Interview: Magdalene Carmen
Luca Curci talks with Magdalene Carmen during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Loves blue and most hues of the primary colours. Primary subjects: sensual woman (symbolisms of) and the urban-architectural. Mediums: photography, digital, English lingo, her own body language. Creates organically. Also published poet, indie recording artist, dancer. Loves Banksy, Guy Bourdin, Pop Art, Pin-up Art, Comedy, Philosophy. Progeny of academics-creatives. Art-making, writing, performing since childhood. Formally and informally (including self) taught : photography, fashion design, digital media, creative writing and journalism. Astrologically, Pisces. Ruled by the blue planet Neptune, named after the God of the seas in Roman mythology and representing dreams, the imagination and all things spiritual.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Magdalene Carmen – My ‘Addict’ fine art print series, being collages of four to five photographic and digital works merging my primary subjects: Woman + the urban-architectural. I want to make 32 of these like Andy Warhol’s ‘Soup Cans’. An art book project containing this series + 154 sweet-sassy and succinct love poems (equal to the number of Shakespeare’s love sonnets.)
LC – How did you get to your current artistic art practice?
MC – I’ve been making art, taking pictures, writing and performing since childhood. Creativity was the family norm, and being in my DNA, creativity was something I took for granted. As a practising artist, I feel my will to create and my creative habits are not something I have much of a choice about. The will to create almost overpowers me so I must do this thing or things erupting in my mind & soul or else I cannot sleep or dance or breathe. That is the creative bit that gives me the most joy. The more tedious, administrative work that goes with professional practice is something I choose to do (more reluctantly some days).
LC – Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
MC – Ideas will have priorly and organically come to me. The idea gives me direction. Then I go to work (photography x digital art). I do not like plotting too much. I prefer beautiful accidents, catching the random pretty arrangement of things, feeling the moment which could happen at any time. When I feel the moment in my blood, I cannot ignore it. When working inside, I like working with little light or mood lighting. This makes me feel cocooned like a caterpillar that will eventually turn into a butterfly. And when I am in the flow, ignoring everything and everyone. I also like wrapping myself with the intoxicating scent of some gardenia x frangipani candle. Sometimes my furry darling Georgia May (British shorthair cross) joins me at my desk and starts nuzzling me and I cannot say no.
LC What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
MC – Things don’t work as well when I think too much. Resolving a piece and saying “that is good, leave it alone now”. And then the next day looking at it again and feeling discontented and amending things, adding this, taking away that, further experimenting until you come to a new resolution. But having numerously looked at your work critically, you can also lose the ability to judge it objectively. So you take a break from it for hours or days. And your patience is tested because you thought you could finish the project sooner. And then you find your spiritual + philosophical selves asking your narcissistic, material self: “Why? What for?”
LC – How is your creative process?
MC – I create organically. Ideas evolve from natural observations of particular things. My city train-window observations for example became my Urban Mesh series of abstract, kinetic urban-architectural images. My obsession with street signs resulted in my sassy Sign-Offs series. And one day I randomly put my Woman + Urban works together for a promotional campaign and saw I’d made a compelling flag college, which gave me the idea for my new ‘Addict’ series.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
MC – Abstraction and the pop-art influence are strong in my works. Any production will have begun with quite a clear premise, clear visions of what I wanted. I have at least four series of artworks, the most recent being the most abstract. I do not think my style as such has changed over time. The changes would be in the mediums and the content of my work, relative to where I was creatively at a given time.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
MC – Euphoric.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
MC – My new ‘Addict’ series, hybrid of my Woman + Urban-architectural works and featured in my very short film ‘Watch Me’ (screening for ‘The Body Language 2022’ and again for London Contemporary Art Fair) articulates three things:
1. The pre-eminence of women in advertising and pop culture
2. The sensual-spiritual / vice-virtue / conscious-unconscious tug-of-war all humans live through
3. My own spiritual eroticism against a creative x capital city backdrop.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID platform?
MC – I am new to ITSLIQUID platform and have found it so far excellent and easy to engage with. I am a liquid sign myself (Pisces) & therefore naturally aligned with the values of fluidity, freedom of movement and adaptability. I love ItsLiquid platform’s bringing together contemporary art, architecture and design (which happen to be my own mediums/content), their global reach and exciting exhibition location + spaces. I’ve also enjoyed their accessibility and especially found their people to be warm and easy to deal with.