INTERVIEW WITH MAYA HAYUK BY KELIE BOWMAN, JUNE 2012
Cinders: when did you start making art?
Maya: like pretty much most kids, i drew before i wrote, sang before i talked, danced before i walked. super normal.
Cinders: when did you know you wanted to make art for the rest of your life? Or do you know that?
Maya: it’s one of the few things I know and is just part of being here, but I don’t remember making a choice about it.
Cinders: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Maya: Hmm. good question. i always get freaked out by the thought of making a five-year plan or of dreaming up huge life goals. if, in 10 years i am still on the same quest i’m on now and was on 10 years ago, then i’ll be incredibly happy.
Cinders: what is inspiring you these days?
Maya: the news, the nature, people’s faces, bike rides, books, music, end-of-times, bath salts, outer space, maps, my amazing boyfriend, abandoned monuments, pizza, insomnia, ampersands, etcetera.
Cinders: what are you listening to in the studio?
Maya: last month for a whole month i put my ipod on shuffle and made a contract with myself to listen to it all the way through without re-starting (tho skipping was allowed). i also like the radio, NPR, Ted Talks, This American Life, Radio Lab – anything with funny people talking; stand-up like Bill Hicks, David Cross and Patton Oswald are all great for painting.
Cinders: what are you currently reading/researching?
Maya: women’s rights, same-sex marriage, civil & human rights, ecology, theocracy and dystopia. i just picked up The Modern Utopian (Alternative Communities of the 60’s & 70’s) – it looks awesome. i’m halfway though Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays, which is creepy and great and i finally just started Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, which
you gave me, Kelie! thanks.
Cinders: what is your favorite spot in the world right now? where do you feel at home?
Maya: for sure my home and my bed and my new studio sublet i am looking forward to working in. i go away a lot, which makes me appreciate New York and my neighborhood so much.
Cinders: what are you currently working on?
Maya: massive spring cleaning, purging and grounding. making paintings for shows in the summer and fall and preparing for a few murals and installations. i am trying to find more space and perspective in my work and steer clear of some of the easy ways out of challenges that arise. i always need to take greater risks and i want to learn how to paint better.
Cinders: do you have any 2012 predictions?
Maya: we will all be psychic by the end of the year.
Cinders: what is your spirit animal?
Maya: a chrome dolphin. or a gazelle. or a monkey.
Cinders: what astrological sign are you?
Maya: sagitarius. what are you?
Cinders: I am a pisces! Duh!
Cinders: what role do you think the artist plays in modern society and culture?
Maya: canary in the coal mine, psychic healer, mirror, critic, activist, personal trainer.
Cinders: how much time do you typically spend in the studio a week?
Maya: i work every day, but it’s not necessarily from my studio. i try to be in there every day for at least a few hours, even if it’s just to sit quietly and stare.
Cinders: how do you describe your work?
Cinders: can you talk about being a female artist specifically?
Maya: well, as long as women still remain second class citizens in our society, we will be referred to as “female artists” and not simply as “artists” (which implies a white male normal). i mean, how many times are male artists asked “can you talk about being a male artist?”. until women are respected as equals and their rights to proper
healthcare, education and equal pay are secured, we’re still going to be living in a broken society. this affects us all (male and female).
Cinders: who are some of your favorite artists right now?
Maya: shara hughes, hennessey youngman, morgan blair, ashley macomber, katherine bernhardt, shana moulton, mary heilmann, philip guston, katharina grosse, allison schulnik, tal r, guy yanai, lauren silva, lauren luloff, lucky dragons, the velvet underground, i loved the new wes anderson movie (props to kevin hooyman!). there are so many great things.
Cinders: do you believe in aliens?
Maya: yes. we are not the only intelligent life in this infinite universe, indisputably.