Magda Love: A Colorful Career
Interview by Nicole Gordon - Images Provided by Magda Love
Magda Love is an artist hailing from Argentina who now calls NYC her home for quite some time. Her artwork is as colorful as her personality, and she is fearless in the pursuit of making her creative dreams into realities. Magda has painted murals in Buenos Aires, Guadalajara, Mexico City, New York, Cuernavaca, Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Wynwood Miami, to name a few.
Her artwork has been featured in Complex Magazine, New York Ink, NY1, MTV, ABC News, News 12, Time Out NY, Brooklyn Street Art, Buenos Aires Street Art, 12oz Prophet, Brooklyn Eagle, The Brooklyn Paper, Street Art NYC, not to mention the documentaries 12 Canvases and Art is Life. In addition to her media accolades, Magda has collaborated with Johnnie Walker, Google, Hudson Yards, and Red Bull.
I first met Magda at her Extra Butter show a few years ago, and I was immediately attracted to her work. The way she took over the space and made it a full-blown sensory overload, interpreting the space into an Alice in Wonderland theme was simply genius. I remember being able to pull the artwork off of the walls for purchase and there was quite a frenzy for collectors to grab certain pieces. I had the pleasure of speaking with Magda for ThirdRail to discuss her colorful career.
Nicole Gordon: At Extra Butter what was your thought process for the venue takeover?
Magda: Extra Butter was an incredible opportunity to take over and make people daydream about a possible Wonderland would look like. I was aiming to create a sensorial space, to bring people into an imaginary forest, full of color, texture and imagination. I chose Alice in Wonderland to place the viewers in a different reality, a poetic space to revive childhood giggles, excitement, and a sense of play by interacting with the pieces of the mural.
The installation covered the entire space and people were invited to move the mural around or buy pieces of the mural right off the wall. I was thrilled to observe people so excited and taking home so many pieces.
Nicole Gordon: Do you consider yourself a folk artist? Much of your work has a feeling of that genre, yet your voice shines uniquely. Please tell our audience how you envision yourself within the community.
Magda: As a young child, I always felt I belonged everywhere but not quite part of anything. I studied Anthropology in college and I was always very interested in Archeology and the evolution of expression of humans in different geographic places. I think it’s curious to see that we still find across the times that, mythology and art have a recurring theme about love, portraying our daily life, expressing love, the wonder for something larger than us, the cosmos, communicating our believes; all these topics and desire of understanding have a common line across all humanity. That’s why I have always being so interested in primitive and folk art.
The importance of learning techniques and technology is undeniable, but ultimately the need that embodies our times through artistic expressions, I believe is more tied to emotional connection than formal education. I have taken wonderful art classes, but I have learnt most of my skills watching my father, fellow artists, and other people at work. In that sense I humbled myself by spending countless time studying, reading, observing, experimenting and trying endlessly to improve my skills not only to create art but to be a better human. Asking myself questions and listening to others. I think that has been my quest while creating art.
This Pandemic had shown us that human beings have an undeniable need to feel connected with one another, to socialize and to feel heard. Unfortunately, I don’t think technology can’t do what direct contact can do. Having experiences like painting in Cambodia with girls rescued from sex trafficking, or in Flint Michigan, or in a Navajo Reservation in Arizona has given me firsthand experiences of how powerful is to sit down and care to listen. To embrace everyone and truly want to create something that brings joy and celebration of each other’s culture. I like the idea of channeling that through my art; this common idea of well-being, love and prosperity that all humans desire for themselves and their communities across times and geographical spaces.
Nicole Gordon: Murals, murals, murals! One of the largest ones I have seen you do is right here in NYC right next to Brazilian artist Kobra. How did you secure that space? Do you ever find it difficult as a woman to get walls to paint, or get shows? Or any publicity for that matter?
Magda: The mural in City as Schools is one of my happiest memories and most challenging projects. I love making murals, I think it’s an incredible opportunity and responsibility to create art in a public space. I was an ongoing collaborator with the school, painted another mural on the front, taught a few classes and mentor a few students in the school, then boom the idea of the wall came out. In the beginning seemed insane, the size the budget, the permits. But the school team, Maria and Alex pushed so much along with me to get funding and Lisi came along with Christie’s and help with the final funding. It was all a process of 4 years. Kobra came at the very end as he approached the school to take the other side of the wall. We really created an explosion of color and a block of South America and celebration of the values of the hard work of immigrants and women in the city of New York...
...I really try not to think about my limitations, particularly being a woman. I think of myself as an artist trying to make the best work possible whenever I get a chance. There are some circles that are still dominated by men, but I see this gradually shifting. I believe as women we have a perspective and vision to express emotion in our art that is very necessary to our times, and the art and mural world is slowly opening more and more these spaces for us.
Nicole Gordon: Your recent venture that I attended- the painting of a food truck with an incredible story behind it- along with a wonderful sponsor as well. How did that collaboration come about and where can our audience find the truck?
Magda: I was so happy to be selected by Diageo to do this incredible project, that truly celebrates Latin American Food vendors and artists and all the contributions we have had to NY and American Culture. I painted Mike’s Food Truck, Maggie parks her food truck everyday by La Guardia airport, she is the perfect story of a Latina mom, serving her community, taking care of her family, a hard worker, a love warrior. I couldn’t have been more honored to make her truck into a piece of art. The whole multicultural team at Diageo was so supportive and focused on this mission of encouraging Hispanic culture.
They recently have supported a mural I did in Little Haiti, Miami as well. Finding large companies and sponsors that provide with this financial, production and moral support and share this mission with you as an artist is so amazing. I am still so thankful to have worked with them and to collaborate on this project, along with Johnny Walker. It is a blessing to work in projects that align so closely with who I am as an individual and as an artist. I find that lots of brands are now beginning to understand the need of representation of other voices, it makes me feel not only thankful, but also very hopeful about the future.
Nicole Gordon: What is next for you Magda? I know you were creating custom cards at Hudson Yards and designing some merch for Third Rail! How does one do so much and stay grounded?
Magda: I am currently trapped in a studio by the lake creating new paintings for several art shows in 2022, as well as creating some beautiful pieces to turn into silks scarves and prints that will be available with ThirdRail. It has been a pleasure to work with the ThirdRail team, who have shown a great perspective about what a collaborative effort it is to work together. I know we will be working on la lot of cool projects together. I am super excited for the upcoming year! My son is all grown up and this have provided me with the time and full energy to move full steam ahead with my projects. Lots of murals and cool projects in the making.