著名藝術家中央聖馬丁藝術與設計學院校友Mathangi Arulpragasam (Maya, M.I.A.) 將要發布她的最新藝術作品集。她的作品並不是要追隨大眾的眼光，迎合大家的口味。而是通過另類的創作，去表現她內心的想法。對立的顏色，直觀的圖案都是她用來表達的方式。37歲的Maya畢業于倫敦藝術大學中央聖馬丁藝術與設計學院，她是一個視覺藝術家，時裝設計師也是一個歌手，作曲家，從她的作品中，我們可以看到一種另類的視覺沖擊。好的藝術作品不一定是要迎合大眾的，用自己內心真實的想法去創作，再讓大家去感受這一份創意，Maya的作品給了我們一個很好的例子。
M.I.A. is doing it wrong. For years critics and marketing execs have been telling her that if she were to choose a single medium -- art, music, politics, whatever -- she'd be more successful. But that's success on their terms, not hers. And above all else, M.I.A. has made a name for herself over the past seven years by not caring about their terms. This is a woman who is deep-down, ground-in, almost genetically punk rock. She's perhaps the most fiercely political performer active today, and that creates friction when the mainstream comes courting. The mainstream wants the music, not the message; the pretty wallpaper, not the hard questions; the style, not the substance. And even if M.I.A.'s substance is, at times, thoroughly inscrutable, there's no questioning she presents herself the way she wants to, not the way she's been told she needs to. She's not safe. You don't know what she'll do next. Unlike many of her celebrity contemporaries, she refuses to fade into the background, and she's been rewarded for her temerity. M.I.A. is the only artist ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, Grammy Award, Brit Award, Mercury Prize and the Alternative Turner Prize. More importantly, she's raised awareness of the strife caused by the civil war in
The 37-year-old provocateur (aka Mathangi Maya "M.I.A." Arulpragasam) has released three full-length albums and a handful of mixes. (A recent mixtape, Vicki Leekx, is available for free on the Internet. At one point during the half-hour mash, she quips, "I'm not saying it should be freer, I'm saying music should be free," which, one imagines, was met with tight-lipped exhaustion by the suits at her label, Interscope.) She's also a visual artist, famously having gotten her start by designing album covers for Justine Frischmann of Elastica, and selling some of her early work to Jude Law. It's that part of her career--although, speaking with her, you get the sense that she'd never call what she does a "career"--that she's concentrating on now. "People have heard the journey through music," she tells me one recent evening over coffee at a hotel in TriBeCa. "Now it's like exploring the journey to this point through visuals."
If M.I.A. feels like a best-of book, that's the point. The idea was to show fans how the work came to be, as well as to help the artist figure out what she wanted to do next. "Even though kids embraced [my art], and people started making crappy fashion GIFs on the computer and disgusting websites and wearing weird leggings, there never was a place where people could go to be like, 'This is where it came from,' she says. "I didn't really care. Some of the pieces I made, I don't know where they are now. I would just go and live in a place and leave them. Then they would get lost. That's how it was. It's all recyclable and out there." The ones she didn't leave behind are reproduced throughout the tome, works that are as much about energy as they are about composition.
She describes herself as an intuitive artist who doesn't belabor her work by self-editing. Loveridge agrees. "Maya works in single sessions of activity. There's no coming back tomorrow to rethink it, or add final touches. Either it works or it doesn't. If you need three weeks to gently craft and build something, then it's not right for M.I.A.," he says. "I think it's symptomatic of the environment she grew up in as a child. She works as if the computer or the camera might not be there tomorrow. There's a real sense of urgency to get the idea out there before the opportunity is snatched away from her."
On a macro level, M.I.A. is a wonderful pop star for the modern age. She's versed in the means and ways of hardcore rap, rave and punk rock, quoting from a variety of influences (like sampling the Clash on her biggest hit, Kala's "Paper Planes"). And M.I.A. brings an attitude to her music and artwork that totally redefines worldbeat. Her version comes without any of that pandering Sting funk -- the post-colonial sense of pity that's come to characterize that very tired genre. Hers arrives on the heels of tribal yelps and gunshots -- provocative enough by themselves, but when combined with her politics, her work is explosive.