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Her photography is candy-coloured hedonism but don’t expect any sugar-coated imagery with Maisie Cousins. From her acid-toned collages to her psychedelic pin-ups, this London-based artist is all about raw, female empowerment. In an interview with METAL, Maisie discusses female identity, sources of inspiration and the evocative power of her work.

Tell me a bit about your artistic background. When did you start creating images for your blog?

I started blogging my images at the age of 15; I used to use blogspot and then moved on to tumblr. At the time I was finding school a crap place to be and so keeping a blog actually kept me interested in things. I would bunk off college to make things all day which sounds silly now.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration?

I'm trying to limit the amount of inspiration I find online as I think it's too accessible and presented in a way that instantly looks polished. The way art looks on the internet is so different to going to a gallery or reading a book- sounds cheesy! But nothing is better than a book.

What textiles and materials are you most drawn to?

I’m often drawn to things I can get my hands on, I love to be able to make a mess and document it. I love edible things, and textures that the viewer would want to touch or taste. It's nice to take a photo that you enjoyed the experience of taking.

Your images have been described as vibrant, erotic and psychedelic. What feelings are you hoping to evoke in the viewer?

I haven't found the word for it, I want people to feel aroused but not necessarily in a sexual way- perhaps just motivated to put their hand in jelly or to roll around in some grass. I don't know, I guess I want people to feel an energy and to be involved.

Your work is provocative and often graphic, have you ever faced any criticism regarding the content of your images?

Not that I can recall. I would be upset if I did as I think art that is made to shock is a bit boring.

Who are the women that pose for your photos?

My friends or people I find on the internet - usually Instagram.

In a world where nearly every public image of a woman has been re-touched in some form or another, it is both refreshing and striking to see the female form in a more natural state. What is your personal stance on the way women are portrayed in the general media?

It's awful, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. We're in a horrible position where too much damage has been done to female identity and we are struggling to reclaim ourselves let alone make radical progress. I have faith but I feel negative, and western issues with misogyny are just the tip of the iceberg.

There is a quality about your images that is unashamedly loud and confident; I am interested to know if you have any insecurities when it comes to your own work?

I'm really critical and hate most of the photos I take until about a year later when I can see from another perspective. That's the problem with the internet; I want to upload my photos straight away. It's like I post the work to get away from it- I give the image to others and have them think about it so I don't have to anymore.

In past interviews you have mentioned being obsessed with lots of different things, what is your most recent obsession?

Collaging! I don't have much space to work in at the moment so I'm making lots of small collages and I'm obsessed with buying old books now.

How do you see your artistic style evolving over the next few years?

I hope I don't get too serious and boring but I can feel myself changing and taking a calmer approach to everything, which is worrying me a bit.


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