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MIA FONSSAGRIVES-SOLOW
50 Years Working With Wood And Metals (And Skinny Black Pants…)
Fempire 08 Dec 2015

50 Years Working With Wood And Metals (And Skinny Black Pants…)
Practicing Artist and Sculptor, New York

Style Talk Mia Slider
Being the daughter of the French photographer Fernand Fonssagrives and Swedish model Lisa Fonssagrives, and the stepdaughter of Irving Penn, Mia Fonssagrives-Solow was born in the world of art. Her roots as a jewellery designer, painter and sculptor began early in childhood when she was exposed to buffing brass into shiny bangles in the farm workshop with her stepfather. Having spanned over 50 years working with wood and metals, Mia’s works, along with her signature pieces like the chic robot pendant in silver and gold, are detail-intensive demonstrating her prodigious ability to transcend natural materials into dreamlike creations. Today, Mia is still tirelessly unleashing her outstanding finesse in New York, with art pieces being showcased in a range of galleries including Gagosian Gallery, Eric Firestone Gallery, Charles Feingarten Gallery, and Elaine Benson Gallery. Her works have also been featured at the Maeght Foundation in Paris and is available through the Galerie Agnès Monplaisir. Other than being a big name in art, Mia is now a dedicated mother of two sons, Stefan and Nikolai, as well as a warm-hearted grandmother!
In this Style Talk, Mia talks to us about the charm of Stella McCartney black sweatshirt and pinky air-like Nike sneakers, her recent purchase of the Chinese artist Yao Lu’s photographs featuring mounds of garbage, and why she always gets a buzz from her darling husband – Sheldon Solow.
My ideal working outfit looks like…
For sculpting, I wear Joe Boxer cotton knit bottoms made for teenage boys and a t-shirt. But for lunch and voguing I love skinny black pants and or a Hermes top, or a Desigual men’s, long sleeve, knit top with graffiti. I also love the opposite, a black top with Damien Hirst leggings. He creates such wild patterns.
Heels or flats…? Which brand or style…?
For sculpting I stick to socks that grip, but for lunch in the city I either wear Repetto flats or Nike sneakers. The sneakers are so light you can hold them with your pinky; they’re like air. Mine are made of a light breathable fishnet-like material in pink, orange, and yellow. I also had a pair in navy and lime green, but I painted those black. I change things all the time. Having been a fashion designer, there’s nothing I buy that I can just wear. I always have to change it in some to make it my own.
My favorite art-related blog/app is…
The Art Gorgeous and Artnet.
The last thing I bought and loved was…
A Stella McCartney black sweatshirt with multi-colored superhero faces on it. It’s so me. It’s black, which is a good color with white hair, and the faces reminded me of the robots in my sculpture and jewelry.
My personal style signifier(s)/identifier(s) is/are…
I like being comfortable and a little foxy with my white hair. My wild leggings are definitely a signature. I simply will not wear something I’m not comfortable in. Like a Chanel suit. I used to have some of their blazers, but I’m just not comfortable in that. I think it’s important to find the perfect balance between this comfort and my unique signature style. I’m constantly changing the things I buy to better suit me, painting, dying, adding material and accents.
01My necessary extravagances are…
Ironed sheets and LaMer moisturizer. Having grown up with a stringent Swedish background, the sheets were always laundered, but nobody had time to iron them. I love getting into a bed where the sheets are absolutely crisp.
Three things/products I always need to have in my purse?
The most important thing in my purse is a black Sharpie, then refresh eye drops and Chanel lipstick. I always use Rouge Coco, #440 Arthur; it’s a stunning orangey-red.
My ultimate beauty secret after long working hours…
I keep it simple, washing my face with soap and water, then using LaMer moisturizer. I also have a routine that helps me to unwind after a long day of traveling or sculpting. I use a foam roller, laying on it gently along my spine and allowing everything to open up, my chest, stomach, and shoulders. Then I get into bed and read, preferable Jonathan Franzen. It makes a big difference when you allow your body and mind to relax.
My favourite work(s) of art is/are…
Henry Moore’s Knife Edge piece on the east wing of the Smithsonian Museum. It is so big and so wonderful. I also love Van Gogh’s L’Arlésienne portrait of  Marie Ginoux at the Met. It’s a piece I go back to over and over.
In the art world currently I find most exciting that…
I find the changes in the art auctions to be so interesting. I can’t believe what is going on today. Like the Modigliani that just sold for $170.4 million at Christie’s. I remember growing up in Paris in a time when that would have likely gone for around $40,000.
The sexiest art person is…
Still my husband, Sheldon Solow, after 43 years.
Mia with Sculptures 1
Spot(s) I am off to…
Paris and Rome are my go-to places if I’m out of town. I have always loved Europe, the art, the architecture, and the people.
My next art trip/travel will be…
I’ve never been to Portugal. I would very much like to visit to see the architecture. There are so many beautiful baroque buildings there.
The most arty city is…
I love Europe, but I would have to say New York. There are a lot of interesting artists surfacing here every day, and just think of the Metropolitan Museum. I seems as though if you lived there, you would know everything.
The perfect artworld gentlemen is…
Tom Campbell at the Met. He is knowledgeable, but kind. He doesn’t just brush people off based on their position, but talks to everyone. Peter Marino is also a good example of a gentleman in the art world. He is such an exciting person and wonderfully kind. Plus, he’s a great collector
Artist(s) we should have on our watchlist is/are…
Everything coming from China right now is amazing. They have been so repressed for so long that everything rising out of there is intensely exciting. I just bought a large three-paneled photograph of a Chinese landscape by Yao Lu that is 14’ x 3.5’.  Instead of the pagoda of the traditional landscape it has a nuclear plant; instead of gardens it has a garbage dump. It’s so incredibly of our time.
Website: http://www.miafonssagrivessolow.com/
Photos: by Steve Benisty

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