She dreamed of being a writer, but the writing wasn’t going so smoothly. So she turned to painting and gained worldwide success with her colorful, everyday life scenes. But who is Maira Kalman, anyway? In issue 14 you can read about her life, below you find a preview of this article.
In a way that is hard to define, Maira Kalman’s work is incredibly uplifting. In all her interviews and in almost every talk she gives, she always says that she has no idea how she wants to start something or say something. But it doesn’t matter, she does it anyway, because, “Misunderstanding leads to beautiful things. I am open to the possibility of not knowing and of discovering something new.” And with that, she gives those who look at her work the space and courage to think that maybe it doesn’t matter if you can already do something or not. And room to see how beautiful some of the plain, everyday objects around us are.
Maira Kalman paints, writes and draws online diaries and essays. She makes cover art for The New Yorker magazine, collects objects, and embroiders special phrases on handkerchiefs and dresses. She goes on stage dressed as a duck in a big tutu and striped tights if it seems like the right thing to do. She calls herself a journalist who reports in a completely personal and associative way by making drawings and handwritten commentaries about what she sees and experiences. Her work is always funny, wistfully whimsical, surprising and elegant; sometimes with a touch of darkness. It can look awkward and childish, as if she’s just messing around. The opposite is true, it turns out, when you look more closely. Maira’s oeuvre comes together as a coherent, wise and inspirational body of work.
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