Q&A with Magik Press Business Owner, Aly MadersonQuinlog
Meet the Visual Artist and Printer who Discusses Their Passion for the Arts
By Bridney C.
Aly MadersonQuinlog is a visual artist and businesswoman from New London, Connecticut who was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. Their great-grandfather was a sign painter who painted watercolors as a hobby in Queens, New York during the 1920s and ’30s, but there were no professional artists in their family.
Their dad is a woodworker, and they grew up assisting him in his wood shop. They always knew I had to make art, from a very early age, and it was just what I did.
"Art has been a gift, and it's not an exaggeration to say it saved my life during some dark periods of my youth," says MadersonQuinlog, 40.
I started to think about having a career as an Artist in high school, but I still consider art-making more of a calling and art education as my career.
They earned a BFA in photography in 2002 at Winthrop University, then later studied Art History at Old Dominion University. More recently they earned an MA in Teaching and Learning in Art and Design from Rhode Island School of Design in 2016.
MadersonQuinlog started making zines starting in high school and was a part of the school's newspaper as the photo editor. They were not allowed to have a creative input and was not allowed to publish certain things in the school's newspaper.
They began teaching and organizing within community arts in New London in the fall of that year.
They created comics and zines about feminism that they shared with their group of friends. They learned printmaking in their undergrad and briefly went on a hiatus. In 2015, during their graduate work at RISD, they fell in love with the form.
I need to separate some of my art-making from capitalism. I support my studio with custom orders and book sales, and earnings from teaching, but there are some pieces of my work that are site-specific and not for sale.
They enjoy zines, books, and printmaking because they enjoy experimenting. They also believe printmaking is art for the people, as it is inexpensive and easily accessible for anyone to create.
MadersonQuinlog works as an art educator and says it puts a smile on her face to witness youth find their voice by creating original art of their own.
"Teaching keeps me humble. I learn from my students. Teaching is another learning path."
The themes that are reflected in their artwork are gender, time, and memory. They also use the self portrait to explore my Non-Binary identity.
It can take five minutes for them to finish an art piece and some of their art pieces will never be finished. When they publish a zine with other artists, the project lasts a few months to gather all the materials and content.
"Art gives my soul peace. When I make art it's the only time in my life I am completely at ease. It connects me with myself and others."
In this edition of Q&A, Aly MadersonQuinlog revealed how they started Magik Press, their achievements they has accomplished with their brand, and how they established themselves as a printmaker.
Bridney C: How did you start your business, Magik Press? How did you come up with the name and the "k" in Magik?
Aly MadersonQuinlog: I started my business by publishing the first annual Halloween Zine in October of 2016. It was a fundraiser for the non-profit I worked with at the time. From there, my publishing, teaching, and organizing life grew.
I honestly believe that Art is magic. Artists imbue pigments, canvas, graphite, charcoal, and silver nitrate on paper with the life-breath of the universe. I chose to “misspell” Magik Press because it made me think of old Irish books my grandmother would read to me as a kid.
BC: What are some achievements you have accomplished with Magik Press?
AMQ: Opening Magik Press was an achievement. I’m a Mom, and for the first decade of my child’s life, I was lucky enough to work from home, but having a room of one’s own (as Virginia Woolf describes) was a huge act of trust in myself and my work. Magik Press has published five years of a Halloween Themed annual Zine, multiple poetry pocket zines, album artwork, and a collection of erotic art that raised money for Planned Parenthood. Before and during the pandemic, I collaborated with Cultured AF to produce a Book Arts Festival and other art happenings. I also produced a podcast called Art is for Everybody and just received a grant to produce Season 2. My most recent project is Art Mutual Aid. Through Magik Press, we’ve distributed over 100 Art Kits made with donated materials to young people and their families in New London, New Haven, and Middletown.
BC: What is magical about art, and why do you consider yourself to be an "art witch?"
AMQ: Making Art is an act of immense spiritual value, whether it's done privately for yourself or as a working artist for an exhibition.
I use the word Witch because it best describes my spiritual practice, which is nature-based and ritualistic. It's also an impish choice meant to challenge folks to approach my work with a sense of dark humor.
BC: How involved are you in the community? What organizations have you partnered with and what is your mission?
AMQ: I teach art and host community arts events locally and throughout New England. Community Arts is part of my passion. I believe that Art connects the brain and heart in individuals, but also creates unique connections within communities. In New London, I have collaborated with Writer’s Block, New London Main Street, Fresh, New London Youth Affairs, Hearing Youth Voices, and OutCT. I have also hosted workshops for Artreach in Norwich, The New Haven Pride Center’s youth program, Nasty Womxn Connecticut, and Project Open Door in Providence, Rhode Island. Currently, I am the Outreach Coordinator for the Visual Art Library.
BC: Name and describe 3 of your top favorite artworks YOU created.
AMQ: I love the public art pieces I made with young people in New London during the Spring and Summer of 2019 called Somos New London/We Are New London. They currently are on display in the window of The Visual Art Library near the top of State Street in New London. This work combines my love of cyanotype photography, street art, and Youth arts into a beautiful and powerful public art project.
Consumption was one of my first large scale site-specific installations in Connecticut. I exhibited it during the 2017 Nasty Women Art Exhibition in New Haven, Connecticut. It is made with cyanotype, printed stickers, and pillows in an architectural space. The piece is a feminist response to misogyny in the traditional roles of artist and muse. Well known cis male artists like Picasso are famous for their mistreatment and abuse of young women they called their muses. The Muse is the viagra of the art world made for consumption and to uphold masculine egos.
Lukango is an artist's book that tells the history of the Stono Rebellion of 1739, a slave uprising that happened in pre-Colonial South Carolina. I used found images, historical research, cyanotype printing, and book arts to tell the story of the brave people who fought for Liberty against the “founding fathers”. This piece of history took place near my childhood home in Ravenel, South Carolina. Its themes are related to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. I created it for a group exhibition that opened in Summerville, South Carolina on the 278th anniversary of the Uprising.
BC: If you could meet any famous artist, dead or living, who would it be? Why? Where would this meeting take place?
AMQ: Baroness Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhoven. She was a Dadaist Artist and Poet with who I feel connected. She was rude, crude, and delightfully bawdy. She is also the creator of one of the most famous pieces of art in the modern era, The Fountain which is a urinal turned upside down and signed R. Mutt. I would love to sit in a cafe in Berlin and have endless coffees and share poetry and maybe a kiss or three.
for updates. Listen to their podcast, Art is For Everybody on Spotify.