Bay Area artist MJ Lindo‘s fabulous paintings on wood panels are inspired by surrealism and “Day of the Dead” type of art, which makes her the perfect Rising Star for this late October edition. Take a peek at her work & learn more about her process and art style in the interview below!
LF: Your artist statement says: “the signature drips in her work may be a metaphor for time and progression.” How old are you? Tell me about your progression, on a geographic, spiritual level and artistic level.
MJ: I am 23 years old. As I mature and grow, I try to incorporate what I see and what I experience through my work. Every piece I’ve done is a story I’ve experienced, or want to experience. I also find inspiration through other peoples’ stories. I find myself relating to these stories and I try to recreate them through my imagery.
LF: What about your academic background? Are you self-taught? How did you start painting?
MJ: I have an AA in art, but I do consider myself self-taught when it comes to painting. I’ve taken one painting class where I did my own thing the whole time anyways. I’ve always had art in my life, since I’ve moved around so much, art is the one thing that really stuck with me. I started to paint around the age of 15 when I got a job painting for the city where I lived.
LF: Who / what influences you?
MJ: I’m hugely influenced by culture. Again from moving around so much I’ve been exposed to many different cultures and lifestyles. Religion and nature are also huge inspirations.
LF: Who are your muses, are some of those self-portraits?
MJ: None of my pieces are self-portraits. I think I subconsciously I add some of myself into my work, but its not intentional. My muses are a mixture of friends, family and random people I see, women I look up to. I try to portray women in a powerful way, while maintaining the vulnerability that I can relate to.
LF: You’re obsessed with graffiti – have you worked on a wall before?
MJ: Yeah I’ve done it a few times, but only for fun. I’d never try to make a name for myself through graffiti. The first time I saw graffiti was when I was a little girl living in Canada. It’s what inspired me to be an artist. I have an immense respect for graffiti artists, and their dedication.
Who’s your favorite street artist?
All art is subjective, but I do have my favorites for my own reasons. Kase2 is definitely one of my favorites, he only had one arm and still dedicated himself to his art. Craola is one of my favorite artists period, he’s got a super dope style and his paintings are amazing. Amanaki’s stuff is dope and has amazing paintings too.
LF: You have a section for community-based projects on your website. How important is it for you to get involved in your community, and how does art let you do that, ex) in Nicaragua.
MJ: Well I lived in Nicaragua for a few years, and its where my family’s from, but I am currently living in California. I worked for a non-profit organization for 5 years that painted murals and benches around the city. I am planning on making a trip back to Nicaragua in the near future to teach art since I have family there. This has been a goal for several years, I feel like its a responsibility to go back and support my roots. The soul needs art, it’s an escape from things we have to deal with day to day.
LF: How FAST do you live?
MJ: I’d say I live life in strides. I try not to plan things in advance, just take things as they come. I’m definitely impulsive which has a lot of good and bad.
LF: Favorite Nicaraguan local picks:
MJ: One of my favorite places to visit in Nicaragua is Leon. Its a stone paved city with a lot of history and beautiful architecture. San Juan del Sur is extremely beautiful and would recommend it as one of the top places to visit in Nicaragua. If you ever find yourself there, take the hike to the top of the volcanoes too!!