“I try to make each piece as a celebration of life that makes you wonder and question the characteristics,” says Leidy Mazo, the up-and-coming Miami-based pop artist behind coveted pop art paintings and large contemporary 3D sculptures produced under her namesake brand Art by Leidy.
Born in Colombia, Mazo arrived in the United States at the age of 15. Her work ethic and drive as an ambitious young teenager led Mazo to receive a scholarship to an art institution. She later moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in acting classes that ultimately paid off, leading to a breakout role for the young actress in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). “I’m always reaching for more every step of the way. Once I achieve one goal, I strive for the next. I have always been highly motivated in life,” Mazo told YFS Magazine.
An extensive background in the arts and movie industry has inspired Mazo to keep creating in various forms as a model, actress, and artist. Her journey and the transformative encounters along the way paved the path for her unique approach to pop art and contemporary 3D sculptures. “I’m an extremely artistic person that needs to fulfill my desire to create by expressing myself in various ways,” she adds.
Today as a wife and a mother, Leidy Mazo’s artwork explores the intersection between emotional inspiration and love through prayers. “I have enjoyed being an actress and model, but now that I’m a wife and mother, I feel the best way to express my internal feelings is by painting. Once I start painting, I get into a zone that allows me to freely express myself.”
Inside the creative mind of Leidy Mazo
Mazo first became interested in art by happenstance. “One day I was sitting at the table studying, and I naturally started drawing the Star of David. I noticed the perfect angles of the star and thought it would be great if I could incorporate prayers and create a work of art.” Little did she know that her first love as an artist would be inspired by her inner journey for direction and purpose.
It all started with an exploration of faith, The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David, a generally recognized symbol of modern Jewish identity and Judaism. “My paintings of Jewish stars are my first love. These paintings are meaningful to me because it marks the beginning of my career when I was feeling lost and didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.”
For an artist, the creative process is not linear. It’s a loop and hence a never-ending process. An artist endlessly traverses the loop throughout their life. While every traversal of the loop makes them a better artist and their works more extraordinary.
For her following debut collection, she turned her attention to the traumas and tragedies of war and the ways in which armed conflict causes a complex human response to violence and the commemoration of battle through the lens of love. “My ‘Soldiers Hearts Fight for Love’ collection was created because all over the world, people are fighting, shooting, killing, and hurting each other,” Mazo says. “That’s all we see and hear on the news. It’s overwhelming for everyone in society, so I created a collection to support the troops as they fight for peace and love.”
Inspired by her interaction with the world around her, Mazo’s work aims to share a narrative of life that resonates on a deeper level. “I draw inspiration from my current moods and my inner feelings. With each piece, I try to insert my unique, detailed, vibrant, and three-dimensional style of artwork. I get inspired by shop windows, architecture, advertising, and current events.”
The result of her exploration is a series of remarkable pop art pieces and 3D sculptures that reaffirm the bold ideal that art can draw from any source, and there is no hierarchy of culture to disrupt this.
“The Pop art movement was largely a British and American cultural phenomenon of the late 1950s and the ’60s and was named by the art critic Lawrence Alloway in reference to the prosaic iconography of its painting and sculpture.”
Influenced by pop art pioneers such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Red Grooms, and Roy Lichtenstein, her work can be characterized by her “pop art with a twist of fun and sexiness.” Mazo’s art is a brazen commentary and distinct portrayal of varied aspects of popular culture that have a powerful impact on contemporary life. Her iconography is presented emphatically and objectively. “They helped pave the way for today’s pop art movement with their magazine imagery, cartoon and comic strip imagery, which I add my own design and twist to my paintings,” Mazo says.
Born to create
For a rising artist like Mazo, coming up with the idea and finding the source of inspiration for a piece is a big part of the artistic process. To make the most of what inspires us, we need to make an effort to look for it. Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, Mazo puts herself in a position to be inspired.
Her creative process is self-exploratory with the goal of creating massive impact. “My creative work starts with my emotions and the thoughts that are going on in my head. I put them onto canvas. I try to create happy things that put a smile on people’s faces and make them forget about their problems.”
Another key component of Mazo’s process is good old-fashioned work ethic. “I have been doing my own research and learning as much as I can about my passion and becoming successful as an artist,” she adds.
Mazo’s art creates an unmistakable dialogue. “The best advice I was given as an artist is to find and identify your style and always be unique in every piece of art that you create,” she recalls. “I try to showcase happiness and the feeling of love in my work that provokes a warm feeling when they look at my collection.” As a result, her bold and unique approach to pop art and contemporary 3D sculptures has caught the attention of the Miami art and design crowd.
Mazo’s collective work represents art that crosses barriers simply for its visual power. The way she explores the power of life transcends culture, language, and place.
The business of art
Mazo is unmistakably a creative and a businesswoman. She rigorously puts her artwork out into the world and has solidified a loyal fan and follower base. Notably, her pieces have been seen at Art Basel – Miami, art shows, and live art events that introduce collectors and art enthusiasts to local artists. She also promotes debut collections on social media, Instagram and her website.
“Art Basel and art shows have helped me meet new artists for collaborations and collectors,” Mazo says, who recalls how networking events where artists can meet others in the industry have made an indelible mark on her business. Fairs like Art Basel in Miami Beach offer a fantastic way of growing the art market and an artist’s reach. “It has allowed me to connect and network with local and international like-minded artists like myself, meet collectors, and commission my artwork.”
“I value having people on my team that have the same vision, goals and dreams. My philosophy is to have the same minded people surrounded by me so we all could create magic and inspire one another.”Leidy Mazo
Artist collaboration among like-minded peers is a key growth driver within the art world. When asked how it has impacted her as an artist, Mazo says, “I think collaborations are an ideal way of learning and discovering new ideas from other artists that you never knew before.”
The up-and-coming pop artist has also cultivated a loyal collector base by using proven social media platforms and partnerships. “I have sold commissioned work to collectors who saw my paintings at an event or on my Instagram account.
“I have also partnered with an investor art house to launch my Teddy Bear Puzzle Collection, including the Supreme Teddy, a favorite in her celebrated collection. “All of my teddy bear paintings tell a story. I have so many of them because I kept painting until I made one for every name brand.”
For many collectors, obsession drives their buying habits. A gallerist buys work that they can’t stop looking at and learning from—work they feel they must own. Mazo hopes buyers and collectors will discover new things each time they look at her artwork. “Things they have not noticed before or something they did not catch their eye. Every day they look at my pieces, I hope they discover and learn new interpretations and meanings that I have tried to convey with my work.”
An artists’ perspective: The art world’s response to the pandemic
A keen understanding of the market and buyer needs, as an artist, is also what keeps artists like Mazo relevant. The state of the art market amid a historic global crisis and the economic hardship it has engendered is not lost on artists, gallerists, collectors, and enthusiasts alike.
“I do see a confidence drop in art sales. Auction sales from Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s alone have fallen 87%, according to ArtTactic. However, there is still a demand for limited edition and quality pieces. I think the art market will pick up and be back to normal in 2021 after this pandemic is over,” Mazo notes.
While there is a general shrinking of the pool of galleries supporting new artists and hosting exhibitions, Mazo is hopeful that local markets like Miami will prove resilient. “Miami’s art scene is actually booming, and we have local events and gatherings here all the time, which helps to network and promote my collections,” she adds.
Up next for Leidy Mazo
What’s next for the bold young artist? “One of the biggest challenges I am faced with as an artist is finding a unique style that instantly separates me and recognizes me as an artist. I hope I get to accomplish this with my Teddy Bear Puzzle Collection.”While she has a natural affinity for pop art, her latest obsession is creating and designing 3D sculptures. “This is something new, and not a lot of artists are doing it. That is why I have been spending a lot of my time and effort in designing these pieces that range anywhere from 4 inches to 7 feet in height.”
Amid current world affairs, the rising artist has also turned her attention to philanthropy, joining the fight against COVID-19. For Mazo, it’s not unusual to don protective masks while she’s painting to protect herself from paint fumes. As front-line workers encountered a continued shortage of masks, gowns, face shields and gloves while coronavirus cases climbed, Mazo knew her access to KN-95 masks could make a tangible impact.
In support of Cleveland Clinic Florida’s COVID-19 Emergency Response efforts, Mazo donated 16,000 KN-95 masks. “When I’m painting, sometimes for hours on end, I use KN-95 masks to protect myself from the fumes. This inspired me to make an impact on the fight against the spread of the coronavirus,” says Mazo. “I wanted these vital KN-95 masks to go to those who need it the most—the healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the line for us every single day.”
As an artist and business woman, it’s clear that Mazo believes in the power of narratives and symbols to understand the world better. There is so much that connects us and Leidy Mazo’s art and philanthropy are quickly becoming a major part of the collective story.
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