Interview: Maja Maglajlic | ITSLIQUID

Interview: Maja Maglajlic

Interviews | April 2, 2019 |

Interview: Maja MaglajlicImage courtesy of Maja Maglajlic

Interview: Maja Maglajlic

Luca Curci talks with Maja Maglajlic during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2019 at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.

Maja is a Vancouver, BC, based artist with a degree in Art History from the University of British Columbia. Though she does not have formal post-secondary art training, she has been a creative force since childhood. Her art is born out of necessity to create, a feeling springing up from the depths of her soul. Working mostly in acrylic and oil pastel, colour is her most important source of inspiration. Her work is informed by a belief that colour makes everything better, and is a thread that runs through that work. It is precisely that colour that allows her to explore ‘joy’ in an abstract form as it relates to her complex past – a mostly happy and carefree childhoods that was abruptly interrupted by the turmoil in her former homeland; followed by the arrival to new and unfamiliar environment resulting in new sources of inspiration. Maja also loves experimenting with different media – most recently embarking on exploration of the newly discovered freedom and flow of alcohol inks, contrasted by a more structured practice of designing and creating one of a kind, colourful jewellery. She has only recently started sharing her work with a wider public, exhibiting with the RAW Artists Vancouver in April 2018, at the Clio Art Fair in New York City, October 11-14, 2018, the Anonymous Art Show in North Vancouver, Nov. 22-Dec. 15, 2018, and currently has a piece at the ITSLIQUID Group’s Venice International Art Fair, Apr. 11-May 03, 2019.

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Interview: Maja MaglajlicImage courtesy of Maja Maglajlic

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Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Maja Maglajlic – Generally speaking, I have always seen art as something that nourishes our soul, something that opens our minds to endless possibilities – that allows us to dream and to expand our horizons, but also to make sense of the world we live in. It also helps us to start to understand who we are. I strongly believe that all the arts, and art education in particular (something that is currently disappearing from school carricula everywhere) are extremely important in creating and fostering greater understanding among the people of this planet, while humanizing our very existence, especially in times when everything seems to be moving at break-neck speeds in search of insignificant and illusory goals. On a more personal level, my art is a form of meditation, a form of therapy, allowing me to find peace and joy in a deeply flawed exterior world. It allows me to explore and experiment, or even just have fun.

LC – What are you currently working on?
MM – Well, I am always working on more than one project at a time. I just completed a large and colourful triptych.  But lately, I have done a lot of work with alcohol inks – for me, a newly discovered medium – probably from about a year ago. I am enjoying the flow and the freedom that they allow for. I love experimenting with new media, and so trying new things is always exciting and inspiring. What I love about alcohol inks, at least in the way that I am using them, is the unpredictability of how they will move across the ground – in my case, yupo paper. I love the idea that a series of similar actions can lead to completely different results.  Having said all that, I still continue to play with acrylics and oil pastels, my first loves, but I have also started designing and creating one of a kind, colourful jewellery with real and semi-precious stones.

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Interview: Maja MaglajlicImage courtesy of Maja Maglajlic

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LC – What is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
MM – As I have already touched on this, I truly believe that despite the arguments to the contrary, the role of the arts and the artists in today society is extremely important, perhaps even more so than ever before, in that art humanizes us. It forces us to open our minds to difference rather than “othering” it – as we need to foster understanding, communication, and that connection in order to grow and move forward as a society. So whether it is a really socio-politically engaged artist – the one who holds up a mirror to society, especially in times of great turmoil and environmental catastrophe; or someone who “only paints pretty pictures” ( a characterization that I highly dislike and disagree with) – both bring light into an otherwise dark world – all-be-it in their different ways. One forces us to face our shortcomings, to ask difficult questions and look for original solutions, while the other uplifts us and offers us an escape or a respite from a very harsh reality. As for contemporary art, the things that I really love best about it is the diversity of the voices that it allows to be heard in a more immediate way, and the accessibility of art to a wider public. Whether it is through a traditional medium, performance, installation, or any other art from, the role of the artist remains the same… to make us aware, to teach us about humanity, to connect us to each other and to the world at large.

LC – Where do you get your inspiration?
MM – For me the greatest source of inspiration is colour – especially the colours of the sea. Having grown up along the coast of the Adriatic, the sea is extremely important to me – the memory of the aroma, the sound of the surf breaking on the rocks, the reflections and those divine blues! My honest belief is that colour can improve almost anything—especially the bright, rich tones. But really, inspiration is all around us – whether it be a particular piece of music, a book or a lovely day, or something completely unexpected and even unpleasant – the important thing is that it drives us to create.

LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artwork?
MM – I would say, that for me, the most challenging aspect of creating are limitations. Limitations whether real or imagined. Whether it is a physical limitation – like the lack of physical space to create and keep the work of the dimensions I would like to (Vancouver is a very expensive city where finding affordable studio space is pretty much impossible); or the limitations we place on ourselves, most often, due to fears we might not be quite ready to face yet.

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Interview: Maja MaglajlicImage courtesy of Maja Maglajlic

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LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
MM – What I really love about ITSLIQUID’s vision is that notion of fluidity and ease of sharing and connecting. “Democratizing” art is making it accessible to both the audiences and the artists, especially emerging artists, is definitely appealing, as it allows equally those with great access, and those who wouldn’t necessarily have these opportunities open to them, an avenue to explore and dream. As to the theme of the Venice International Art Fair 2019, as an abstract, and mostly non-representational artist, I am really drawn to the idea of transforming and breaking down boundaries – both visible and invisible. Boundaries in a piece of work, but also boundaries that we impose on our world, as most of the borders we live with, are structures created rather than “natural” and pre-existing. The connections between body, mind and soul are also something that I have explored in my work, so I really do relate to that side of this rather broad theme.

LC -What do you think about the organization of our event?
MM – I was unable to be in Venice in person. I was really hoping to attend the event, but unfortunately, that proved impossible for me. The only thing that I can say is that all of the communications and the logistical side of things run very smoothly for me. The people that I was in contact with were extremely professional, patient and helpful, and I am truly grateful for their assistance. As someone who is quite new to the idea of sharing her work publically, I truly appreciated the opportunity to show my work in such a high quality setting, in a city with powerful and complex artistic and historical legacy like Venice.

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Interview: Maja MaglajlicImage courtesy of Maja Maglajlic

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