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Meet Maureen Maki

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maureen Maki.

Hi Maureen, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born in Flint, Michigan. My dad worked in the auto factories and my mom had a bunch of kids. As the oldest of six, I took refuge in art. I loved it from the start. I could go into my own world and draw for hours. I re-drew all my favorite album covers in pencil, from David Bowie to The Who, and many more. I continued with it and moved on to art school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Eventually, I opened my own art gallery in downtown Detroit. Still making art always.

In the year 2000, I changed things up and moved to Los Angeles. I sold off most everything, art included, and put the rest in my little Toyota station wagon and made my way to the west coast where I started over from scratch. Still making art as always. The thing that really got me about LA was the plant life, the flora, the way everything grew there without even trying. So I continued to make art, often inspired by the nature around me, and exhibited my paintings and lived my life. Through the ups and downs of life, through it all, I had one constant – I continued making art.

Today I have an awesome hillside studio in Northeast LA. I’m set up to print and paint and collage however I like. I spend as much time as possible working on ideas and images to keep me going. That’s the gist of my story, that no matter what or where, no matter the pain or suffering, I still have to keep creating – it actually keeps me alive.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It has not always been smooth, no, not at all. I spent a lot of time avoiding conventional jobs in order to make my art. I traveled through dangerous treacherous roads – addiction, mental illness, family tragedy and a serious lack of funding. Still, in all of that, I remembered to keep making art. I swear it’s all that got me through.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I have always done painting and printmaking and most of my work now falls into the category of mixed media and collage. I make small and large-scale fine art collage paintings created from my monumental paper collection of both printed and purchased handmade and decorative art papers. Lately, I’ve been revisiting printmaking, something I studied in college, and am happy to be making linocut monotype prints for the first time in years.

I mimic nature by placing shapes and colors together. They bounce off each other like molecules, creating something new and energetic. Collage is the perfect vehicle for this type of creating. I’m able to juxtapose pieces and let the visual magic create a new reality. At its best, the work is alchemy – a magical process of transformation, creation or combination.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
My art is doing its job when it inspires others and ignites joy, transmitting a natural beauty and energy that is our world. It matters to me that our earth continues to be a vibrant place where growth and creation happen naturally and easily. I paint images of this vibrancy that is at the heart of all creation. I worry that climate change is damaging the natural progression of life. If we do not have clean air, water and soil, we don’t have the simple tools to survive.

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