Meet The Young Artist Who Sold Work To A$AP Over Instagram, Kiri-Una Brito Meumann
Kiri-Una Brito Meumann, aka Kiri, is a Melbourne-based artist who has a pretty impressive CV for someone who's fresh outta high school. Last summer (the best year of her life), she had a group show in New York and hung work inside A$AP Rocky's apartment. Casual.
Our girls Chloe Hill and Emily Royal caught up with Kiri in Melbs recently to chat about how the hell the A$AP thing happened, high school and celeb crushes. Get to know the little legend below.
Chloe Hill: Some of the questions are so easy like, what's your name, your full name?
Kiri: I've actually got a really long full name. It's Kiri-Una Brito Meumann, Brito Meumann are two words — it's my mum's last name and my dad's last name.
Emily Royal: What's your background?
My mum's Brazilian and my dad's German, it's unfortunate having such a long name.
CH: Oh wow, and where's home for you?
Umm, I guess Melbourne.
CH: What were you into in high school?
I went to a lot of different schools, I sort of didn't really finish that long ago. I went to Swinburne Senior Secondary, which was a more chill laidback school — you could leave whenever class finished [and wear] casual clothes. I kind of already had all of my friends and I would just go to school, go to the art room, do my stuff and then leave.
CH: In what ways have you changed since then?
It was pretty recent! I graduated in 2013. Last year was my first year off and this is my second year off, so I probably haven't changed that much yet.
CH: How would you describe your artistic output?
The things I have previously made have been quite sculptural with two-dimensional ideas, like photography, presented in a three dimensional way. At the moment I really want to work on doing sculptures in different sizes like small and really, really big. I'm forever thinking about different things that I want to do.
CH: Who inspires you?
Umm, I guess seeing friends doing really well. Having a lot of friends doing creative things, it's so nice to meet up with them and talk with them and hear about all these great things happening to them. It's like, "Cool, that's happened to you, this happened to me."
CH: If you could stay a certain age forever what would it be?
I had the best of my life last year so probably 19 [laughs].
ER: Why was it so good?
I finished high school and had my gap year. I went to Brazil for ages and hung out with my family there. Then I went to New York and had a group show thing, and then I set up my artwork at A$AP Rocky's apartment, and it was just like a crazy year! I spent my summer in New York and it was so much fun. Then, when I turned 20, I was so devastated.
ER: So how did the A$AP thing happen?
It was sooo random and weird, even looking back it's like, what the fuck. I don't actually know how he found my Instagram, but he commented on one of my photos of the cube piece that I did. It was like "WOW" in capital letters, it was so weird, "I love your dope vision" or something super weird like that. And then, "What's your email?" and then I commented back and tagged him in it with my email. When he sent me an email I was like, "Surely this is a hoax." I thought it was actually fake for so long. We were just emailing back and forth and he was asking for photos and I was just showing him what I've made so far…
ER: Crazy. So you did fly over and put it in his place?
Yeah, 'cause it's really quite big, it's like three metres by two metres and we have to drill it into the wall. So obviously I couldn't send it over to him with instructions and say: "Hey, this is how you assemble it yourself!"
CH: Was he there when you set it up?
He was, yeah. And then his mum was there and his sister was there.
CH: Those A4 works were done at such a huge scale, what was the thought process behind that?
The reason it's displayed like that is because I was taking pixelated media images so it was zoomed in, and I displayed it like that to reinforce that pixelated nature. I guess I take the photos before I think of how they will be displayed. I mean, I don't want to be a photographer but for some reason all of the things that I have made have started from a photo.
CH: What's a skill you wish you possessed?
Maybe to be able to play like any instrument, that would be really cool. To be able to walk into any room and whip out an amazing piano jam at someone's house [laughs].
CH: What celebrity do you have a crush on?
Umm… oh my god, Fetty Wap.
ER: Yes! Who else's work do you admire?
My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, and there are these posters that I love so much that my dad kept from the 70s. They're of this art show of a German designer, and I was so excited to get them framed and put into our new apartment. Then I showed them to my boyfriend and he was like, "Whoa Kiri, some of those are really dark and scary," and I was like, "What do you mean?". Then I started to realise that so much of the stuff I like is, not scary, but... Francis Bacon I love and it's kind of a bit scary, even Cy Twombly is kind of a bit scary and chaotic.
ER: Yeah, it's not like you're like, "Wow, that's really dark and I love that," you're just like, "I love that". One last question for later, can you send us a selfie?
Photos: Courtesy of the artist