Molly McGuire was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada near Toronto.
Working under the name “Magwire,” she is an artist and musician based in New Orleans, LA. Her most recent output is circus banners, which re-appropriate used canvasses such as drop cloths and employ oils and tinted latex house paint.
Inspired by the clash of civilization and nature as well as by the anatomically deviant, the juxtaposition of rural and urban locations also fuels her work. Her interest in the relationship between the historic and contemporary eras is expressed through many different types of media.
Her work has been shown at many galleries internationally. She received a first-place 2012 New Orleans Press Club Award for best editorial illustration. The illustration appeared on the cover of OffBeat Magazine‘s 2012 Jazz Fest issue, themed “Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans: 50th Anniversary.”
She has performed and recorded with Frank Black, Queens of the Stone Age, Martina Topley-Bird, Mondo Generator, earthlings?, Twilight Singers, Goatsnake, The Spores, Rhudabega, Yellow #5, Inbred Bipeds, Brant Bjork and the Bro’s, Mike West and Myshkin.
She also created and performed ARUGULA— a death metal puppet band that auditioned human drummers at The Viper Room in Hollywood. She is currently involved with the musical recording project Dastardly Jones.
Molly attends the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. Her sculptures and paintings can be found in homes and businesses in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Austin, Washington D.C., Memphis, Denver, Portland, Toronto, Jackson, Los Angeles, London and Paris.
I am confident that I am put here to create. I love to look at beautiful and bizarre things. I am inspired by the clash of civilization and nature, and by the anatomically deviant.
The circus theme is possibly the only common thread woven throughout my work. Living the majority of my life in a nomadic state has led me to identify with the carnivalesque. My parents moved many times during my childhood; once I became an adult I took to traveling with musical acts, selling my wares along the way. Of course, the only place I’ve ever truly felt at home is New Orleans.
By not limiting myself to a particular media or style, I continue to explore possibilities, develop new skills and plumb my own creativity endlessly. New mediums and techniques intrigue me, and at the same time I find comfort in returning to mediums I have utilized for years. I relish tools.
I am blessed with a limitless ability to convey the world as my mind interprets it.
The most important thing about art is that it happens.
One of my fondest childhood memories is that every June, the carnival set up right behind my home in Trenton, Ontario. A 100-acre gravel flat behind our townhouse would be transformed into this magical epicenter of activity for a week, then vanish overnight as quickly as it had come. The vacant flat would then be scoured by a fat man wielding a metal detector for a day. Otherwise, it was nothingness. I recorded the sights, sounds and smells in my mind and fell asleep thinking of them for the remaining 51 weeks of the year. It was something that transformed the town that I lived in from the most boring place to the most exciting place imaginable. I was determined to experience the thrill at all times. Where had they come from and where were they going? Something about it inspired me to run very far from where I came from later in life. In the meantime, I was forced to use my own imagination to fill the void. In my mind, everything in my life happened on the enchanted flat that could become something so much more otherworldly than itself. To this day, one of my therapeutic tendencies is to encapsulate people and scenarios from my own life in the form of a circus banner.
Collages (I could Live Here)
As anyone who has been displaced (by choice or by uncontrollable events) understands, the word “home” hovers between mental vortexes and becomes an arbitrary state unto itself. Inventing one’s home can be the same as inventing one’s self. The only difference is a physical address. The ability to visualize an ideal home is within our own capability, whether we choose to use it or not. The “I Could Live Here” series was spurred by the sense of nostalgia engendered by extensive travel and living in many places throughout a lifetime. Feelings of places from the past invariably come back to haunt you in the form of nostalgia, whether or not you actually want to be there. I have collaged items from many different places. Some represent time and age while others represent combinations of locations. In essence, if I could take the wallpaper from my bedroom in New Orleans and drape it across the background of my brother’s trailer in Joshua Tree, California, all perched in the tree from my childhood backyard, yeah – I could live here.