Maria Magdalena insists that drawing is innate to her, and to watch her at work you have no choice but to believe this sentiment. Hailing from Cape Town, Maria created a collection of the most divine illustrations that we used as part of the Country Road Caravan currently making its way around South Africa. Here we take a visit to her studio as she discusses the philosophy behind her approach to art.
Could you please talk us through your journey as an artist:
“My illustration journey started almost accidentally with simple cards that I drew for close friends and family as gifts. They are deeply personal to me. It grew organically into a fine art print range that a month later was picked up by blogs and magazines. Four years down the line, here I am with my illustration brand exhibiting internationally.”
Is there a certain idea you have maintained through your approach to your practice since the beginning?
“My illustrations are an extension of my heart and hands and I will always see them as gifts to people. Every aspect is thoughtfully considered to create a beautiful experience for the person receiving it. Each piece is packaged by hand and is delivered with a hand written card to the new owner.”
Most artists draw inspiration from all around, is there any one thing in particular that serves as a constant source of inspiration?
“There are so many things that inspire my pieces. As a contemporary illustrator my artworks are without exception closely related to what I am going through as a woman, my environment and the stories that my heart wants to share. My most constant source of inspiration is poetry and the feelings that they evoke within me.”
Is there any artist that has had the biggest impact on your art?
“There’s not one particular artist that influences my work, but more of an amalgamation of creatives that I draw inspiration from. I adore the poetry of Rupi Kaur, Beau Taplin and R. M. Rilke. From an artistic perspective I greatly admire Laurence Leenaert, Cereal Magazine, Sunday Suppers and Caroline Walls.”
What is it you love most about the South African creative scene?
“My generation of creative females in South Africa has grown into unbelievable entrepreneurs with brands that are internationally celebrated. To be a part of that community makes me exceptionally proud.”
Do you have a favourite piece of art you treasure?
“I treasure the first drawing that I ever sold. My church asked me to donate a piece for a fundraising evening and it sold for an unbelievable amount of money. It was the moment that shifted my entire future into a completely different direction than I had ever dared dream of. Even though I didn’t make a cent from that piece, it’s the first time that I realized that my work might be worth something and it gave me the confidence to pursue a full-time career as an illustrator.”
How does your style ethos reflect your creative work?
“Art is very personal to me so it goes without saying that it reflects my personal ethos of an authentic life of effortless minimalism. I seek an elegant simplicity through a complex series of intricately hand drawn lines. My colour palette, both in life and in art, is muted and I aim to create work that is timeless instead of blindly following every new trend.”