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Introductions: Miranda K Levy

April 19, 2011

Guildess is pleased to announce a new, but familiar addition to the directors team, Miranda K Levy. Two years ago, Levy and Brittany Parker initiated the formation of Guildess.


Biography: Miranda Levy grew up in Wilton, Wisconsin and joined the military at seventeen years of age.  She served eight years in the Army as a construction equipment mechanic where she was fortunate enough to serve in Germany for two months of the three years of her active duty service.  Shortly after her tour on active duty, she attended UW-Milwaukee where she received her BFA in Fine Arts in 2009.  Throughout her career as an artist, she has competed in several local juried exhibitions and has shown her wearable art in fashion shows at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Her artwork compares the decoration of domestic spaces with the decoration of the female body, and explores how identity is formed though this process of camouflage. Levy is currently the curator of Tenth Street Gallery, a freelance artist, and children’s photographer for LifeTouch Pre-School photography.


Managing Director, Ashley Gustafson, interviewed Levy about her life as an artist and future aspirations for Milwaukee’s art scene…

What is your experience and background in the arts?

As a child, I was always interested in the arts but it was my military background that afforded me the opportunity to attend the Peck School of the Arts where I chose to study art.  While still in college I worked as a guest curator for Kunzelmann Gallery.  Combining my passion for the arts and marketing, I curated several successful group exhibitions in this space. During my undergrad, I also worked for UWM’s visual resources art slide library where I digitized over 50,000 images for professors at UWM. Currently, I am the curator of 10th Street Gallery in downtown Milwaukee where I have developed and implemented an education program for MPS High Schools lacking arts education alongside our flourishing gallery. I am also an avid fibers artist and fashion designer.  I have exhibited in over 20 galleries since 2007 and have designed four commissioned fashion lines, three of which were presented at the Milwaukee Art Museum.


How do you bridge your interests in photography, fashion, and fine art?

I think that the creative process is what structures the “bridge” for me. Photography, fashion design and fine art, are just categories that my work falls into. Work that doesn’t neatly fit into just one of these categories is often the most intriguing to me. In my art I often find myself laboriously fabricating wallpaper or garments, to be used only as props in a photograph. I enjoy creating spaces, performing inside of them, creating a document that exists as just a photograph, and watching my story become factual evidence of a moment in time. In a way, it’s how I make my memories a reality. My creation of props/garments for these photographs, has led me to exhibit my work in fashion shows, a natural progression perhaps. At first, I was hesitant to display my work as fashion design but it has allowed me to share my work with a wider audience and explore my creative boundaries.


What prompted you to start Guildess back in 2009? 

I started thinking about organizing an artist group because I felt there would be a void in critique once I finished my undergrad. These critiques, coming from mainly the women in my classes, were invaluable to my art making process. I worried that without this continued communication that I would suffer as an artist.  I discussed this concern with LeAnn Garrison, Chair of the Department of Art & Design at Peck, and she suggested that I start an female artist group to ensure a continued art dialogue and support from my fellow peers. This was something that she had done when she finished college and she felt it had been a productive endeavor. I discussed this idea with a fellow artist, Brittany Parker and we then co-founded Guildess. Our goals were to unite female artists, hold critiques,  provide a place for female artists to grow and learn, to organize shows for our artists, and to be involved in the community we live in.


Do you have a vision for where you would like to see the Milwaukee art scene in the next ten years?

I would like to see Milwaukee become the artist hub that it has the ability to be. Milwaukee is the home to many up and coming talented artists, musicians, performers, and actors. In the next ten years, I hope to see mid-career artist’s creating artist communes in order to provide mentorship and space for young artists to work. If seasoned artists share their knowledge with younger artists, it will set a high standard for art in Milwaukee. Creating residencies for local and non-local artists, urging open and honest critiques,  and collaboration among artists all will  also aid in the growth of Milwaukee’s art scene.


If you could choose one woman who inspires you most, who would that be and why?

The most inspirational woman in my life was my great grandmother, Delores Hooks. She  introduced me to embroidery, hand stitching, and knitting at a really young age.  She passed on her knowledge and desire for creating fibers garments and objects to me. I remember as a young girl, sitting and watching her knit, infatuated by the repetition and noise of her needles clicking together. I was in awe of everything she did. She created an afghan blanket for each of her grandchildren, and that blanket will always be one of my most prized possessions. When I see it, I think of her and never forget her undying patience. She continued her craft until she passed away during the summer of 2010 at the age of 93.

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