Amanda Madrigal is an alumni of New World School of the Arts in downtown Miami. Upon graduation she received numerous merit-based scholarships, such as the Presidential, Thalheimer and YoungArts awards to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She acquired her bachelor’s degree from MICA in the spring of 2013 with a major in fiber arts and immediately began her career as a working artist in Miami. The same year, Madrigal won the Best in Show Prize at the Irreversible Projects international art competition, and has since exhibited her work across the United States as well as internationally.
I make soft sculptures and mixed media installations using repurposed materials sourced from local Miami thrifting. I start this adventure by gravitating towards vibrant colors and patterns that catch my eye. When I touch an old bed sheet or a pair of pants, I feel like I’m being transported into someone else’s life. These objects act as portals through time and space, and I begin to wonder about the laughs and the dreams, the growth, and change that occurs through a period of time. I love that these materials hold history within them and that these things were once valuable to someone. These everyday objects hold significance when we obtain them, yet are later discarded and forgotten. As an artist, my goal is to re-imagine a new space for them to exist, to transform these materials in order to create a new reality for them. I play with your old sweaters and turn them into tactile imaginary friends, or a woman becoming a field of grass. I take plush toys and mold them into metaphors for childhood and human development. As I work relentlessly to celebrate and re-stitch the fabric of our past, I reflect on the relationships we have with each other, nature, architecture, and time. I watched my mother use her fashion degree to become a stay at home mom who made all of my clothes; she really had a way of turning nothing into something. She raised my sister and I in a way where the most evident factor was the idea that anything is possible, and despite the fact that we could barely afford the rent, all the resources were here for us. Being resourceful meant making our own salt and flour play dough from scratch, or knitting our own blankets, to creating elaborate cardboard houses for my stuffed animals to live in. I use objects of comfort and play to convey nostalgia in my work because as we get back in touch with that which brings us joy, our inner child rejoices and joins us in the celebration of our ever-expanding freedom.
Photo by Jovan Villalba