters that would pop into my head. Throughout my life I've always been very artistic, drawing on everything I could get my hands on (including several important letters from the bank and magazines I found laying around (most of which had a female model with a fake smile - who usually got turned into pirates with eye patches and black teeth).

I think my main push was only a few years back when my father brought me some spray paint and stencils for Christmas.. (Being that I am in my late 20's - I think he realised it was safe enough for me to posses such things and wouldn't have to pick me up from the police station after tagging a bus stop) Before long I was creating canvases, stickers, pastes and then onto marker murals and taking the leap into spray paint pieces at the start of 2013!


* What were your inspirations back in the days?

I used to love Disney and all things magical (I still do actually!) so maybe that is where the cuteness comes from .. I can't really remember that far back!

I did recently however find my collection of "POGS" a game from the 90's, The artwork on the little cardboard disks are just AWESOME! I found myself getting very nostalgic .. Maybe those little characters stayed at the back of my mind all these years!


* How did you become Miss Wah?

A fellow designer in my office gave me my name as a nickname about 5 years ago. My name is Sarah and he used to called me Sar-Wahhhhh -usually rather loudly- that then turned into just Wah after time.

When I started making stickers I used to use the name Wah... At the time the local scene was very male dominated so wanted to give a little bit of a feminine touch to the streets (and also so people didn't think I was a guy with girly pink stickers). From then on I became Miss Wah. So big thanks to Lee for christening me by fluke all those years ago :)


* You seem to be into Street art, it's kinda more a male activity, how did you find your place? is that harder for a woman?

Street art is a very male orientated environment but I think it has evolved a lot since it began, some of the most amazingly talented street artists are female and holding their own all around the world.

As you can see my artwork is very girly and cute so I wouldn't stand a chance in a street tagger battle or anything like that! - But I enjoy what I do. It makes me smile. I mean if you saw a ice-cream or cupcake with ears in real life I'm sure you would smile (am I right?)

I have to say since I started i have had nothing but praise and enthusiasm from both male and female artists and I feel very lucky for all the support I have received. I respect each and every artist for their enthusiasm and passion for what they do, But like most things people have their own individual likes and dislikes so your never going to be able to please everybody. I’m quite happy living in my little world full of random characters and pink, lots of pink ;)


* Street art in England is very famous now, Banksy is kinda responsible, do you have a look on his work?

Totally, I really admire the guy who ever he may be, his witty and political work is world renowned and has brought street art into the headlines more and more. I think its great and has inspired a lot of people to get involved with expressing them selves via art. I do however think a lot of his work has been totally over used by people producing products without permission and taken away the magic of something he works hard to do.

I love the mystery of him, a bit like Batman with less cape and more can ;) His recent work in New York has been awesome.


* How can you describe your style?

My work is a mixture of all the things that make me happy, happy characters with a few skulls thrown in for a hint of darkness. Lots of pink and pastel colours all with a Japanese vibe and huge hints of "Kawaii" (That's Japanese for "cute" don't you know ;) I also tend to add little symbols / quotes from my favourite movies and tv shows. Most are so subtitle people may not even notice they are there.

* You draw a lot of Japan kitten things, with a lot of colors too, do you have a look on some japan artists? did you go there?

Quite honestly I draw what pops into my head at the time, I’ve always loved art that is cute and makes me happy and after I discovered the term “kawaii” that’s when I found a name for my character style.

One of the first characters I fell in love with is called “Treeson” by Hong Kong Illustrator Bubi Au Yeung. Her characters are beautiful, simple designs with enough cuteness to melt hearts.  

I feel my creativity would probably go into overdrive and I imagine myself running round Japan with a huge grin on my face and clapping my hands in excitement like a complete fool. (I do that a lot! ;) 
Japan is defiantly somewhere I want to visit in my lifetime.

* What is your favourite thing to draw on? and the weirdest thing you've been ask to work on?

Large white wall or board, mixed with thick black POSCA, headphones & some tunes are what dreams are made of! - I would quite happily do that for hours.

I also love to use my Moleskine sketchbook when I’m travelling or relaxing at home -normally working in simple black and white fine line to create page after page of random doodles.

Erm, weirdest thing? – I have doodled on several people in the past (willingly might I add – I don’t tend to draw on people in the street – that would just be weird ;) It’s not really weird but I would say one of my most challenging pieces was the Surf Board at the Rip Curl GromSearch in Croyde. Trying to keep a surf board still, while drawing in gale force wind & rain was a real challenge - It was a bit like trying to sketch while being flung around on a bucking bronco.


* You said 2013 was a nice year...

Yep, totally 2013 has been simply amazing! I have been lucky enough to gain sponsorship with POSCA and travel the country doing live events and paint with some huge names in Street Art world.

I’ve also worked with companies including the awesome  Hobbycraft, Stickems™, Wrappz™, Anime Imports, Tofu Cute and Kawaii Cupboard and gained a few celebrity followers on twitter. In between all the above I squeezed in a trip to Paris to paint with fellow street artist Artista which was a huge amount of fun.. but I think the highlight has to be Upfest in Bristol.

Hundreds of artists applied to take part and I was lucky enough to be selected… (My first ever time applying and about the sixth I had ever painted!)  Upfest is the largest street art festival in Europe. Around 250 artists from all round the world created artwork on buildings, boards, and my good friend My Dog Sighs even painted a van! (with permission of course ) I met some amazing people and gained some special memories I will never forget.


* You work with companies, do you consider Street art as personal work? do you have some others personal projects?

Having a full time job as well as doing my events, doesn’t leave a huge amount of time for anything else …  But I think it’s important to do work for ‘you’, it keeps the enjoyment fresh. One piece I finished recently was a blank skate deck that I picked up on my travels - I created an intricate fine line design across one side and it has become a piece I’m really proud of.

I had every intension of keeping it for myself but like most pieces.. I would rather someone else enjoy them as much as me.I have been invited to exhibit in gallery show called ‘Art in my Mouth’ based in Norwich, UK this November. I’m really excited for this show, I will be showing work along side some hero’s of mine (Including massively awesome ‘London Police’). So I think the deck will be one of my submitted pieces.


* You are pretty comfortable with social networks, today's artists must be connected to exist?

I would be lost without social networks. I mean who doesn't wake up and instantly check Facebook, followed by Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube? -Erm, ok maybe that’s just me- But on a serious note, it's huge platform for artists and thankfully most of it is free.

It's opened a lot of doors for artists including myself but I don't think you have to be online to exist as an artist. It is however a great place to test new ideas and promote your work to people that may not even know what street art is!

* To conclude, what's your favourite color?

PINK! of course!! -don’t get me wrong I don’t wear a lot of pink or have a pink house- I just love the colour; it’s just so happy and cute! I always have to force myself to use other colours, but I think I have found a palette I’m happy with baby blue, purple, cream and pink, or should I say WAH PINK ;)