INSPIRE+DO GOOD#2: MissMe, Street Artist/e de rue

MissMe is a Montreal-based artist whose work you've seen everywhere from the walls of Mile End to the exhibit space at the Phi centre. She's ''an activist, feminist, and one of the most recognized outlaw artists in North America''. Why? Because she gave up her 'real' job in advertising to become an artist whose work asks women to examine how they see themselves, and asks men to examine how they view women. 

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MissMe est une artiste féministe montréalaise dont le canevas principal est la rue - son site web la décrit comme étant une «vandale artistique». Elle est activiste car elle ose - elle à quitté le monde de la pub pour créer des images qui sont non seulement impossibles à ignorer, mais qui  nous font questionner : comment une femme se voit-elle ? À qui appartient sa sexualité ? 

What do you do that's inspiring? Que fais-tu d'inspirant ?

How can I decide what’s inspiring to others?…I’ll say what people write to me. I speak my truth and I'm doing it unapologetically, but I'm not doing it in a judgemental way to others and other truths, I think.

What propelled you to do what you do? Qu'est-ce qui t'a amené à faire ce que tu fais ?

I was dying. And it was like you’re drowning and you know that moment when you (gasps for air) go back to the surface –it was that. I was dying from the inside, I was disappearing and I had to exist and breathe fully...(It was about) survival. Living fully. I wasn’t desperate, I was just slowly getting extinct. It was a very violent thing happening in a very quiet way.

Who or what inspires you? Qui ou quoi t’inspire ?

SO many people. The two that come to mind right now would be my grandmother on my mother's side - she was a survivor, and Simone Veil – she’s been on my mind a lot lately. I really want to draw her.

What scares you? Qu’est-ce qui te fait peur ?

Donald Trump (laughs). Not having kids.

If you had to stop doing what you do, then what? Si tu étais forcée d'arrêter ce que tu fais, tu...?

I'll find another way to translate it. It will just take another form.

What is the best thing about being a woman? Quel est l’avantage d’être femme ?

The truth that comes with it, the magic...I don’t know what it is to be a man, or whoever doesn’t qualify as a woman. What I know of being a woman I find beautiful and empowering – it is a connection to life and spirit and yourself through your body. And when you’re a woman that loves women, it’s so powerful.

 MissMe's Saint Barbara, at Santa Barbara restaurant. 

MissMe's Saint Barbara, at Santa Barbara restaurant. 

What’s the hardest part about being a woman? Et quel est l’aspect le plus difficile en tant que femme ?

All the patriarchal sh*t that is not put upon us by others, but that has been bred within us. And the low self esteem…I've never spoken about men being against women – never. Because I don’t believe it, the men around me are huge feminists... So for me it’s a mentality that lives within us...Like, let go of the men - I’m talking about us (women): we have to liberate ourselves within first. 

What do you want your obituary to say about your life? Que voudrais-tu qu’on dise sur toi à ta mort ?

That I mattered. That I used my life and I had a positive impact on the maximum (number of) people in work, dignity and love.

What advice can you give people who want to DO something but don’t know how? Quel conseil donnerais-tu à quelqu’un qui veut FAIRE du bien dans le monde mais ne sait pas comment ?

Try to liberate yourself from your fears – it's impossible to fully do it, but recognize what is fear. 'Cos we confuse comfort and ‘gut feeling’…which is really just, fear...Try. And try not to think that it’s gonna define you, so that you won't judge you and people won't judge you if you fail.

If you were a man, what would you do to empower the girls around you? Si tu étais un homme, que ferais-tu pour soutenir les femmes ?

Try to show them what I see, which is power, strength, beauty and worth. I don’t know if I was a man or a woman, if I would do it differently...

Anything to add about inspiration? As-tu autre chose à dire sur l’inspiration ?

That fact that we (as women) are more loud and that we should be more loud should not make us less open and more judgemental towards others.