I kind of pinched myself when Maya agreed to this interview. I first came across Maya Freelon with the release of her Art on Fire video, which she released in response to the murder of George Floyd (and countless other black lives). I then rapidly dove into her colorful world of tissue paper artwork, and became fascinated with her messages and the deep history behind her medium.
In this convo we get a behind the scenes look at her experience of the art world, how she stuck to her guns in her work despite discouragement from professors, and we unpack her powerful video that calls out racism, by which I found her. Maya came fully equipped to this chat with experience and wisdom, and made room for zero BS. This one is guaranteed to light a creative fire under you in more ways than one.
We talked about….
-- Maya’s current thoughts on the galley system in the time of COVID
-- Super real talk on the pro’s and con’s of the artist/gallery relationship
-- Ways for artists to build their own “cred” outside of the system
-- Anger and isolation stemming from injustices and racial tensions
-- Maya’s identity as a black artist
-- Using accessible materials to challenge racism in the art world
-- Advice for artists to stay true to themselves and their art
Maya Freelon is an award-winning visual artist who creates striking abstract sculptures and installations from tissue paper and water stains. She’s been featured in Garden & Gun magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine called her one "of the most badass female artists in the biz,” Miami New Times selected her as one of “five Young Artists to Watch During Miami Art Week 2019” and her work was described by the late poet Maya Angelou as "visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being." Her unique tissue paper art, praised by the International Review of African American Art as "a vibrant, beating assemblage of color," has been exhibited internationally, including shows in Paris, Jamaica, Madagascar, and Italy.
Be sure to check out the show's *brand new* IG page: @artandmagicpodcast
Maya Freelon's NCMA Installation