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Art & Life with Margaret Leyva

Today we’d like to introduce you to Margaret Leyva.

Margaret, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up dancing. I always thought, “I’m a dancer.” And I may have liked other mediums, but nothing came before dance. I always kind of fought the feeling that I was better at photography. That was something really hard for me to accept. I spent my whole life training at studios, but was never exceptional. And then I pick up a camera and it’s easy.

Throughout high school, I’d go take darkroom classes. It was once a week, and made me feel at peace. I didn’t care about what was on the negative as much as the process of developing and printing.

Then I graduated high school, and got pregnant the following year. I thought, “I want my child to be inspired by me. I want them to see that I went after my dreams and accomplished them.” So I started to accept that I was better at photography, and pursue that.

Within the year, I was having people from all over LA come to my apartment to have me shoot them. It’s been great.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My main medium is photography, but I’m interested in lots of things. Actually just last night I tried to organize all the things I want to do. It was a long list, and I’m not sure how I’m going to organize it still.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what my art is, and what it means. To be honest, I don’t really know. I guess I hope people look at my work and feel some sense of beauty. Not a superficial kind beauty though. I’ve been making things forever, like I took my kindergarten crafts very seriously. Maybe a little too serious. I’ve never not loved art. I’ve never not loved creating. I do it for myself, and if I didn’t do anything creative—well, I’d probably be so lethargic.

I think art is personal and subjective, so ultimately it’s not my place to say what others should take away from it. Whatever someone feels about my work is valid. To me, my work is how I see the world and I try to recreate all these feelings I have.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
I don’t think the roll of the artist has changed. I think that, for the most part, the world has always been in some sort of disarray. I mean I’m Native American and don’t know my culture because this country was founded on genocide. Does that make sense? Like art has been around forever, through out any and all world events.

I think art can’t help but be affected by these things.

Hard question. But. Ultimately I’m not sure how it affects my art, but on the same note I’m sure it has to in some way.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Right now I’m not planning any shows, and don’t have anything up. So through Instagram is the best way to see my stuff. And as far as support, I love when people reach out to tell me how my work makes them feel. Although I never know how to respond.

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Image Credit:
Margaret leyva

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