MEOKO spent a late afternoon chatting with talented and imaginative Maggio. A London based Italian artist, muralist, performer and more, Maggio founded Imaginary Beings art collective. She has worked on a mix of creative projects from a live theatrical show in Dalston to painting murals in Mexico, to a documentary about ayahuasca in Central America. She travels around the world, going deep into Central America’s jungles to live and breathe in nature with indigenous tribes. Delving deeper into her art pieces you are transported into a world of mysticism and lovely surprises. She exhibits the richness of her imaginative mind through her coffee stain concept; Le Stain Desire and her chromolithographic Visions wearable art, including her new beautiful collection of stained silk scarves. She explains the ideas behind her projects and gives us insight into her thoughts about her two lives in the jungle of South America and the concrete one of London.
Hi Maggio! You are based in London, in the east I assume?
Yes I live in Stoke Newington
Oh we are neighbours then. Meoko is based in Stoke Newington Studios!
How do you find living in Stoke Newington?
Oh I love Stockey. It’s like a pink bubble of great coffee and healthy food and the park near by is such a treat, and the cemetery’! I filmed some music video there.
How long have you been living in London for?
I moved to London in 2005. I was 16 and mad for London and its creative Babylon, but I never stayed longer than two years in a row. It’s like a passionate love story and London can drive you really out your mind uh? So I take breaks to South America or anywhere in jungles. Find sanity back….but I lived in New York too for a while and one year in Mexico and one in Portugal…but hey I always come back to London.
Yes, I get that. This concrete jungle is too wild sometimes! You have been to some beautiful places! What is it like living in the jungle?
The jungle is the closest I have ever been to my natural state of mind. Imagine: You wake up hearing the most extraordinary singing birds at best, or otherwise it’s monkeys having sex which is not as charming. You wake up and everything is green and infinite shaded of exotic flowers.
You go and swim in a river. You are probably with good friends or keep people who are there to find peace from the city. You can sit with the natives and talk about life, learning from their immensely different perspectives, or just venture to explore nature, which is wild and keeps you on your toes. It makes you very respectfully and awake all the time and if we are talking about the Amazon you get to take ayahuasca which is a vine from there, highly psychoactive and very powerful self-knowledge brew. Have you heard of it?
It sounds like a paradise. Nature, travelling and meeting different people… I’m sure they give you many different perspectives. Yes I have, but I’ve never tried it before. I heard that you should be in a particular state of mind in your life to do the ceremony.
Yes! Worldwide perspective is so vital to produce art with honesty, or it’s easy to get stuck in one’s egotistical ideas . About aya, yes, when you want to dive in and if some inner troubles that don’t seem to have a solution.
Can you tell me about your ayahuasca experience? How was your experience and what did you learn from it?
I took aya few times, always different, but what all those times have in common is that the separation (the duality of you and the rest of the world, or you and life) disappears, you are experiencing oneness, the most powerful feeling of love for everything that is…but it’s no airy fairy, it so unbelievably grounding. When you come down it’s not like taking a pill, you don’t feel down, you feel clean and lucid and you swear you won’t forget and will live life accordingly! But damn it’s hard!!
That’s beautiful. It seems like a significant awakening .
You would love it.
Do you experience any hallucinations?
Yes, but depends I think if you’re a visual person- I saw giants, the first time I became a tree and disappeared in the jungle, had no past, the huge hands took me away, I met dragons and talked with entities which invited me to go back. I argued as I didn’t want to!
You are definitely a visual person. When I look at your art I see many different fantastical, mystical images of creatures, women and objects. How do you find inspiration? Do you improvise? And is there usually a theme behind your designs?
I have always been fascinated by the subject of Oracles. The ancient Delphi, the muses of the poets and generally the contact in between the present and the future. In ancient times was simply part of reality, now it’s new agey or seen as superstition… but what fascinated me is the oracular object (the end of a coffee, tea leaves, anything that the subconscious can read things in) and bring to life what I see, like looking at the clouds (when I was a kid and I needed advice I stared at the clouds to find answers) so when travelling in Mexico and I couldn’t paint (couldn’t carry material) I started to see much more, I kept in it. Until one day it exploded and I could see images everywhere. I then read it was a kind of condition called apophenia. Everything was not only the thing itself but there was a whole imaginary world in every shape. I realised I could just bring to life what I saw, so I used the stains I found around the world to tell me what to paint. This meant that I didn’t need to struggle for inspiration, I just had to let my subconscious unfold. Suddenly I realised that that was what oracles do. And somehow became a whole practice and the more I am lucid and clean inside the more my inner eye see more things. So to answer, no there’s never a theme, it’s pure download.
You came up with your coffee stained idea after you accidentally dropped some coffee on a paper, which created an image for your eyes. Can you describe to me that image?
oh yes! It was monstrous! I didn’t keep it, it was scary! A monster of terrible features, very dark. But yet I was amazed, it was as if it asked me to be created! Almost to get out of my system. In fact, the entire first stains series were rather dark and became gradually more positive and inspiring. I realised it was a proper subconscious washing machine! I see it as when you open a tap that has been closed for a long time and the water is dirty, and the more you let the water run it finally clears up. So my first stain was really nasty!
It seems like your coffee stain work has been quite therapeutic! Am I right to say this?
Ah yes super therapeutic! I made a therapy method from it! Here it a short documentary on it:
Is that partly why you changed your concept from Le Stain Desire to Vision?
Yes, when I created Le Stain Desire it was because the wedding dress of a friend in Mexico- she had it from her mother- was the same one she used and it was stained in wine from her dancing at the wedding. The memory was so beautiful but the dress was trashed and she thought it ruined. I asked her to let me turn the stains into art and something amazing came out! The stains were all about love and celebration, I believe because I was influenced by the story. So I thought that every story can make the stains unique and very personal to who carries them. Le stain desire was born with this ‘desire’ but it was me who wasn’t liberated enough to see the colours as well as the shadows. Recently, few months ago, remembering the wedding dress I remembered how important is to dive into the right state of mind before creating an artwork, the subconscious will do all the work! So I started to focus on positive visions and the whole thing changed, massive saturation levels! So Visions Wearable Art was born to be all about colours and positive thinking, to see a stain for the heritage and story it tells rather then as something that ruins a fabric. It’s basically the concept “circumstances don’t matter, only your state of being matters”
I love your Le Stain Desire statement: “a symbolic act where chaos turns into harmony, ruin into renew”. What excites you the most? The act or the result of turning chaos into harmony?
Great question. The act. The act it’s something of the magical, it’s like becoming part of that chaos, those random shapes, till disappearing. It’s adrenaline meeting control, yet letting go of all expectation of what will come out, you can’t stop until your mind will register the presence of beauty in a way when the result comes up it,s not yours anymore, it’s outside you, but it’s comforting and gives you a sense of peace.
In your daily or private life, do you like stepping into problems and finding solutions? or do you that enough with Le Stain Desire?
Ah ah I really do that actually! Very perceptive! The world is a big chaos playground.
Your art work is a whole world of projects and collaborations! You are a performer, a muralist, a painter and more. What will you be doing this Sunday at Gaza Toy Drive’s event? Can you describe what type of art you will be showcasing?
I am going to do a live piece where I create stains art live, this one I have sold already but this is the concept, blowing colours on canvas and then drawing on it:
Wow, I am looking forward to seeing them in person! You literally blow the colours! That is great!
Hyperventilation! Maybe I just can’t stay away from getting high? It brings all the emotions to surface! Breathing is the secret to it all!!
Thank you Maggio for your beautiful words.
If you have been touched by Maggio’s positive words please check out Maggio’s blowing colours therapy documentary! She will also be blowing colours this sunday at Vibe Bar for Gaza Toy Drive. On the way to Vibe don’t forget to check out legendary graffiti bar, Monty’s on Brick Lane. Giggle at her Lilth, watch the tower of babel fall to her shoes or let yourself fall into Aya’s Vision!
Maggio has very kindly offered give away a very special prize to one of our very lucky MEOKO readers. She will paint someone’s wall and give away one of her lovely stained silk scarves from her new Visions collections. To win, please email us your favourite London Street Artist at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Maggio’ in the subject title. Winner will be announced on Friday, the 26th of September.
Come join us as Meoko, Keep on Going, Colors lnd and DAMAGED residents come together to show support! There will be a great selection of live street and visual art, including Maggio’s live painting, an art auction, a photography exhibition, market stalls and more, all for a good cause! Check out our review here.