Brief Interview with the renowned Brazilian Street Artist.
“In my case, I came from the street walls to canvas and the two are equally important to me. I need introspective moments, when I'm working on a canvas and I need the time in the streets, it is inspiring feeling of free and having direct contact with people is. This is how I feel complete.”
Mag Magrela is someone who has always felt the need to embrace her creativity but it wasn’t until seven years ago that she found street art. Since then she’s been taking the streets of Brazil by storm with her vibrant and unique style. Much of her stylistic inspiration comes from her father. Using a predominantly orange and blue colour palette is something that Mag credits him for.
“The color palette came about in an intuitive way where I realized that the orange contrasted incredibly with the gray walls of the city. It's beautiful. It draws attention. My father used these tones frequently on canvases that he painted: blue and orange. Perhaps the memory of the city where he was raised as a young man in the wilderness of Bahia, where they have a blue sky and cracked red earth were the influences behind the colours."
Magrela is deeply connected to her environment and street art gives her an opportunity to express so many of the Brazilian sub-cultures that are most important to her.
“I express this theme with symbols of some of the cultures we have here in Brazil, such as: black culture (with its protection entities), indigenous (with connection to the earth, and nature) and the sacred feminine (a woman connected with it herself and the planet). These are things I feel and believe.”
Women and the female form have become a recurring subject for Mag Magrela as she feels “comfortable and satisfied with this figure… Early in my career I was drawing male characters with a certain childishness and gradually in parallel with my personal life was deconstructing that picture. The more I drew the more I connected with my personal universe. In order to bring movement to the characters I copied poses of my own body, I was subtly reaching for the figure of the woman…”
Representing women as a graffiti artist and using the female form as the basis of her art isn’t unintentional. Mag wants to be heard;
“I believe that because of the education that man receives from childhood, which is to be out working or with friends in the bar, and the woman only serve the domestic environment. The arts as a whole; literature, music, art is the reflection of a male-dominated society where minorities have no voice. It’s no different in graffiti and galleries… From childhood I have had a sense of freedom that I can do what I want. I have always done things people believe to be girls and boys ‘things’. I grew up with it, so never limited myself to stop doing something as a woman. I began to notice that I was one of the few girls on the skate and graffiti scene, but only thought that girls were not keen on staying on the street, doing sport or drawing. Anyway, if being spontaneous is a feminist, then I am.”
Currently Magrela is finishing her first book ready for publication. It will document the past seven years she has spent as a graffiti artist (launching in August 2015 being distributed by Montrobooks). She is also part of the Collective Mulataria project, working with other Brazilian artists who will be artists in residence and graffiti mural painting in Italy, as of June 2016. Plans for a solo show are on the cards too.
Mag Magrela certainly isn’t one to shy away from breaking stereotypes whilst at the same time not undermining what it is to be a woman in a male-dominated industry and with all her refreshing enthusiasm we can’t wait to see what more Mag has to offer.
“I question a lot, I'm eternally unsatisfied, someone who wants to always change and be my best at that time. I live what I believe rather than live in fear because society dictates that I have to be like that!”
Words By Beth Elgood