In an age where technology is progressing at an increasingly rapid pace and Apple is pumping out new products in the blink of an eye, I am deeply fascinated by those who seem to regress and turn to the tools of the past. While scrolling through the black hole that is the Internet I stumbled upon one such individual and decided I needed to further investigate.
Sydney-based Miranda Lorikeet, otherwise known as Lazy Bones, is a graphic artist whose chosen medium is Microsoft Paint for Windows. While her work is minimalist, her carefully selected color palettes and obvious attention to detail make it difficult to believe that her drawings could have been made using such a prehistoric program. I reached out to Miranda to see if she would be willing to let me pick her brain, and she very graciously accepted.
LF: Hi Miranda! It’s an honor to welcome you to Live FAST! Simply put, who are you and what do you do?
ML: Hello Internet! I am Miranda Lorikeet, I’m from Sydney Australia and I draw surrealist landscapes and nude girls with Microsoft Paint for Windows.
LF: For those who don’t know, what is MS Paint? How did you get into using it, and why did you choose MS Paint as your main medium, over similar programs like Illustrator or Photoshop?
MS paint (or Microsoft Paint) is an incredibly simple, painfully basic computer drawing program that has been available in the start menu of your Windows computer since the dawn of time (i.e.: 1985). It only has a handful of tools and a very limited range of brushes. If you were born in the late 80s or early 90s and had computer access, then you’ve probably used this program before. My dad was a computer programmer and used to take me into his office in the late 90s, I remember playing on MS Paint there for the first time. For years MS Paint has been the butt of every joke for a lot of graphic designers and digital artists. A lot of people think of MS Paint as a program for children because the last time they used it they probably were children themselves.
I never really made the conscious decision to draw with MS Paint. I wanted to start making digital art but I didn’t know how to use Illustrator or Photoshop and I didn’t have the patience, money or time to learn. At the time I was working a desk job and one day I saw MS Paint in the start menu. I started playing around with it during my lunch breaks. Before I knew it I was spending hours on this program drawing mountains and trying to perfect the use of each tool. I became completely obsessed with MS Paint. I know everything about it now. I can tell you all the bugs in the program and how to avoid them. I don’t use programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop because anyone can use those programs, where is the challenge? I want to show people that you can make art using anything. MS Paint is great because it gives you so much freedom to draw. There’s no right or wrong way to use it. You just fumble your way through it, try all the tools out, click on that square button and hope for the best. MS Paint is by no means a ‘good’ or professional drawing program but I love the challenge. I’m still learning better ways of using it, every time I draw a picture I learn something new. Also, MS Paint is Free!
LF: Where do you draw your inspiration for your work?
Most of the concepts for the drawings come from a pretty dark place. Usually my worst fears and things from my nightmares. Big open endless spaces, falling, whirl pools, being alone, large bodies of water (I have a bit of a phobia of dark water/whirlpools/dams) I just draw things that make me feel uncomfortable but with pretty colors.
I’ve been heavily inspired by at a lot of early 1900s surrealist painters. I love the concepts in Magritte, Miro and Dali’s work. They’re clever. They give you something to look for, like those i-spy books. One of my biggest inspirations is Guy Billout, a surrealist French illustrator from the 1970s/80s. I love Matisse for his color schemes and shapes, his art is just fun to look at. I love old issues of National Geographic magazine – there’s something about landscape photos from the 1980s that just have so much depth and contrast. Before I start drawing a landscape I look at old photos of mountains and deserts.
A lot of my drawings are a bit of a nudge to old computer games, particularly a Play Station 1 game from 1998 called LSD Dream Emulator. I love how those games look so 1-dimensional and awkwardly pixelated, kind of psychedelic looking almost. All the video games I played when I was a kid had these never-ending rolling landscapes that seemed to go and on forever into the distance, and the colors were always ridiculously bright to make up for the sub-par animation.
LF: Aside from MS Paint, do you mess with any other mediums or creative outlets?
In the past I’ve always drawn with pens, paper, pencils, but since finding MS Paint I have hardly strayed. The only drawings I do are on MS Paint these days. I have a bit of a green thumb, so gardening and arranging flowers are huge creative outlets for me. I try to take pretty photos, but I’m no photographer.
LF: About how long, on average, do you spend on each illustration?
If the idea is already formed in my mind they can take between 2 hours and an entire day. I normally finish 1 drawing slowly over the course of a day. I always try to finish each drawing within the same day, I don’t like coming back to a drawing after a few days have passed because if I sit on one idea for too long I start to get frustrated and make too many changes.
LF: Mac or PC, and why?
Both! I never know what to say when people ask me this question because I use each operating system equally. I work using a program called Parallels that allows me to switch between windows and mac, so I spend equal amounts of time using both. They each have their benefits and their downfalls. Although Mac doesn’t support MS Paint.
LF: Favorite color, or color scheme?
Pink and red. People say you should never combine these two colors because they clash, those people are dead wrong.
LF: How do you keep yourself occupied when you’re not working on your art?
I spend a lot of time gardening in my back yard. I have a pretty big collection of cacti and succulents; it’s the beginning of Spring here so all my cacti are starting to bloom. I love dancing. If it’s a Friday or Saturday night I’m usually out at a gig dancing until the wee hours of the morning. If I wasn’t an MS Paint artist I’d like to be DJ. I think there’s nothing better than when you’re part of a huge sweaty group of people all dancing to the same beat, it must feel pretty cool to be the person responsible for that.
LF: What goals do you have for yourself, as an artist and/or just a human being?
As an artist, I’d hope to project the idea that you don’t need fancy tools, expensive drawing programs or an art degree to become an artist. As a human being, I just want be happy and free with plenty of good mates around me.
LF: Do you prefer to work on art alone, or do you like to collaborate? (And if you like to collaborate – if you could design a creative team of individuals to work with, whom would you choose?)
I do prefer to work on my art alone, but the few collaborations I have done in the past have been really beneficial and eye-opening. I’m working on my first big collaboration right now actually and I’m excited for the outcome. My dream collaboration team would be to work with Guy Billout and Rene Magritte.
LF: How would you describe your personal style?
Francoise Hardy circa 1970, but if she drove a beaten up Honda Civic and listened to Drum & Bass. I always wear a piece of red on me because it’s my favorite colour. I like to be comfortable and warm. Flared jeans and fur jackets.
LF: Three items you couldn’t function without?
My Afghan Jacket, because it doubles as a blanket on cold nights. Coconut Oil, that’s more of an addiction though. MS Paint. I went on holiday for 5 weeks once and I genuinely missed it, I can’t live with out it.
LF: How FAST do you live?
Just fast enough to stop and smell the roses, but not too slow because I’ve got places to be.