In the age of social media, there is a particular feeling of anxiety that comes with meeting an established creative for the first time. As I drove to Magdalena Wosinka’s Highland Park residence to conduct our interview, I had the sort of jitters that I normally reserve for first dates. You probably follow her Instagram account and you will probably agree with me when I describe her artistic aesthetic with one word: magic. Her images seem to exist in a world of fantasy, only made tangible with the insertion of her nude body in each image. Despite our multitude of mutual friends and shared interests, I couldn’t help but wonder if she is just as otherworldly as her images. You know when you meet someone that you recognize from the Internet for the first time and you realize that the alter-ego they’ve branded themselves with doesn’t translate into the real world at all? You feel awkwardly disappointed but also shameful for having any sort of expectation stamped onto a stranger.
Well, the truth is hanging out with this woman is magic in of itself. She talks fast and asks a lot of questions. She’s kind but has a sharp tongue. She is quite intelligent and well-spoken. She drives a muscle car, which only contributes to her genre of sex appeal. The kind of woman who is beautifully feminine but also played in a metal band for a good period of her twenties. Bare faced, dressed in old Levi’s and a yellow button-down blouse at her home filled with antique relics from differing decades. She is of another era, maybe another world altogether. As we sit down over tea and I turn on my recorder, I recognize that she is allowing me to step into her world. With baited breath, I enter the void known as The Magdalena Experience.
“It is an appreciation for myself and for receiving my womanhood, something that just began to flourish in my late twenties,” Magda begins. If you look around the internet for information on the thirty-one year old, you’re likely to see a myriad of photos of her in biker jackets, playing in a metal band and onstage with the Foo Fighters. Yet, if you glance over her work for The Experience, you’ll notice it is delicately feminine. Caramel skin with smooth muscles set in picturesque scenes. It is a beautiful ode to womanhood, the sort of work that left my already huge appreciation for all things feminine even more inflated. I suppose this is her conciliation between the two opposing sides of her personality – feminine and masculine, which only further fuels the ambiguity that surrounds Magda.
At age nine, Ms. Wosinska was moved to the states (Arizona, specifically) from her native Poland. “My parents wanted a better life for us kids. Communism ended in 1989 and we moved in 1991. However, communism remained in the country for a long time – maybe up until eight years ago. There is just a different mentality, a different way of thinking. People’s attitudes of being open to something new was very tricky.” Her young move to the U.S. was not a smooth transition – Magda didn’t speak English and endured a huge culture shock that resulted in her being alienated from her peers. Since she didn’t fit in with the majority of the females in her class, she began associating with the “weird kids”, presumably the outcasts and art nerds. This became her first foray into being a tomboy – a pursuit that eventually led to her building her social group at the local skatepark. Beginning her love affair with photography around the same time she began skateboarding, young Magdalena was in a man’s world before she was even a legal adult.
“It is funny, people think I have this armor, but I am one of the most vulnerable, sensitive people. It can get frustrating for people to think they know me. I am a fragile flower,” she laughs while trying to explain her identity as a woman, a subject that has been exhausted in recent press. After being pigeonholed into doing commercial work that revolved around grungy bikers and punk rock kids, Magda recognized that she needed to shift into a different space, both artistically and personally. Recently releasing The Experience: Volume I was a step in this natural conversion. After traveling for work and finding herself in beautiful and creatively stimulating spaces, she realized that she needed to keep a diary. And, unsurprisingly for a visual artist, she uses photos as her diary entries. You’re likely to notice that none of her work is vulgar or overtly sexual, despite the high volume of nudity – instead the bare skin indicates a lack of time. As she puts it, “I want my great grandkids to look at it and not know if it was the year 2020 or 1896.”
When speaking with Magda, I realized I was not surprised by her story. Perhaps any woman who socialized with men for the majority of her youth would need this transition into womanhood. Yet, Magda documenting hers for a world of spectators to devour is another one of her charming attributes. There is an unspoken vibration that accompanies inherently feminine work and distinctly resonates with the divinity that is within a woman. This vibration is what she manages to capture and share with her audience.
What some may be unaware of is that the next book in Magdalena’s series of four is The Experience Volume II: Dudes. A suitable follow-up to her freshman release The Experience Volume I: Nudes, we will be able to see the other half of her mind, and perhaps some of her past muses. “The name ‘The Magdalena Experience‘ of course comes from ‘The Jimi Hendrix Experience,'” she explains. But, Jimi Hendrix wasn’t the real reason why the name got used. Her ex-boyfriend, professional skateboarder Ethan Fowler, once had a fan in New Jersey start a band called ‘The Ethan Fowler Experience.’ “I kind of stole the name to make it my own, as Ethan was a very inspiring person in my life,” she admits with a sheepish smile spreading across her face. At this particular moment, I see the opportunity and jump at it, asking the question that my interview subjects typically love or hate, depending on their present situation: What is your definition of love?
She sighs. My face flushes scarlet and I feel the concern that I offended her creeping up the back of my neck. “I’m just so disconnected from that right now. But, the definition of love is a place where you feel comfortable with yourself, because when you care about yourself, you can really care about someone else. Love is when you want to be at your highest vibration, you highest level.” She exhales and I can’t tell if she is wracking her mind to say the right words without revealing too much or if she is experiencing a mental slideshow of love gained and lost. “To me, the most important thing is to be inspired by your partner – that way you can never get bored.”
The thing about Magda is she recognizes that her life is rather awe-inspiring. When I ask if she has a dream project, she tells me she’s doing it, that she only hopes it becomes more accessible to those who don’t know her world. When I ask her what she wants to do before she dies, she laughs and says, “I don’t know, I have a rad life, I’ve done a lot of cool stuff.” That is the magic that surrounds Magda. While sitting with her, I don’t feel the anxious tick that many creatives carry. The tick that spells out ferocious hunger, a lack of satisfaction, and artistic ADD. Instead, I see her simply existing. Even if we weren’t all watching her through the lens of social media, she would still be inside The Magdalena Experience, off in some crevice of the world creating her dreamscapes.
As I ask her the final, signature Live FAST question, we are both laughing. Laughing because we know the question and the answer all too well. How fast does Magdalena Wosinska live?
“Well, obviously really fast.”
Pick up your copy of The Experience Volume One here.
On April 22nd, Magdalena will be showing images from The Experience Volume One at London’s Webber Gallery Space, located at 18 Newman Street, W1T 1PE.