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Artist Maggi McDonald on the joy of creating with colour

Maggi Mcdonald paints to spark joy, and the Sydney-based artist has brought plenty of happiness to homes around the world with her colourful brand of abstract expressionism. Here, we discover more about Maggi’s vibrant works of art, from how she applies them to surface design to where she finds inspiration.

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Artist Maggi McDonald
 

Talk us through your path to becoming an artist.

After a tough time personally, I realised that life is too short not to follow my creative dreams and decided to go back to school and study design. I rediscovered my love of painting and started playing with acrylics and palette knives. I shared what I was doing on Instagram and sold my first painting to a friend. That was seven years ago, and I have never looked back. 
 

How do you approach your abstract artwork?

I usually start with a loose colour palette in my head and then follow the paint where it wants to go. My artworks are intuitive and reflect my emotions and perceptions of the world and my place in it. 

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All The Lovers Printed Wall Art by Maggi McDonald
 

We love how you use vivid colours. What draws you to these bright hues?

I’ve always loved bright colours as they bring me so much happiness, and I use colour as an antidote to the darkness I sometimes feel. I also love using colours that make others happy, as I think we can all do with as much joy as possible.
 

Your artwork titles often draw inspiration from nature. How does nature play a role in your practice?

I am very nostalgic and have vivid memories of moments and places. Often these memories are from times spent in nature – as a child on the beach or at the river or playing in my grandmother’s beautiful garden. Nature is incredibly inspiring, and I am fascinated by the colours and patterns found everywhere around us.

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Maggi takes inspiration from the colours and patterns found in nature  
 

How has growing up in South Africa and now living in Australia influenced your art?

I feel very lucky to have these two beautiful countries as my home - their natural beauty constantly inspires my work. I am fascinated by the patterns in African culture, and I collect African textiles and baskets as a source of inspiration for my work. The bright colours of the ocean, fauna and flora are similar in both countries, and I borrow from both when I am creating my art. 
 

You’re a surface designer as well as an artist. What does this entail?

As a surface designer, I design prints and patterns that are printed on fabric, wallpaper, stationery and many other substrates. Surface pattern design and art go hand in hand for me as each surface pattern starts as a hand-painted or drawn design, which is then digitally edited. With digital printing so much more accessible these days, it’s easier than ever before to apply my art to surfaces which I find very exciting. 

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Dopamine Daydream Printed Wall Art by Maggi McDonald 
 

Are there any artists that inspire you?

I’m obsessed with the work of Willem de Kooning and especially his artwork Door To The River. I also love the work of Franz Kline – his abstract black-and-white artworks are striking, and his use of negative space is inspiring.
 

If you could interview a creative person, past or present, who would it be?

I would love to be able to interview my grandfather and grandmother – they were both very creative and a big inspiration to me. They passed away before I started my creative journey, and I would love to sit down with them to chat and show them how their creativity inspired me. My Dopamine Garden Series is heavily inspired by my time spent with them as a child playing in their beautiful garden.

Discover the entire Maggi McDonald Collection
Natalie Mell 02 August, 2023

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