Toofly: Love Warrior In Los Angeles


I have been fortunate to be friends with one of the most talented and inspiring artist of our generation Maria Castillo better known as "Toofly". Originally from New York but she now resides in Ecuador, her experiences and travels in North and South America have evolved her signature female character into a fusion of indigenous royalty. She recently had an exhibit of her new work, aptly titled "Love Warrior", in New York and I had a chance to sit down and speak with her before she prepared for the Los Angeles exhibition of "Love Warrior".

SV: What inspires you?
 

TF: These days I am most inspired by expressing my deepest feelings about love, the immigrant experience, nature, travel, and living a more sustainable life. I get really excited when I draw in my sketchbook because ideas deep within get poured out. I no longer feel the need to take part in the rat race, or the hustle and bustle city life. I have checked out of from all that distracts me and pursuing a life that is more in tune with who I want to be. I spend a lot of time in solitude, in nature, and in my studio. To create, think, and feel what is most important in life.
SV: As you have evolved as an artist, one thing that has never changed is the underlying message of female empowerment. What has influenced you to continuously have this message in your artwork?
 

TF: I was once at a super cute restaurant in Brooklyn chatting about this same question with a friend. She understood what I was talking about, and how I feel I am a messenger of love. I know the words that were coming out that day spoke from a place of sincerity, and belief in something bigger than me. It sounds a little crazy to some but I feel I am here like many others doing "light work". To live a human experience with all its imperfections but what is different is that I have a special responsibility. I carry in my hands and in my heart a passion for the arts. Something that allows me to vibrate much stronger female energy. Women are in tune with what I express in my work and the signals I send out. They understand that we have the power to make the world a better place if we lead by example, and align to raise consciousness. If we empower ourselves we empower others and then the rest of the world. Artists who draw, paint, sing, dance, create etc; have the magic to awaken the spirit, as much as those who nurture no matter what gender. If they are in touch with this type of energy they too can reach the human heart on a genuine level. This is what we need so that it can do the job it needs to do. We need a loving society throughout the ages to keep our humanity. Art has magic, good magic, and that person with the right tools will use it for good. This is what I know and what I dedicate my life to.
Love Warrior Exhibition in New York



TooFly Love Warrior Art Print Exhibit from TOOFLY NYC on Vimeo.

SV: You were one of the female artist creating murals for the Warmi Paint Festival in 2015. How did it feel to be apart of such a milestone in creating a mural in one of the tallest buildings in Quito, Ecuador (South America)?
 

TF: As one of the participating artists, but most of all head curator, and co-founder of the Warmi Paint Festival I feel as 360 as you can get! My partner Ache Vallejo and I took on the independent painstaking task to build with Quito's city arts and culture organization. I did not know what I was getting into, but we worked really hard and received one of the largest grants in 2015 to make this event possible. It was well deserved because the ideas we proposed have never been done before at this scale by any of the graffiti, hip hop, or arts culture organizations in the country. We would make history that year, and open people's minds to the importance of women spaces and projects. For the first time an all women graffiti/street art festival with Ecuadorian, and international South American female artists came together to create large scale murals, and showcase their life's work. We invited graffiti legends like Lady Pink, who is also of Ecuadorian hertitage and the amazing Martha Cooper. These women have been at the forefront of the culture since it began. Contemporary documentary artists like Alexandra Henry of Street Heroines, and Qarla Quispe also took part in the festival with films, workshops, fashion show, and panels. The Ecuadorian community had the opportunity to experience a well organized, and professional event put together by dedicated women in the urban arts. With spray cans, brushes, and stencils, the ladies made their mark in Quito and proved that they have a strong voice worldwide worth taking notice. It was a successful event and one that taught me many lessons. Ecuador is not New York, and it is still very much behind on the arts and culture programming for women. Something the US and cities in Europe have already mastered. It was a frustrating experience but at least it got the jumpstart it needed. We must continue to plant these seeds, cultivate them, and have the patience to watch them grow. As one of the Warmi Paint Festival founders I am thankful for the opportunity to return to my country of birth, and rock one of the tallest murals in Quito. "Herstory" is definitely in the making in South America.

Mural Toofly created on the tallest building in Quito, Ecuador for the Warmi Paint Festival 2015
SV: What is next for Toofly?
 

TF: I've been working really hard these last few years so that my life in Ecuador is comfortable and peaceful. I planned ahead because I had an intuitive feeling that big changes were coming. As you can see today many people are trying to find ways to live a more sustainable life. We all know that if we don't make these changes soon it will be much harder down the road. Our lives need to align with what is most important to sustain a common balance in all areas of our lives. I have since prepared, and I am thankful I am at a place where I can help others and not despair. It is a time to take action today, and unite with ideas that will help our communities rise to a better place. The divide is serious we can not allow it to happen. We have to come together and make our world a better place. We all want this. If you are not well, and in a position to extend the right vibe to others it makes the battle that much harder. You can see this by the illusion of freedom folks have in allowing a broken system to dictate their lives and keep us from connecting. As humanity begins to wake up from this cruel reality we will find ways to change it. Warriors of the heart know what I am talking about. "WE" will be the change we want to see in this world and we will lead by example. Whatever I get involved with these days is expressed on this interview because that's what's next for TOOFLY.
Details for this weeks exhibition in Los Angeles
"Love Warrior" is a testament to being fearless and seeing that word alone translated into a visual body of work that is unforgettable. I highly recommend if you live in Los Angeles or if you're there around the dates listed, to go see Toofly's Love Warrior Art Prints & Pop-Up.
Toofly: Love Warrior
Thursday Nov 17th, 2016 (Weekend Exhibit Nov 17th- Nov 20th)
Opening 6:30pm-10pm 

457 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036

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