Interdimensional Nomads & A Different Kind of Soul Food
Studio Visit and Interview with Mali Mowcka, September 2017
By John Vochatzer
Food. It’s second only to air and water as a prime ingredient for our survival. If we lump water into the category of food and look at air as something that you sort-of eat with your lungs then we can basically conclude that food is life. It’s what makes us tick. It’s the sustenance that propels us through our daily lives.
With that thought it is of no mere coincidence that food is the first thing that I thought of when first introduced to the art of my new friend, best known by her pseudonymous surname “Mali Mowcka”. And although to some the voluptuous shapes and frosting-colored hues of Miss Mowcka’s characters might recall the likes of devil’s food donuts or dulce de leche, the appetite they truly whet I’ve come to realize is, additionally, more incorporeal in nature.
All across Barcelona, from the giant cathedral doors of the Gothic Quarter to the bright beige walkways of Gracia, Mali Mowcka’s paintings and paste-ups can be found everywhere. Peering from behind seemingly every stop sign and atop every storefront can be spotted one of her delectable dames floating buoyantly above and beckoning “eat me, eat me.” Imagine bavarian cream beauties in celestial play with buttermilk nymphs. Magic mousse. Cherub parfait. Sisterhoods of psychic sorbet engaged in Matissian dances aloft whipped cream clouds. Bare naked bonbons and all-seeing gumdrops. Sensual strudels, resplendent in all their strawberry-icing slathered mystique. Fertile food deities frolicking in naturalist splendor down cobblestone paths and guiding you to Miss Mowcka’s very own custard-filled Venus of Willendorf somewhere off an alleyway down La Rambla. My eyes roll back into my head as I salivate like Homer Simpson. The ethereal spirits of a five-course dream dessert all baked to pineal-gland-watering perfection in the cosmic pastry oven of Mali’s psyche.
But I’ll stop my soliloquy for all things baked and sweet there, lest I run out of savory synonyms and look as deranged as I feel hungry, or worse yet: Mali kills me for so elaborately comparing her art to food. All gluttonous garble aside, the sublime world of Mali Mowcka feeds the imagination and the soul, which to me is just as vital a nourishment as the fodder we put in our stomachs. Mali Mowcka denies that food is a major inspiration for her art. I would disagree.
Translated from Spanish with the loving assistance of our friend Yaicecream.
JV: Mali Mowcka, your art makes me hungry. Like it reminds me of food like I walked into a pastry or donut shop and I just want to eat everything. Is food an inspiration of yours?
MM: Hahaha, thats the first question? For real? Ok!
Well… not really. I don’t get inspiration from food. I work in connection with my inner-self and my subconscious. By working with one’s own different inner states I believe each person can make up their own interpretations of my pieces. It’s the idea that each one of us can connect with some part of ourselves and from there can begin on a path that leads us toward opening the doors of our own deeper subconsciouses.
JV: Right on. If you were the lead singer of a pop music group, what would it be called and what would be the titles of your biggest hits?
MM: Interdimensional Nomads.
1. Spiritual Science
2. Each One Of Your Parts
3. The Eyes Of The Cosmos
JV: Awesome! Can I play ukulele and do backing vocals on The Eyes of the Cosmos?
MM: You can totally play your ukulele and do the backing vocals with the condition that we are all dressed as like infinite eyes looking into the depths of the cosmos. It takes place on a psychedelic stage filled with projections of my characters that are continuously entering and exiting our insides, so everything is in a stage of connection.
JV: Haha, on second thought I’m not sure if I have the musical talent to live up to that!
While hanging out and drinking wine one night we were discussing how you were a very spiritually in-tune person, perhaps even clairvoyant? Can you describe some of your experiences and interactions with these phenomena?
MM: I can tell you of a lot of experiences I’ve had but better off over a glass of wine, a cigarette in hand and also a few sketches around us. Part of my life has been the deepening of my inner self; a state in which I am constantly searching for what is beyond but also searching right here, within myself. I believe that to discover and understand the universe it is necessary to delve first into ourselves, to analyze the many portions of our parts. Since I was a child I’ve lived through many different experiences. It’s difficult to understand but with time I came to understand and accept those experiences as something natural. I believe we are all capable of opening the doors that allow us to have clarity and live experiences, for example with psychedelic substances…
JV: Your characters can be seen everywhere in Barcelona. It seemed like every block I would walk down I would spot one of your colorful, donut-like lil' ladies. How did you get into doing street art and how do you think it ties into your identity as an artist in general?
MM: I started doing street art almost 4 years ago: I fell in love with the streets of Barcelona, I felt like they were alive and they talked to me, and it was precisely then that my characters started to become alive and it was the right moment to allow them to flow, grow and interact with the urban environment. In that precise moment is when I met some street artists that invited me to go out in the streets with them. I believe street art gave more life to my work, it gave it a vision, a space. It created ties and connected it more with what I believed in. At the beginning it was just a game and I didn’t know what I would find, but then I saw how people reacted towards my pieces and the connection that was created was magnificent and everyday when I would wake up I would find messages from people who wanted to know more about it, they would tell me their own stories about what they see and they would want to get together to tell me about their oneiric dreams and what moved them inside. For me that is exactly the goal: to awaken in people a state with which to react toward their inner selves; to look and search within themselves. Street art opened its doors to me, it helped me expand even more so in every aspect, it changed my vision, it created new paths and amplified everything around me. Also with street art I have met many wonderful people who are a great family to me!
JV: You're from Argentina, you moved to Barcelona, and now from what you told me you are planning on moving to London. How do you think that your upbringing in Argentina influenced you as an artist, and what do you think London has in store for you?
MM: Well, actually I am already living in London. I arrived a few weeks ago and I have already had a few exhibitions and painted a few walls, so I am very happy and grateful. I believe what matters is the here and the now, and thats is what I am going to enjoy. I believe the path is what molds you because we are in constant movement and the only thing that affects us is our actions. Where we come from is not fundamental for me, but our essence and where we go with it definitely is.
JV: Oh nice! I didn’t know that you had already moved. Tell me this: Whats the last thing you remember that really made you laugh?
MM: Interesting question, a few hours ago I was just thinking about that exact thing: When I was non-stop laughing about an event where someone was saying stupid things while dressed in a comic book character’s outfit and I was thinking: Wow, this feels so great… I should experience this more often, remembering all my friends who I’ve spent hours laughing with and in my experience those laughing states are sometimes better than an orgasm haha, although… Meeeeeooow!
JV: What do you think happens when you die? What would you like to happen when you die?
MM: I believe that when a flower dies in its core you can find millions of seeds, those seeds originate more life and more flowers. It is all a continuous flow and we move wherever the universal current takes us. To vibrate from the inside and to feel nature in all its forms helps the conscious being. Death reminds me of the constant changes that we live in life and its stages. That’s exactly what I believe in, I believe death is transmuting from one state to the other and what I would simply like is to feel always full and always thinking about the now, not the future, thats why I always say: VIDA VIVA!
JV: You have a beautiful and unique way of interpreting the female form with your characters. Can you elaborate on your inspiration for your very iconically stylized characters and any themes or motifs intended to accompany them?
MM: The girls are the result of the experimentation of my feminine side combined with what I used to draw and not too many people could understand because they used to be so abstract that it was hard to find its form and meaning due to its heavy symbolic load. Basically I felt like some parts of me didn’t flow and I started to look for that flow and I found it in my feminine energy and all its dances and movements. The girls started to take shape and they still continue to do so, finding corners to explore. Our inner energies are infinite and they contain everything we need to know, from the most basic to the most complex, far beyond what we could imagine. My goal is now, through these characters and their simplicity, to shed some light on everything that lays behind in the darkness and that of which not many people know. The constant flow of life and its highest and lowest harmonies.
JV: At what points in creating art do you feel the most accomplished or satisfied?
MM: I feel very satisfied most of all when I draw lines and they flow, they connect with each other and without having anything particular in mind, they start to become representations of a scenery, and when I observe them I can see and analyze them like traveling through dreams, like a gathering within the deepest reality, like a book with answers but instead of words there are lines. Everything that we want to see is within ourselves, we just have to take the time to observe ourselves, in each action, each representation, each movement, in each thought there is a deeper string, an origin. Every question we formulate, if we want to reach the answer we’ve gotta start the search within our inner selves.
JV: One last question: if I actually could eat your art like I want to, what would it taste like?
MM: Hahaha. Some of it sweet, some of it salty, with a lot of chocolate and most of all, everything vegan and with a touch of white wine.