We had the good fortune of connecting with Maya Ragazzo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maya, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Even when you think you have given up on something, you might just be taking a break from it without knowing. I find that I am not as attached to the outcome of my art projects as of late. I am interested in the process and how it is a reflection of my changing environments over an entire lifetime. My art practice is constantly evolving, and giving up doesn’t even cross my mind anymore because I feel that the possibilities in art making are infinite (especially if you don’t limit yourself to one medium!). If you see your creativity as infinite, then there is really no reason to quit. Breaks and time of rest are important, but I always know inspiration can strike at any given moment. When I was in my early twenties and thought about being a fine artist, I compared myself to people who had long CVs and attended prestigious MFA programs and residencies. I thought that being in a gallery was the be all end all and that my work had to have defined concepts that included informed social commentary. I thought I had to be all of these things that I just wasn’t. If I stuck to that mode of thinking, I would have given up being an artist by now. But once I discovered that my work doesn’t have to align with what other people are making, then the pressure is a lot less intense and I feel like I can do anything at any pace I choose. Obviously there are times where I have deadlines, and I have am forced to focus my energy towards completing a project in the allotted time. But the process remains true to me, which ultimately is relaxing and not anxiety producing. It’s important to enjoy the work you’re making and to make conscious choices to make sure you don’t create work for yourself that makes you resent what you’re doing. I am a multidisciplinary artist so I bounce from medium to medium, depending on what I’m interested in exploring at that moment. Jack of all trades, master of none is just a myth! I’d like to be a master in creativity, so being a jack of all trades is necessary to me. My art practice is ultimately an extension of my subconscious and the unconscious collective I was born with, so working with how my brain naturally functions is a necessary process. Art making is my favorite form of alone time. It’s unlike anything else. It’s where I get to feel free, and I’ll never give up trying to be more free.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an interdisciplinary artist who takes on a variety of projects that all require a slightly different creative muscle. I am lucky that my career has also informed my art. My past jobs have included working as a digital fabrication specialist, a scaled model builder, and an educator in rapid prototyping. Currently, I build contemporary chandeliers at a lighting design studio. Working with my hands on the daily often bleeds over into how I approach my artistic practice. I have an outdoor sculpture show this summer that involves making a miniature city, so I naturally am using skills that I acquired when I was making 1:87 scaled buildings at a model train shop. Working in fabrication also is great because I usually have access to some sort of wood shop or digital fabrication facility. Having access to specialized tools greatly influences what I am able to execute. I am constantly learning new building techniques from coworkers or friends who also share the same passion for making. When I need a break from physically making things, I turn to painting and drawing in my home/garage studio. Being able to pull inspiration from many different mediums is what motivates me to keep going, and I hope it keeps people excited to see what’s next.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ok let’s break it down into different parts of the city. West side:
Check out the Eames House in the Pacific Palisades, then go to the Getty Villa for the views of the ocean and the art. Then get some Thai food at Cholada, and finish off the day at first point to watch some surfers do their thing (my favorite beach in Malibu).
Take a stroll around Mid Wilshire/ Hancock park area and look at all the beautiful houses and apartments! A lot of them are built in the 1920’s and have great landscaping. Go to LACMA.
Go to L&E Oyster Bar to get a cocktail & oysters, walk around the silverlake reservoir or down along the LA river, and then get dinner at Speranza.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shoutout my immediate family. My father for showing me how to use a camera, my mother for encouraging and supporting a creative upbringing, and my sister for always being my artistic inspiration.
Portrait Photo is by Tehmina Dinshah Also Other Photographs are by Maya Ragazzo