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Miss Van

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Miss Van (born 1973 in Toulouse, France), also known as Vanessa Alice, is a graffiti and street artist.[1][2] Miss Van started painting on the street of Toulouse alongside Mademoiselle Kat at the age of 18. Today, she is now internationally known as a street and fine artist. Primarily, her work is marked by the use of unique characters, called poupées, or dolls.[3] Miss Van's work has appeared on streets internationally, although she also exhibits canvases in galleries across France, Europe and the United States.[1] Today, her work is characterized by both street art and fine art, blurring the lines between both worlds.[4]

Miss Van currently resides in Barcelona and has written and published several books with the publishing house Drago and coordinated several art shows across Europe.[5] She remains one of the most famous female street and graffiti artists in the world, recognized as one of the top figures in early 21st-century street art canon.[6]


Miss Van graffiti in Barcelona
Miss Van with El Bocho's Little Lucy, Berlin 2009

In her artwork, Miss Van typically depicts sloe-eyed women, covering a varied array of female forms and expressing many different emotions.[7] Common themes in her work include eroticism, sexuality, desire and innocence which are represented by animal masks, pastel colors, and revealing clothing.[2][4] Miss Van's work illustrates a cartoonish, dream-like world of female sexuality.[8] Over time the stylization of the women has changed, reflecting Miss Van's artistic and personal evolution as she has grown and matured.[8] This change is paralleled in Miss Van's increased preference for the gallery over the street.[8] In the gallery, Miss Van embraces enclosed and intimate gallery space as part of the artistic experience .[8]

Between 2008 and 2016, Miss Van exhibited artwork in private galleries in Shanghai, London, Rome, Berlin, Paris and Vienna.[4] In North America, she has held shows in Detroit,[9] Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Montreal, Chicago and New York.[4] Notable shows include, Still a Little Magic at Upper Playground, San Francisco in 2008; Cachetes Colorados at Upper Playground, Mexico City in 2010; and A Moment in Time at Saatchi Gallery, London in 2016.[4] The same year, Miss Van also showed at the Atmossphere Biennale in Moscow, where she exhibited a woven wool rug based on an original painting.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Thematically, her work has provoked a negative reaction from some feminists due to the portrayal of women in her graffiti.[1] Although she receives this backlash, her reasoning for her painting is more personal. "Painting on walls was a way to show that I was boycotting the conventional art world".[11] Despite negative critique of her work, some critics perceive her portrayal of sexuality and feminity as a powerful rejection of male supremacy and male-dominated art.[8] Her work is also appreciated for centering women and increasing the representation of women in street art.[8] Furthermore, the depiction of a full-figured female form in Miss Van's work is representative of body positive politics.[12] Miss Van is regarded as one of the most famous female graffiti and street artists in the world, a genre that is generally considered as having few female artists.[12]

In 2013, Miss Van painted a street art piece with collaborators depicting what is commonly referred to as "Blackface." She faced a string of criticism on her personal instagram account as a white European woman appropriating the culture of Black Americans. Despite personal pleas of people of color, the artist chose to delete and censor their posts, causing even more of a disruption.

In 2016, Miss Van held her first institutional art show at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga in Spain, titled "For The Wind in My Hair."[2] The show featured 39 original paintings on canvas. Artnet News calls the show as "interesting discourse between the worlds of fine art and street art."[2] Miss Van also displays how meaning changes between these two artistic sites, the street and the gallery.[8]



  • Wild at Heart (2012) Drago
  • Twinkles (2011) Drago

Books with contributions by Miss Van[edit]


2014 – Miss Van: Glamorous Darkness, StolenSpace Gallery, London – Solo Show

2014 – Spectrum: Winter Group Show, StolenSpace Gallery, London – Group Show

2014 – Art Truancy: Celebrating 20 Years of Juxtapoz Magazine, Johnathan LeVine Projects – Group Show

2014 – StolenSpace Gallery at SCOPE Miami Beach 2014 – Fair

2015 – The Reasons for the Seasons, StolenSpace Gallery, London – Group Show

2015 – FESTIN DE ARTE at Isabelle Croxatto Galleria, Isabelle Croxatto Galleria, Santiago – Group Show

2015 – 'Freedom' a Group Show, StolenSpace Gallery, Berlin – Group Show

2015 – FIFTY24MX at LA Art Show 2015 – Fair

2016 – Ch. ACO'16, Isabel Croxatto Galería, Santiago – Group Show

2016 – Isabel Croxatto Galeria at Contemporary Istanbul 2016, Şişli – Fair

2017 – Flor de Piel, Victor Lope Arte Contemporaneo, Barcelona – Solo Show

2017 – Welcome to New Jersey, Jonathan LeVine Projects, Jersey City – Group Show

2017 – Isabel Croxatto Galeria at Art Central 2017 – Fair


  1. ^ a b c "SWINDLE Magazine Interview with Miss Van". Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
  2. ^ a b c d "Miss Van's First Museum Show Opens in Malaga – artnet News". artnet News. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  3. ^ Waclawek, Anna (2008). From graffiti to the street art movement : negotiating art worlds, urban spaces, and visual culture, c. 1970–2008 (phd). Concordia University, Phd Thesis.
  4. ^ a b c d e Villarreal, Ignacio. "Miss Van's first show at a museum on view at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Málaga". artdaily.com. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  5. ^ The Dolls of Miss Van. Fornarina Fashion News @ CourtureCandy.com Archived 2007-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Glaser, Katja (2015). "The 'Place to Be'for Street Art Nowadays is no Longer the Street, its the Internet" (PDF). Street Art and Urban Creativity Scientific Journal. 1 (2).
  7. ^ Miss Van gallery
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Premont, Chantal (2013-04-28). "Miss Van and the Evolution of the Feminine from Brick onto Canvas". CUJAH. Archived from the original on 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  9. ^ DeVito, Lee. "Murals in the Market artists address Shepard Fairey, Detroit, and more in inaugural fest". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  10. ^ Harrington, Jaime Rojo & Steven (2016-09-28). "A Moscow Street Art Biennale: Artmossphere 2016". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  11. ^ MissVan.com
  12. ^ a b Porteous, Freyia Lilian. "Weekly Style Muse: Miss Van's Painted Ladies, Body Pos Pinups With Attitude". Retrieved 2017-04-04.

External links[edit]