Although I first saw Neonita on walls around London, she’s also an accomplished illustrator and works in a variety of different materials. As a trained fine artist her skills in life drawing are clear. However, Neonita is best known for her odd, colourful, bizarre, but seldom threatening characters.
I was an army kid so I grew up moving about, which had a massive impact on me as a kid, teaching me to be adaptable. I decided I was going to be an artist aged seven because making stuff was my comfort when I was in a new or difficult situation (art is defiantly my therapy).
Check out Neonita’s slideshow…
I ended up in Bristol at fifteen which is where I found graffiti; I loved the colours and the idea of having your work outside. I started using spray paint outside when I was eighteen but stopped again at twenty as I was painting on my own; I was nervous about being out late at night alone plus wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I really began painting properly three years ago aged twenty five.
I’ve always drawn and made my own characters; cartoons inspired me when I was a kid but I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV so I made up my own. My imagination has always been a powerful tool to help me take my mind off things. I get a buzz when I make something new or push myself. The characters don’t really have a meaning they are more about making people smile or some twisted reflection of human characters I see in everyday life.
I have always had a fascination with colour and since I was eighteen I’ve been using fluorescent colours in my work. Because I like playing with light, lots of my paintings are made to be seen in daylight and ultra violet light in the dark, sometimes I use glow in the dark as well. Contrasting colours also make my work stand out.
I’ve worked with pretty much everything papers, paint, pens, ink, fabrics, cardboard and work on the computer. I love trying new things so I’m up for giving anything a go, at the moment I’m working on some screen print ideas along with paper and plastics.
Neonita around the World
I’m usually skint so I’ve only painted in France, Germany and England. I’ve got plans for Denmark and Spain this year though! I mostly paint in London where I’m living now but I don’t find London as supportive as other cities. Bristol is a great city for street art and graffiti; I feel it has really encouraged some great work and makes the city a bright and interesting place to be. I know that the general public enjoy seeing bright and unusual images - it makes a change from the thousands of adverts we are continually bombarded with.
Also, I’m currently learning to teach English as a foreign language; I’m going to travel the Trans-Siberian Railway into China. I am curious as to what painting in China will like and what its like to be a creative person over there.
Neonita in the Community
I love doing community work. I have always felt that art should be for everyone and I really enjoy helping people see their own potential. I like talking with people who feel they don’t understand art or have been made to feel it’s not on their level. It sometimes feels like there is a big myth surrounding art - that only special arty people can enjoy it.
I also really enjoy helping kids and young people because I know from my own childhood that having a creative outlet can really help boost confidence and give you pride in yourself. I have also made murals out in the community with the help of people of all ages from that area. This is a great way to get people together and brighten up a place that might other wise look depressing. I like the idea that someone who has never painted can have some ownership over a mural in the place they live.
Girls on Top (GOT) Crew
I’ve only just joined Girls on Top (GOT), which was formed around 2001 by Chock and Ned. It exists to unite the girls in the graff scene because it’s really male dominated. It gets boring being the only girl painting in a group. We put on jams once a year when we try and get as many girls to paint together as possible. Current members are Chock, Neonita, Cry, Pixie, Punish, Luna and Claudia de Sabe.
I am seeing now that there are a lot of women out there that are painting and many more that are really up for giving it a go. It is still a tiny proportion of street artists / graffiti writers who are female. I can a change as girls see other women painting and realize how possible it is. I don’t think gender is relevant - women bring something new to the table which could be good for graffiti. At the end of the day if it has style it doesn’t matter who made it.