MADDY! April 15 2018, 0 Comments

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We have been inspired by Maddy’s work for a few years now and have even requested a special wall commission by her (stay tuned for future detail of this project.)

Her work gives us a scenic sense of ease, and at times we feel the there is an element of nature, positive energy, and even a hint of spirituality.

Please enjoy getting to know more about Maddy and her work as much as we did.

Maddy! We are super stoked - thanks for taking the time the time to connect with us!

We've admired your work for a few years now, and we’ve been curious - as an artist from Santa Fe, and now living in the Bay Area are there elements in your work that stem from the environment back home in New Mexico, and similarly in the Bay Area?

Absolutely and all the way through. I am internally very connected to New Mexico, and as much as I may try to steer my art in other directions, elements of home always channel through to the surface in which I work on. Whether it’s through color or form, and especially the night sky, the desert always seems to inspire my imagery.

Likewise, having lived in California for fifteen years now, I find that specific plants and sometimes architecture are integrated into my work as well, which is why I often use palms and succulents and broken branches in my work.

(Desert Doll House by @madeleinetonzi)

Are there any elements taken from your childhood growing up in NM that you feel have influenced the work you do now?

When I am thinking about a concept, often my ideas arrive out of a strong feeling of nostalgia. I reflect on the experiences when I felt most free as a child, or the special places in which my friends and I created together as the wild desert kids that we were.

One painting in particular titled, ‘Desert Doll House, ’ was specifically about that. My oldest friend, whom I have know since we were three years old, lived out in what we called “the country.” Now it seems as though the town’s edges have arrived closer and a freeway bustles close to the land in which her house sat. But back then, we were smaller and the world was so much bigger.

Her mother was an artist and created a doll house for her. It was open aired and had three levels with a bath tub on the top. Every part was made from hand and it was so magical.

That's what being a kid felt like out there. That entire piece of land and the freedom we had as kids to explore the arroyos, dig in the dirt, get cactus stuck in our hands and feet, and play in the forts we nestled between piñon trees was some of the best times.

That sounds so mystical ✨✨✨

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Maddy we’ve always been fascinated with the childhood of the creators we interview and how growing up may influence the art they create.

Can you tell us about a fun childhood memory?

One of the times I spent the night my oldest friend’s house, and we decided to sleep in a tent outside. There was no fence around us, just open land spotted with chamisa, cholla and piñon trees. Her mom packed us a cooler with milk and cereal for the morning and we set out to spend a night in the wild.

We were only ten feet from the house but it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. However, it didn’t take long before we were scared out of our wits, out of the tent and sent running back into the house when something came hurling against the walls of the tent. As fast as it arrived it was gone and so were we, terrified of what kind of desert spirit was out to haunt us.

It must have been pretty funny from her parents perspective, hearing two little girls and her brother scream all the way to the front door. I’m still not sure what it was. Maybe a jack rabbit or a coyote, or perhaps just the wind. Or maybe it was La Llorona...


Yikes! 👀👀

(Portal On Salt Flats by @MadeleineTonzi)

Baby Jessie is our Little Moon. We love how you’ve been taking pics of this beautiful black #sphere with #cosmic dust upon it in some of your posts over the past few years.

We also noticed that the image shows up in your work. What is the significance of the object, and reason behind its incorporation into the work you do?

Thank you! The #PortablePortal is a newer project. At some point portals became a frequent theme within my work, and I wanted to make a piece that could travel with me and help contextualize my work, but also provide me with new inspiration. Getting out and exploring is very important to my process and the portal provides a challenge within every adventure. It also allows me to explore photography as well.

Symbolically, the portal illustrates time and movement through space. It is a window into the various places in which I inhabit throughout my travels. I like to position the portal within environments that resonate with me on a personal level as well as an energetic and aesthetic level too. Over time, the portal starts to act as the thread that connects me to each place I have been.


(Focil by @MadeleineTonzi)

So Maddy how did the migration from #NM to the #BayArea take place?
Were there any creative reasons for doing so?

I moved to #California in 2003 after I graduated high school with the intent on studying art. I didn’t follow the path of most people in that I wasn’t interested in a four year college just yet. I wanted to explore and try new things.

I landed in #SantaBarbara for the first four years I was out here. I attended community college where I studied studio art and then eventually transferred to #CaliforniaCollegeOfTheArts where I obtained my BFA. But those first four years were the best. The art department at #SBCC is incredibly beautiful and state of the art. It was a very nurturing an supportive community. I worked three jobs at times to get by, but tuition was free and I feel very lucky to have gone to school in a place that overlooked the ocean.

So Maddy, who are some of your creative influences previously and today?


There is an artist name Christine Gray who I discovered at her MFA show in Santa Barbara some years back. She creates surreal landscapes rich in color and dream like imagery. Stephanie Dotson, a multi media print maker and painter, is really fantastic as well. I love her use of texture and pattern, combined with encaustic and three dimensional elements within her work.

Aside from that, I am inspired by my contemporaries daily. I have a lot of artist friends who are all making it through this world in a different way, and that to me is very inspiring.

(The Arctic Jungle by @MadeleineTonzi - Print available for purchase)

Maddy, your work makes us feel very at ease, and at times we feel the there is an element of nature, positive energy, even a sense of spirituality there.

Is there any message, question, or inspiration your work is trying to convey?

The most spiritual moments I have had always take place in nature. I am not religious but if I had to claim a church it would be the wild outdoors. I am deeply inspired by the natural world and my art is heavily influenced by those moments in which you can hardly find words to describe when you experience something so magical your skin tingles. Growing up in the Southwest definitely has that affect on people. In New Mexico, everything you experience is of the earth. Our roads are still dirt, and the earth comes right up to your doorstep. The building are designed to blend into the landscape, and you feel very much a part of your environment.

The imagery I create is often about capturing the feeling of a moment. The stillness, the lighting, the magic of the surrounding plants. I remember so vividly an underground party I went to in the mountains behind Santa Barbara. The ambient music was echoing through the hills, and I had hiked out a bit to escape for a minute. I found myself perched above the landscape. The moon was full and a silver blue glow softened the rolling mountains, and the stars twinkled in the sky. It was really magical.

(Hallway Installation by @MadeleineTonzi)


Maddy, you recently did an amazing project with @meow__wolf. Can you explain how that came about and share with us details of what was produced from it?

#MeowWolf reached out to me last October and asked for me to participate in their annual upgrades. I have admired them for some time and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to create a proposal.

Working in that environment was so inspiring and freeing in so many ways. Being inside Meow Wolf is like being inside a waking dream. So many pieces of it reminiscent of something I have experienced in life before, and yet it is full of mystery and surprises.

I am super grateful for the experience and I hope to collaborate more with them in the future. And I highly recommend a visit there to anyone.

(Untitled by @MadeleineTonzi from the curators personal collection)

What projects are you working on currently and what else do you have planned for the remainder of the year?

I am currently gearing up for a show at #FleetWoodSF, and after that I’ll be working on something special for #Kaaboo #DelMar, a mural and music festival in #SanDiego, taking place in September. In between those projects I will be working on a new body of work, and planning a print release as well.

In regards to music, what's on heavy rotation in your studio while you are creating for these projects?

I listen a lot to #CocoRosie while I am making art. They spent some time growing up in New Mexico, and their sound aesthetic really feeds into my creative process. Likewise, I listen to #FeverRay and #Grimes a lot while creating. I am really into ambient sounds and experimental electronic music as well.

(The Strawberry Moon by @MadeleineTonzi - Print available for purchase)

Ok now for the good stuff - tell us a joke.

Oh my! I’m really bad at jokes, but hmmm.
Let’s see. What did the Koala say at his job interview?

Haha - what did he say?


I am very koala-fied for this position! Ha!.

Hahaha awesome! Ok now is there any question you would like to ask us?

Where do you think the art world is headed in terms of galleries verses the online world?

(The Arches and Canyons
by @MadeleineTonzi - Original available for purchase)

Ooh good question. We feel that although much of what art is accessible is now available online to view by social media, and other virtual experiences, there will always be a need for the physical way we experience art (in galleries, museums, etc.) This in the form of installations, murals, sculptures, urban exploration - to us the virtual experience is just one gateway to experience the work. But the physical experience will always be necessary.

Ok so Maddy, if there were an artist (dead or alive) you would love to do some collaborative project with who would it be and what project would you envision creating with them?

I would love to sit in #GeorgiaOkeeffe ‘s house with her, take a walk with her in the back country of #Abiquiú and talk about the landscape. And maybe make a painting beside her too. When I look at her paintings I can imagine how good it must have felt to work the paint as she did.

If I could collaborate with anyone right now, I think it would be the team of #MeowWolf. It is so exciting to see how everyone’s individual skill sets are put together to make an idea into reality, and I would love to be a part of a more dynamic installations that combines tech, sounds, and visual art all in one.


Much love & blessings to Maddy for connecting with us! & answer all of our questions!

You can learn more about Maddy's work by visiting her
site and her shop where you can buy prints & original works. Be sure to follow her on IG @MadeleineTonzi.

If you are interested in future projects that The Method Makers and Maddy collaborate on in the future, be sure to
sign up for our mailing list or following Method Makers on IG.