Mycky Brown is a model and artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. Her visual language cannot be pinned down with an easy set of characteristics. In front of a camera, Brown commands the realm of the cybergoth as smoothly as she embodies the playful elegance of a ‘70s pop icon. The language of her artwork is equally nimble; pangs of late-night-internet-scroll loneliness are cradled by Brown’s innate curiosity for humanity, a gentle probing with a great sense of hope. The artist is quintessential New York-cool. You can find her out at night—sometimes—but she’s always got somewhere else she could be. Here’s a person with no obvious narrative; she’s starting to dabble in acting. She’s a tattoo apprentice. Stay along for the ride.
2021 work by Mycky Brown
NF: Let's start with your most forward-facing work: your modeling. Why have you chosen to focus on this right now as your form of self-expression?
MB: You don’t have to work in this industry to know how judgmental and stuck in their ways they can be, so being able to represent so many qualities you don’t see is a huge factor.
NF: Have you seen any changes take place in the industry? For better or for worse?
MB: For sure! However I do feel like a lot of it is performative when it comes to bigger names. One thing I’ve noticed is that people are working across, and not up. I feel like the outcome is so much more genuine when you work with your creative friends, & their friends’ friends, instead of with some big publication. You end up creating amazing work and a whole new network circle of people who aren’t trying to exploit you. Love to see it!
NF: Give some insight to models who may be trying to navigate the field right now. What do you look for in a gig, and what makes you suspicious? How do you protect yourself? When do you experiment?
MB: I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have an amazing agency and agent who weeds out all of the sus people for me. Being with an agency is like a cute set of armor. But what I will say is always Google and do a LinkedIn search for anyone presenting you an opportunity. If someone is coming to YOU and wants YOU to pay, automatic dub. Run for the hills, love, because it’s most likely a scam. I’m always willing to experiment with a project, I love getting out of my comfort zone and pushing my limits. I literally show up on set like, “I’m down to do whatever y’all want! Let a girl know!”
NF: You also do tattoos, many of them self-tattoos. You've mentioned to me that some of the people you've worked on you'll likely never see or hear from again. Your practice is so fascinating to me because it's so unpublicized. Talk to me a bit about this.
MB: I think it comes from being shy about my work & also some of my clients being tinder hookups LMFAO! I’ve always been super private about my art, it’s a release of emotion for me & I don’t always want it to be full-access to people. So giving someone a tattoo that I’d probably never see again and then not taking any photos of it, is my way of pushing myself to be more comfortable releasing my art into the world & letting it go. Also once people know you do tattoos, everyone wants a tattoo and I be tired lol.
NF: Well, now everyone knows about your tattoo gig. Sorry for blowing up your spot lmao. Her books are OPEN ya’ll. How does playing around in visual arts (especially when you’re doing it for fun, like the recent painting classes you’ve gone to) help you emotionally and mentally? In what ways does it inspire you?
Any of the art I make whether it’s painting or doing digital art or sketching in my book on the train, it allows me to say the shit I feel that I'm not comfortable talking to anyone about. I’m very conservative when it comes to my emotions, so I pour all of that into my art. I guess that’s why I don’t promote it or share. I recently learned to just just put my art into the world & let it do what it wants.
NF: After the past year, what is on your mind right now? What are you doing to help yourself move forward, creatively?
MB: Longevity in this industry has been on my mind for a WHILE. I ask myself all the time, “Girl what are we gonna do after this?” Your time can come and go so quickly. I think acting doesn’t really have an expiration date so I’m exploring that avenue and giving it more attention and intention. A big challenge for me and my creativity is remembering not to compare to others and that I’m the only one I’m in competition with. That mixed with some dedication and work ethic seems like a good recipe for my success.
NF: In your multimedia collages and drawings, I get a sense of this super encrypted or coded language. It somehow feels lonely, not necessarily in a bad way.
MB: Thats it exactly, all my work is just me coding being a depressed baby haha. I grew up being embarrassed about my emotions & it made it really hard to talk about what I was feeling/thinking & asking for help. So there’s a lot of deep layering in my art, all the dark thoughts I would have, I would sneak it into a piece & disguise it with color & clutter.
What does it take for you to engage in this self-growth? What does growth look like to you? HOW do you get over these hurdles to begin and explore your internal universe?
I’m someone who’s ALWAYS engaging in self-growth, my inner voice takes no days off! Even if I’m not actively working on myself, I still acknowledge the issue or behavior & troubleshoot in my head. Growth to me looks unfamiliar & uncomfortable with an end result of feeling rejuvenated. When you spend time with yourself, you kind of have no choice but to listen to your own bullshit & work it through. Listening & being truly honest with myself has been the biggest tool to dealing with my deep inner emotions and starting my healing process & shadow work. It’s one thing to have a persona or a mask that you put on to face the world, but to have that same mask on with yourself is just silly and does more harm than good, lie to whoever you want, except yourself.