Brains behind “Er Cervello” by Mira, a female street artist in MIA

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For more inspiration and art, follow @er_cervello on Instagram.

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Mira is an Italian-American artist living in Miami. Her art is described as mixed media pop art. She incorporates elements and texture to her art through wheat paste, acrylic and spray paint. Having been inspired from graffiti scribbles and street art in Rome, Mira seeks to maintain an urban touch to her art by adding graffiti like features such as drips, scribbles and bubble letters.

Mira's logo is "Er Cervello" (which means "the brain" in Roman dialect). Er Cervello was born from a dream she had in 2014. Mira has since then used it in her art to paint symbolic messages about life, spirituality, and health.

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I had a dream. It was a brain that was smoking a cigarette, chilled and relaxed, talking to me. That’s the inspiration for “er cervello”, which means brain in Roman dialect.

Growing up in an Italian American culture, I always straddled both sides of my identity. For college, I attended John Cabot University in Rome. Rome is an enchanting city, known for its beauty. It holds a grand history and the center is dotted with monuments and tributes to those who lived and created a thriving center for a flourishing empire. To this day you feel this energy. The cobbled streets take you through small and big passages and lead you to famous and unknown squares, fountains and overflowing beauty.

I had a dream. It was a brain that was smoking a cigarette, chilled and relaxed, talking to me.
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During the school days, as I walked to and from classes, I always noted the graffiti, paintings, and etchings all over the streets. Actually, the word graffiti comes from the Italian word graffio, which means scratch.  Rome is known for its street art , and I was starting to get a flavor of that during my college years. I always wanted to be a part of it, but how? When? Where?

As I become more and more fascinated with this world of art and the streets, I decided it was time. I bought I couple of spray cans and began tagging around town. Small drawings, letting the spray, and evening energy lead the way. It was fun, exhilarating and I was hooked.

Fast forward 3 years. I returned to the US, where I grew up. An opportunity presented itself in Miami, so I went. Miami is the mecca of street art. Well-known and respected street artist come and paint here. The fact that a job called me to this city, doubled with the art factor, made me realize I had to go.

Slowly, slowly, I entered the world of street art. I met friends who guided my artistic instincts and gave me the low-down on the “street art code of conduct”.

Kind of like Biggie’s 10 Crack Commandments, there is something similar for street artist.

1.       Don’t tag/draw/paint/paste over someone else’s work

2.       Collaboration is good especially when building your credibility as an artist

3.       Wheat paste is magic

4.       Be true to you and your identity, why copycat? No need for another Bansky or Shephard Fairey, just be you

5.       Be bold and confident, because if not you, then who?

6.       Trust your instincts and follow your intuition

7.       Art is not prejudice, don’t let anyone define what is good or not

8.       Graphic art school helps, but is not needed

9.       Network as much as possible with people who support art

10.   Don’t forget where you come from and why you started to paint in the first place

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This moment was a turning point in my life. I was going through a drastic changeg, having left Italy, where I had lived for 10 years, ending a serious relationship and starting a fresh chapter in a new city. I was exploring and creating my identity and art was facilitating that process.

What I create and convey is not only something I put out in the streets, it is also something that I create digitally, print, cut, paste and paint on a canvas.

Er Cervello became my tag. Together with Rigo Leon (@rigoleonart) we worked on some murals around the city. One of my favorites was at the La Piazzetta, where we did a large mural together of a vintage girl riding a Vespa. Collaborating with other artists gives you a new perspective and is a way to exchange ideas and create pieces in a synergistic manner. For me, it’s a way to keep learning and honing my skill.

Although street art and graffiti can be lumped into one category and take on different meanings for different people, I like to refer to my art as urban multimedia art. What I create and convey is not only something I put out in the streets, it is also something that I create digitally, print, cut, paste and paint on a canvas. I love sharing the themes/values and lessons behind it through different mediums which also include spray paint, acrylic, and markers used on clothing, sneakers, stickers, and posters.

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My debut series is called “Iconic Women”. In this series I have identified a group of women, with whom I believe myself and women worldwide can connect to through their life stories.  I research their history and reflect on their values and characters, as well as their contribution to defining independence as a woman within a world that tends to suppress us. There are many women who have made an impact in history and are still present in today’s society, but I don’t necessarily connect with them all. For those that particularly inspire me, I create a piece to honor them and a message that reverberates within me and today’s world. This is especially relevant, given the current topics of women’s rights and feminism that are front and center these days.

So far, I’ve done pieces on Frida, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana as well as Grace of Monaco, Aretha Franklin, Maya Angelou and Jackie Kennedy.

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I am conscious that this series may seem cliché and possibly resembles mainstream pop art, but that is exactly why I choose to do this series the way that I did.  It is about creating attractive images that will catch attention quickly, as most women know who these iconic women are. Through the instant visual connection, those passing by instantly relate and don’t need to spend much time or brain power to understand what they are looking at, they don’t have to sit in a gallery staring at each piece trying to understand the message. 

Like many others out there, I would love to dedicate my time fully to art. However, for the moment, it is my side hustle that I’m fitting into my life on evenings and weekends, as I balance the demands of an intense full-time job.

I’ve seen how art has transformed communities. Art can equate to safer, healthier more successful communities. It is also used as a means to uplift people and renovate. This means cleaning up the old and letting the realness and authenticity shine, allowing for the new. For example, Wynwood used to be a dangerous and uneventful part of town. Now it has been completely transformed into an up-and-coming zone attracting creatives, youth and innovative ideas and projects. To me, this is the beauty of art, especially community art. It can pull you towards a positive vision. I honestly think that the power of art is greatly underrated. Our society emphasizes science and math, and push for this in the school system, but more and more, art and innovation are taking over the reins of transformative change and hope for the future.

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Some of my upcoming projects include a campaign for Pride Month, as well as a clothing line that will include t-shirts, sneakers and jean jackets. These products will be made available on my website http://streetscribbles.bigcartel.com .

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Next week I will be going to Rome to do a Street Art Campaign, meaning, I will be hitting the streets and tagging up the ancient city. The idea is to promote my art and connect with the community. I chose to do it in Rome because it is a special city that has taught me so much about life and it is where my first inspiration for this art was born.

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For more information, interests in collaborating or about commissioned work, drop a message below or send me a DM via Instagram.