Images via Magda Love
Around this time last year, not only was the Pegasus World Cup Invitational taking over Gulfstream Park for the first time, but so was Magda Love, an artist based in Miami who specializes in large-scale outdoor murals that take on a bold and colorful persona. The whimsical quality of her work and its connection to nature made her the perfect fit for live-painting a mural during the race since, as she relays, “According to Greek legend, everywhere the winged horse Pegasus struck his hoof to the earth, an inspiring spring burst forth.” (Her Argentinian heritage, which has a deep-rooted tradition of horse racing and a passion and enthusiasm for all things equestrian, didn’t hurt either.) Choosing to illustrate the beloved horse California Chrome as a Pegasus flying through the stars amidst exotic plants, she emulated the illusion of flight portrayed in races thanks to the speed of the horses. One massive panel measuring 10 feet long by 8 feet tall was flanked by two side panels that were 3 feet wide and just as tall. “I used over 20 colors,” says Magda, who used exterior latex paint and tons of spray paints, which are great for speed and shading. "Even the blue sky has eight to nine different shades including pink, purple and yellow, and the same goes for the horse and its various shades of red and orange. It is never one color. There might be something that seems obvious as a predominant color but when you come closer to my artwork you really see how many layers of different pigments I use. That's the beauty and the challenge of painting a large mural—coming up with a piece that looks amazing but also invites you to come closer and discover a more intimate magic.”
We checked in with Magda to see what she’s been up to and hear about the good she’s no doubt doing with her art. Read on to find out what makes her a horse of a different color.
Q: What inspires you most?
A: My work is very much moved by my emotions, by memories of childhood, by inspiring good feelings among people. I like to believe my work taps into an almost mystical, magical side of the viewer that can connect to the artwork and to themselves. I am very interested in reminding myself and the people who look at my work about our humanity, our belonging to nature, our connection to each other, the idea of hope, and how just by staying linked to our true origins we can find love and magic in our daily lives. I am very moved by the power of nature, plants, animals and other people. That’s why I love painting in the streets and meeting different people and learning about their culture. We all are vibrant in different ways. But if you study mythology and mysticism around the world, you truly learn that all tales and traditions, even religions, were originally inspired by nature.
Q: Tell us about your most recent murals.
A: This past year was very busy. I painted murals in three different cities in Mexico and had a solo show in Mexico City. I also finished my five-story mural in New York City and teamed up with an organization to raise awareness about child labor and child slavery around the world. There is always a ton of work and I’m super excited for what’s coming this year. Congo and Cambodia are at the top of my list.
Q: Tell me about your work with the United Nations.
A: I went to them as a speaker representing Street Art for Mankind. I feel very proud to represent the power of individuals and artists who stand up for a fairer world for all children around the globe. I believe strongly in the power of collective and public art projects. I believe that we are all capable of contributing to our communities through our talents. I feel fortunate that through my art I am able to spark conversations about people who aren’t always being heard. Last year, I went to Cambodia to work with a large group of girls rescued from sex trafficking, and it was really life-changing for me. Experiencing and hearing their stories, and later painting and absorbing the power of overcoming and new hope in these young girls really fueled my commitment even more, not only to my artwork but also to making art that really inspires and empowers people and communities.
Q: How could someone recognize a Magda Love mural?
A: I think I have a good reputation for my bright colors. You will probably find anatomical hearts and black outlines to give more dimension to my subjects. Also, I feel muralism and street art are usually a very male-dominant world, so I like to keep my work very faithful to my most feminine and caring side. I don't try to fit into a man's cool mural world; I want to stand for a more emotional connection, a more intimate moment, the dichotomy of being a woman. The power, strength and rawness mixed in with the fragility and vulnerability. I think that embracing these qualities of being a woman and a mom really give a strong identity to my work. I believe that as women, we have a unique gift for being able to be both at the same time and we need to hold on to that gift dearly.
Q: What colors are you mostly drawn to?
A: I think really depends on the mood. I just love all colors, especially a super bright pink. But colors really take predominance and become alive when they start dancing with each other. I like to think that when I start a mural and place new colors, it’s like starting a conversation or a song.
Q: Talk about the art scene in South Florida.
A: It is pretty new for me, so I find it very exciting. As opposed to the NYC scene, where I lived for 15 years, nobody takes it for granted. I have noticed that it's smaller but it’s filled with very committed individuals. I think South Florida also has a much bigger year-round population of people who are very interested in learning and experiencing the arts more. The bloom that I have seen in Wynwood and through Art Basel is truly motivating for me as well. I feel there is a lot more space, and a lot of room to explore, collaborate, and make the arts more and more predominant in South Floridian lives.