73: Experiencing Power and Fragility Inside and Outside the Studio with Artist and New Mother Maja Ruznic

Today’s interview features Maja Ruznic, an artist/mother based in Roswell, New Mexico, who received her MFA from CalArts and is easily recognizable from her stained canvases smeared with crushed up minerals and pigments. Maja is also a very new mom, so this interview is a true exclusive offering fresh insight into her particular experience as an artist/mother! 

Maja’s practice emerged as not only a creative outlet but also a way to access that which is “on the other side of the veil” early on in her life. In her own words, Maja has always been very sensorial, and her art developed as a sort of meditative way to process that experience. Her practice has changed organically out of necessity: she turned to diluting paint after running low once and loving the results. This is one of the many ways that Maja has turned an obstacle into inspiration, adding more medium to her paint ever since to imbue the work with ethereal, diffused qualities. Similarly, we talk about the impact of environment and emotion on our palettes and the relationship between the macro- and micro-dimensions of our social worlds. 

Maja shares with us the importance of her work as mediating domestic responses to and family histories of cultural turmoil — for her, this includes the context of the Bosnian war and her parents’ homelessness early in her life. She also opens up about her traumatic natal and postnatal experiences, and how motherhood only adds to the struggle of navigating a multitude of identities. Nonetheless, she emphasizes the need for finding time for yourself and balancing the things that feed you (case in point, paintings!) with the things you have to feed, literally and figuratively (babies, life responsibilities, etc). Once you find that balance, you can turn so many problems into openings!

See more of Maja’s work on her website or on IG @majaruz
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Odlazak II, acrylic and oil on canvas, 60×48 in, 2019
Maja with her daughter and husband
The Return, acrylic and oil on canvas, 100×76 inches, 2020
Maja working in her studio
Mother, acrylic and oil on canvas, 80×70 in, 2019
Azmira’s Daughters II, acrylic and oil on canvas, 80×70 in, 2019
Maja’s current solo show titled “Name of the Voice” at Hales Gallery in London
detail image of drawings in progress
detail image of drawings in progress
detail image of drawings in progress

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