Interview by Clare Myers
Graphic by Juliette Baxter
If you’ve caught sight of a cool gal rocking Frida Kahlo earrings or celebrating Australian wildlife on her lobes around the capital, you’ve no doubt witnessed the wonderful, wearable art of Mimir Soboslay Moore – founder, artist and brains behind Mimir Art. Armed with a passion for art, ethics, and environmentally friendly fashion, she’s truly a force to be reckoned with. We at Bossy sought to jump onto her positive wavelength with a look into the ways and workings of this local artistic wunderkind.
What made you pursue a career in art?
There wasn’t really an exact moment, it was more a long journey. I’ve been surrounded by art since I was a kid, so I haven’t known anything else. To me, it’s my art and my expression. I haven’t had any real training outside of school.
My dad and my mum have both been in the art industry, so it was quite a normal and supportive conversation when I suggested that I wanted to pursue art as a career. They’ve been able to talk me through any problems that have come up.
What is your philosophy towards your work?
I want to do something that’s positive and inclusive. I also want to be mindful of what I create, and make sure it’s body inclusive and environmentally conscious. I think the more we introduce these concepts to smaller businesses, the more these ideas will catch on. Big businesses are cheaper because of mass production, but people are still willing to pay more for something that isn’t harming the environment and is more positive overall.
How do you feel navigating an artistic business alone?
It can be pretty intimidating and obviously very easy to get lost with. I’ve had to learn to respect myself and to actually value my time and artwork. To some, art is ‘just a drawing’. It is not easy to see the hours spent completing something. I’ve had to learn how to build up my own structure and become independent. That being said, I’ve had a lot of support through my family. They’ve become my main source of help.
Looking at the more monetary side of things, do you ever feel like you have to sacrifice artistic integrity for business and money?
Sometimes I do. I’m really lucky that I still live at home and I have a job on the side so I don’t have to be too concerned about making enough money from my art to live on. But there are times when I look at the prices of my earrings and think that I am underpricing them. At the same time, I want it to be accessible to people. So it’s about finding that balance between making money and making sure people my age who are going to uni and are on a budget are still able to appreciate artistic goods. My market is definitely geared towards uni students, whereas most artisan jewellers are marketing towards middle-aged women who have stable incomes, a few kids, and money to spare. That’s why it isn’t a stretch for them to drop serious money on a single pair of earrings.
I guess when I price my earrings, I ask myself, “Would I pay that much?”
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Obviously, there’s the mentality of ‘you’re making money and you can live off this art as a career’. But, for me, it’s about gaining a permanent foothold in the artistic community, having a standing there and developing mutual respect with other artists.
At the moment, I’m getting there. I’m planning on moving out and I believe being on my own will push me harder to make this a sustainable career choice. Part of me is hesitant to further the business until I am sure of which path I want to go down. There are so many different areas in art I enjoy, and I haven’t defined what I want to do yet.
What advice would you give other people considering pursuing art as a career?
I would give business-savvy advice. Don’t throw yourself into it straight away. Start slow and don’t rush. I hate saying this, because it doesn’t sound ‘fun’, but the artistic industries are hard businesses to establish yourself in, so start small, and build up your customer base.
How do you view Canberra, as opposed to Sydney or Melbourne, in terms of starting an artistic business and building up a career in art?
I see potential in Canberra. There are people trying to build a community of artists – Canberra has a sparse and spread out population of artists that you only see very rarely.
In hindsight, maybe Canberra wasn’t the best place to start an artistic business. Maybe it would be a good city to come back to. All that being said, I love Canberra, and it would be incredible for it to become a massive arts hub in Australia. It has so much space, and there are people here!
How much do you rely on social media?
I hate to say it but I think it’s everything now. You have to connect with so many people nowadays. You have to stay active and show people what you’re up to, all to maintain interest and engagement with your business.
I find it difficult though. Personally, I think social media can be toxic. I struggle to use it in my personal life, so it’s difficult to maintain that presence online for my business.
Why do you think social media is toxic?
I think we have been raised to constantly compare ourselves to other people. It used to be magazines and now it’s moved into a different medium. No matter how much we try to love our bodies and tell ourselves that we don’t need to compare ourselves to others, judgment is so engrained in our society now. Even if you’re not negatively judging other people, you’re probably negatively judging yourself. No matter how much you try to separate yourself from that mentality, surrounding yourself with social media constantly reminds you of your faults.
Do you use art to escape this social media toxicity?
I’ve always used art in a positive way. Creating something that’s body positive and inclusive is really important to me.
Is this mentality channelled through your own social media platform?
Yeah, absolutely. I feel a responsibility to be welcoming and diverse. If you have a platform, no matter how small, people will receive your image and its message as what you believe in. So I want what I broadcast to be positive and to show people – especially women – for who they are without artificial glorification. I also want to show younger girls that there are women out there who are succeeding and thriving.
How does your practice empower you?
A sense of satisfaction and independence comes from creating something from scratch that is your own. I feel empowered when I create something that is wholly mine.
How do you predict your business will evolve over time?
A combination of bush bashing and a set pathway. I do have a vision that I would like to see happen. I want to create an artist collective, have collective spaces such as galleries and studios. To create a supportive community is everything. But, at the same time, I do like taking things as they come, and jumping onto opportunities as they arise.
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Mimir is a little more of what the world needs. Aside from her obvious knack for art and business, her talent lies in channelling positive, ethical, and all-round good vibes into her work. All in all, our chat gave me hope for the future of art, sustainable business, and community in Canberra, and left me with no doubt of the bright future that lies ahead for Mimir, her art, and her career.