Free!

After 53 hours in custody, having been shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, forced to sleep on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow and having no access to toilet paper or eating utensils, I can happily say I AM SAFE & OUT OF JAIL AND ABU DHABI!

Obviously, I think a $3600 fine and deportation with a complimentary incarceration period was an extreme reaction to a jpg of a car posted to a closed Facebook page, when I did not swear or mention a single name and blocked the registration plate.

Even though I am pretty traumatised by my own experience, what has affected me more are the many, many stories told to me by my fellow inmates at both the jails I ‘visited’. I will be forever heartbroken by the treatment of these inspiring and courageous women from the Philippines, India, Nigeria, Russia, Uganda, Bangladesh, Syria etc at the hands of the U.A.E. ‘Justice System’.

If you think what happened to me was insane, spend a couple of days in an Abu Dhabi jail; I have nothing to complain about compared to the vast majority of women I met whose only crime was being poor, marrying the wrong guy, getting pregnant outside of marriage or/and being victims of rampant and systemic police corruption where ‘evidence’, ‘ethics’ and ‘due process’ are unheard of concepts.

Among numerous acts of kindness to me, these ladies welcomed me to The Big House with “We are your family now”, gave me a spoon to eat with, found me a blanket and a book to read and even sent me on my way to freedom with snacks incase I got hungry at the airport.

I will do what I can to contact some of their families and let them know how/where they are, but I still feel incredibly guilty leaving them in there when I am typing this from the luxury of an airport restaurant.

I know 1000% after hearing their stories that I would never have been released in such a speedy fashion without a) my Australian nationality, b) the media coverage (surreal), c) the belated efforts of the embassy and d) all of the support from my friends as well as people I have never even met.

I am sending out a massive Thank You to all of you for your good wishes and practical efforts to help, and huge love to my hero for rising so beautifully to the occasion.

Peace, Jodi.

p.s. I am going to take some time for myself to decompress (in Laos), so please forgive any delay in responses to emails and messages.
Thanks again. x

The joy of Gina: let them eat coal

Complete Oil on canvas, 122 x 76cm, 2015. This piece is a fine art version of political satire, drawing obvious parallels between Australia’s one and only mining heiress Gina Rinehart and Marie Antoinette; neither of whom are known for their social conscience, empathy for those less privileged, or tact. Using four different handling techniques – palette knife, layering, wet on wet and pointillism, this painting is a celebration of the Wall Street mantra ‘Greed is Good’.

Interview

Here is an interview I did for Artful Gathering, who is hosting my Online Workshop starting on June 6th.

Artful Living With Jodi Magi

Painting, Eyes Wide Open. Jodi Magi

Jodi Magi is one of the most unique women I’ve personally had the pleasure to get to know. The first time we conversed, I was in awe of her illustrative talent absolutely, but truly, I was, and still am entranced by her stories. Incredibly gifted and passionate, she is authentic and direct. In a world that is often dosing along on cruise control, Jodi finds a story to tell in everything around her.

My reaction to Jodi’s storytelling allowed me to put on a brand new pair of eye glasses where I was able to see things through a whole different lens. Jodi reminds us that there is a place inside all of us that is asleep, and when someone like herself comes along, she awakens us, and shows us what we can do if we pay attention to our thoughts and our ways of expressing those thoughts. We can learn to speak loudly, gently, forcefully, or persuasively, and our voice can be powerful.  Put on your 3-D glasses when you spend time with Jodi! You’ll be glad you did.

I’d love for you to get to know her better too! You will admire her I am sure, and you will find something in her stories that you will easily understand and recognize, if you look closely, and listen with your eyes.

Q: Tell us who you are and what you do
My name is Jodi Magi and I do many things, all of which have the common denominator of being related in some way to the visual arts field.

Q: How do you work?
My creative work (other than teaching) is in many mediums including animation, digital compositions, paper and mixed media collage, pencil, polymer clay, acrylic and oil paint.

Painting_Their delusion had a pathetic sweetness to it

Q: What role does your art work have in society today?
That’s a big question for me. The late, great art critic Robert Hughes said “One of the great projects of art, is to reconcile us with the world”. This quote resonates with me completely.
Let me elaborate by explaining my approach to art is very much influenced by having worked as a graphic designer for many years whereby my creativity was channeled towards manipulating the audience to do or feel a particular thing for the commercial and communication purposes of the client. After I decided to concentrate on my own art and left the design field behind, I realized I was still very much interested in communicating ‘something’ to the audience. I mean, as opposed to the type of art approach which is more personal expression of a feeling or emotions.
I am obsessed with ‘the message’ and how to convey that through symbols, colors, recognizable nuances and associations… this type of art is sometimes referred to as ‘narrative art’ as it tells a visual story.
The question ‘what role does my art have in society today?’ for me it is the same as ‘What is the story which needs to be told today?’
All of my work has similar themes which are inter-related. Basically I am using art to process and visually discuss topics which pre-occupy me – such as the power of the media to influence our behavior, our opinions and our perception of the world; how our economic model is in conflict with our ability to sustain ourselves yet we see ‘consumerism’ and ‘environmentalism’ as separate concepts rather than one directly effecting the other; the influence multi-national companies have on governments and therefore policy which roles back into the global economic model winning over the global environment which the future generations will inherit.
I believe it is the responsibility of the artist to generate discussion and hopefully to compel change.

Q:  What inspired you to begin working in your favorite art mediums?

Painting. Her Metamorphosis, in progress. Jodi Magi.

I would say oil paint is my favorite medium, though also the most challenging which is probably why it is my favorite. Nothing comes quickly or easily with oils for me, but I am generally happy with the end result. The reason I decided to try acrylic painting first, then oils was that I I needed to get my hands dirty after sitting in front of a computer for a decade as a graphic designer.
I think of painting like a form of alchemy. There is a magic which happens in a series of moments. At the end I sit back and look at the finished work and almost can’t understand where that painting came from. “Did I do that?” It is a lovely thing…. and very hard work….

Q: Where do you most enjoy creating and working?
At the moment I am currently living away from my home in Melbourne Australia where I feel most creative. These days I find myself living half way up a 60 floor sky-scraper with windows which barely open overlooking city and desert in the Middle East. This isn’t my ideal work space for a few reasons so I am training my brain-box to respond more to the time rather than the place, otherwise, I wouldn’t get anything done. When I say ‘time’ instead of ‘place’ I enjoy creating at any time a good idea comes to me, regardless of where I am. I guess, the time of creating becomes the same as the place.
In a perfect world, I would love to live somewhere surrounded by trees and have my own studio – but I think living here and not having that is good training for me to discipline myself. Us artists can be great procrastinators – there is always a reason why not to do something. At least this way, by focusing on the moment rather than the place, I have no excuse – it is up to me.

Q:  What do you like about your work? 

"I like that my art

I like that my works feel like my friends. Once I have made them, they are their own separate entities with their own lives to get on with, almost like that didn’t come from me at all.
I like that my works feel like my friends. Once I have made them, they are their own separate entities with their own lives to get on with, almost like that didn’t come from me at all. If they were people, I think they would be interesting to talk to.

Q: What do you most enjoy about teaching?
It is real.
Art is soulful and the world is a richer place because of art in all its forms, so helping people to develop that love and ability to express themselves through art is incredibly rewarding. Also, I enjoy the human interaction of teaching without which I think I would be in danger of being a complete hermit and losing the ability to speak.

Q: How do you get into the mood to be creative?
Hmm… A try not to rely on the ‘mood’ because a lot of the time I would probably choose to watch an episode of ‘Vikings’ or a documentary on the French Revolution or something…
For me, the hardest part is starting a project because apart from paper collages which only take a couple of days, most of my work takes weeks, sometimes months. I am very bad at ‘little projects’ and it is something I am working on because after a couple of days it goes from ‘fun’, to ‘work’. This isn’t a bad thing, and the sense of fulfillment at the end is worth it for me, it is just that it is very important that I am completely committed to the concept or ‘message’ of a piece if I am then going to spend so many hours bringing it to life. So, for that reason, finding the angle or the story is the hardest part – that is the starting point.
I ask myself ‘What am I trying to say in this piece?’ ‘What do I want the viewer to ask themselves?’, ‘What do I want them to feel?’  and this takes some introspection and quiet thinking time. At the same time, I am also considering what I feel like actually painting or depicting so when these elements over-lap, I can start working on the composition and concept sketches. Once I feel like this is resolved to the point where I can start I can mockup a digital version, project it onto the canvas, outline it in pencil and start the painting or ‘creating’ part which takes a while.
If I don’t feel like working, I try to trick myself with little bribes. Like ‘If I do this, then I can do that’. I am a huge fan of incentives.

The desert of Abu Dhabi

On a day to day aspect, I keep a little book which I try to carry around with me and every time I hear a quote which I think could be a starting point of something, or an artist to research, I write it down. You never know when something might be useful, and that way I am not ‘re-inventing the wheel’ every time I create something, it is more of a layering of interests and a development of ideas and threads.

Q: How has your artistic creativity influenced your life?
It has taught me discipline; It has helped me understand and gain an acceptance of myself; It has acted as an escape hatch from reality; It has served as a bridge between myself and strangers; It has helped me stay sane; It has complicated my dreams of financial security and a conventional life, but lead to an alternate understanding of what is really important; It has given me a voice.

Q:  What advice would you give to those who may wish to begin expressing themselves through narrative art?
Never underestimate the value of research. Research other artists you are into, research stories which intrigue you, feed your curiosity. Google and YouTube are your friends.
Collect and surround yourself with visual inspiration, whether it be postcards, computer print-outs, posters, books, photos. Immersion is key.

Illustration at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

 

Brainstorm and develop your concepts in quick, rough drawings which serve only to bookmark that idea. Don’t get bogged down in technique in the concept stage, you should let your ideas flow without impediment. If you need to, write notes for yourself. Use whatever mode of record feel right for you.
Try to push your idea beyond the first stage. Add layers of meaning beyond the obvious, though be aware of the difference between ‘random’ and ‘intentional’.
In the development stage, consider the importance of symbols in communicating a broader meaning to the audience. Learn to look at your work objectively – from the perspective of that guy with the hat on the other side of the street. Ask yourself ‘What would he take from this?’. Narrative art relies on the clues the artist provides for the viewer to complete the puzzle, so you have to be aware of how the clues can be interpreted.
Consider how the size and placement of elements effects their interpretation.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Jodi is teaching at Artful Gathering Online Art Retreats 2015. Narrative Thinking Through Collage.

Jodi Magi s an Australian fine artist, illustrator and educator.

Originally from Perth in Western Australia, she has been living in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates since early 2012 where she teaches graphic design and illustration to Emirati women at Zayed University.

To learn more about her and her amazing life and artwork, visit www.JodiMagi.com  and www.JodiandFinn.wix.com

 

Three dimensional paper collage

Everyone has their own version of normal

‘Everyone has their own version of normal’, 3 dimensional paper collage. 16cm x 18cm x 12cm.
The shadows created by having two light sources plus the blurry background compared to the sharper foreground when photographed, brought this paper sculpture to life. Working with depth as well as width and height felt like designing a stage set – your eyes want to wander THROUGH the landscape instead of around. Playing with false vanishing points at different depths (the two buildings that look like they are on angles but aren’t really) adds to that visual confusion of a surrealist approach.

This one isn’t intended to have a story and isn’t part of my upcoming online workshop – just playing.

Facebook Event Page for Online Workshop June 6 – July 17

Narrative Thinking Through Collage

Hi everyone, just letting you know I have set up a Facebook Event Page for my upcoming online workshop.
I have been working on this project in my spare time over the last year, and I am really excited to show others what I have spent so much time and effort (and passion) developing!
Over 8 sessions and almost 3 hours, I teach how to tell a visual story using multiple paper collage techniques, so it is a conceptual as well as technical approach. You don’t need to know anything at all about art, only paper, scissors and glue (and maybe a little paint) is needed, and it will be really fun. Since it is online, you can do it from where-ever you are, and I will be available for support and feedback via email throughout.
Also, I have included a door prize – a giclee print of SUMMER SLEEPS, my painting on wood 12″ x 16″ which everyone who registers has the chance to win.
Here is the link for the Facebook Page of the event for more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/492503547585564/ and this is where you register if you are interested www.artfulgathering.com

If you know anyone who might be interested, could you please send them the Link to the Facebook event page? Hope to see you there!

Announcement!

.
I will be running an online workshop from June 6th to July 17th at the Artful Gathering online art retreat.

My workshop title is ‘Narrative thinking through collage’ in which I will demonstrate multiple paper collage techniques as well as how to tell a visual story. I will be available for feedback via email for the duration of the workshop.

I have been working on this project since July 2014, so I am really excited to share it with everyone!

Registration is at the Artful Gathering website: www.artfulgathering.com

Be Afraid & Consume

Be Afraid

This is a 3d paper collage postcard I created for the Royal Collage of Arts Secret Postcard Exhibition which showed during Art Dubai last week.

My online shop selling art prints is now open!

I have just finished setting up my online shop ‘The Curious Cow’ on Etsy, which sells a selection of my work as archival quality art prints. Check it out here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheCuriousCow

The Curious Cow

‘The joy of Gina – let them eat coal’ in progress

gina-in-progress-5Detail

Dots, dots, dots, swipe, swipe, dots….

Thank you.

Wow… I just found out I made to the second selection phase of the 9th ARTE LAGUNA PRIZE… I feel like a kid playing pass the parcel when the music stops and gets to unwrap a layer…

I would just like to say a massive thank you to all of you out there in web-world who, with a ‘click’ here and a ‘like’ there have given me the silent encouragement to keep on creating…

‘MAN’ by Steve Cutts

The animated short known as MAN is a darkly comic, disturbing view of our species who wreaks havoc on other species and on nature itself.

MAN is a parable of a man in conflict with the world at large, seeking power over rather than unity with it. MAN offers a biting commentary on this male character’s destructive and violent pathos. MAN shows a human being at his worst, creating vast suffering for animals at every turn.

And in the end, MAN, sitting on his throne, is dealt a karmic blow. He is destroyed by beings from another planet who land on earth, squish him into a welcome mat, then shuffle off in their spaceship.

MAN was produced by Steve Cutts, a London-based freelance artist who specializes in animation, illustration, and fine art.

Paper collage

To be, or not to be?

‘To be, or not to be, that is the question‘, 36cm x 41cm, paper collage, 2014.

‘The Joy of Gina: Let them eat coal’

In progress

Very early stages, but I have a feeling this one is going to be fun. I have taken some inspiration from Klimt’s portraiture works, namely with regards to working on a neutral-blue ground, and building up the skin tones using a mottled, multi-hue approach which ends up giving the face an other-worldly, dreamlike feel.
The idea for this was handed to me in the form of a press-photo of Gina Rinehart, the Australian mining heiress who earns $1,000,000 AUD every 30 minutes, and is the coiner of such inspirational advice to the ‘working class’ as “spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working“; and on the problems with the Australian econmony “… Africans want to work and its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day. Such statistics make me worry for this country’s future”.
Naturally, the owner of coal and iron ore concerns worth more than $22 billion regards man-made climate change as fiction generated by ‘leftist extremists’ (such as myself).

Gina

Colour chart for mixing paint

Colour chart

So, being a self-taught painter, I spend a lot of time searching the net for tips and strategies from the very generous online art community. I came across this helpful site and decided to create this colour chart using the 6 hues suggested. I didn’t have Prussian Blue, so I substituted it with French Ultramarine which I think leans slightly more towards red / warm hues of blue than Prussian.
You can see that there is no reason to buy many more colours than these 6, (though I do like to have a Naples Yellow lying around). Just add your whites and blacks to adjust the tone or value of the colour as I have done very roughly above.
Another great tip I learnt if you want to take the intensity out of the colour, is to mix it with its complementary colour which has been adjusted to the same value. Explained in more detail here.
p.s. Make sure the brightness of your screen is set to view white as pure white – that way the above jpg should look relatively close to its original, though all screen will display colour slightly differently.

‘And the rider just rode on’…

The joy of Gina

Let them eat coal

‘The joy of Gina: let them eat coal’, charcoal on paper, 61cm x 47cm, 2014.
Inspired by West Australia’s one and only Gina Rinehart.

Paper mosaic

Where there's a will...

A few destroyed magazines and a couple of days later, we have a collage.
‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’, paper, 29cm x 42cm, 2014.
This theme was inspired by two artist’s works; a cartoon by the Australian national treasure, Michael Leunig, and  the children’s book, ‘The Red Tree’ by Shaun Tan, an eternal source of awe.

Leunig Shaun Tan

The New Agronomist

Collage

This collage is my response to an article I read in National Geographic, (July 2014) titled ‘The Next Breadbasket’ about land leasing by some African Governments to foreign corporations in preparation for a population increase of 2 billion by 2050. The article can be read here.

The making of ‘Golden fish’ collage

Audio credit: Rhythm & Sound

Collage

Untitled

My studio now looks like a bomb has hit it – bits of paper absolutely everywhere.
‘Untitled’, 29cm x 42cm, 2014.

3d collage

Untitled

Still exploring the collage road, I decided to approach it from a more 3 dimensional perspective this time.

Equipped for the modern frontier

Collage

A lovely afternoon spent with scissors and glue as a break from the past months of painting. Titled ‘Equipped for the modern frontier’, paper and compass, 40cm x 27cm.

They had denial down to an art form

final

‘They had denial down to an art form’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, 2014.

I am interested in the herd-mentality-denial of climate change as perpetuated by mass media and a lack of real leadership by governments and corporations with vested interests in consumption-based economics. This is the second in my series about failure to act on climate change which I am exploring this through the eyes of animal protagonists. They have somehow escaped the fate of the majority of ‘the civilised world’, and survived to pay witness to the remnants we left behind us.

Finished.

In studio

With great relief, I think I can say it is finished.
‘They had denial down to an art form’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, 2014.

They had denial down to an art form

Detail

Detail from ‘They had denial down to an art form’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, 2014.

In progress

Detail

Detail from the right side of ‘They had denial down to an art form’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, in progress.

When I was searching for environments in which to place my animals which could represent a future scenario if we fail to act on climate change, I found this photo of an abandoned theatre in Detroit. I am yet to add some shoes and open cans of beans.

In progress

They had denial down to an art form

‘They had denial down to an art form’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, in progress.
I am interested in the herd-mentality-denial of climate change as perpetuated by mass media and a lack of real leadership by governments and corporations with vested interests in consumption-based economics. This is the second in my series about mass failure to act on climate change which I am exploring this through the eyes of animal protagonists. They have somehow escaped the fate of the majority of ‘the civilised world’, and survived to pay witness to the remnants we left behind.

Detail

Their delusion had a pathetic sweetness to it

Detail from ‘Their delusion had a pathetic sweetness to it’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, 2014.

Detail

'Their delusion had a pathetic sweetness to it'

Detail from ‘Their delusion had a pathetic sweetness to it’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, 2014.

Finally finished

Their delusion had a pathetic sweetness to it

‘Their delusion had a pathetic sweetness to it’, 122cm x 77cm, oil on canvas, 2014.

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