Observing everyday life
This story was featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
For Miguel Malagon, there is nothing more interesting to paint than the human figure. Malagon says he has always been drawn to scenes of daily life as well as the demeanors of everyday people. These slices of life offer a glimpse into modern times and are often set in the big city of Chicago, where he lives. He admits to being a bit of a voyeur and, like many figurative artists, he enjoys observing people. “I want my work to be a portal for the viewer to enter that world and see what I saw as I painted the scene,” Malagon says.
Earlier this year at the Salon International show, held in May at Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, TX, the artist’s expressive painting KIMBALL won a top prize. The scene captures commuters on an elevated train platform in downtown Chicago. “The physical closeness of the people, mixed with the mental distance and the vague uneasiness of each individual, was interesting to me,” Malagon says. “All the people seemed lost within their own thoughts, which made me curious as to what each one was thinking about.”
Malagon studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and continues to draw inspiration from the various city neighborhoods he has lived in since then. He hesitates to describe his style except to say that one of his early influences was seeing the works of artists such as Clark Hulings [1922-2011] in the pages of Southwest Art magazine. Although Hulings painted in a more realistic style than Malagon, the artists have in common an interest in everyday scenes and the use of evocative textures in their works.
Although Malagon’s main body of work focuses on people and street scenes, he also creates plein-air landscapes and works with a model in his studio on a weekly basis. “People are usually surprised, when they see a group of my paintings, that the same person painted them,” Malagon says. “I have had people tell me that they are surprised at the difference in style or technique from one piece to the next. But I just paint.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Paul Henry’s Art Gallery, Hammond, IN.
Featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download
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