It doesn’t matter the size or the location — a used shipping container, the side of a building or a car. Where there’s a space, Maria Magdalena Marcenaro sees a canvas just waiting for bright splashes of color.
Her latest canvas was the back of a two-story building in the children’s area at Davie’s Flamingo Gardens.
“I think about it just like a big piece of paper. When I paint a five-story [building, it’s] a gigantic piece of paper. When I paint a car, it’s a gigantic piece of metallic paper,” said Marcenaro, a Weston artist who goes by the artist name, Magda Love.
Her new piece, “Surrounded by Gardens,” shows the profile of a young woman standing next to a giant peacock and other plant life that can be found at the 60-acre botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary.
“My work really talks about the connection that we have in between each other as human beings and with the environment,” said Marcenaro, 37.
Her Magda Love signature can be found on vibrant, playful murals throughout South Florida.
Earlier this year, she painted the profiles of young women to a backdrop of lush plants on six former shipping containers that are used to stage shows at the Microtheater Miami in downtown Miami. She also painted two red hearts with flowers and plants flowing out of their valves on the side of another former shipping container, which is being transformed into a duplex in northern Miami-Dade County.
Last year, she produced a mural on a wall outside the Blank Canvas Gallery in Miami’s Wynwood arts district. That mural has a tree with its branches growing out of a young woman’s brown hair.
A lot of her work features the image of a young girl because “that’s how I feel when I’m painting,” Marcenaro said.
“I go back to feeling like a little girl, and it really reminds me of just being in a garden or in the country as a young girl, and [it] really speaks about the relationship we have with the natural world and the relationship we have with animals,” said Marcenaro, whose work has an “Alice in Wonderland” vibe with bunnies, butterflies, mushrooms and flowers.
Profiles also are a recurring theme in her artwork. She was influenced by early Egyptian art while she studied anthropology at the University of Buenos Aires in her native Argentina.
“I love profiles. It really shows the character of someone,” she said. “It gives that illusion of wondering, of looking out in the world. I want the characters in my pieces to be very much wondering what is out there, to spark that curiosity.”
She wanted to paint something at Flamingo Gardens because she has enjoyed visiting the attraction since her son, Giuliano, was born 13 years ago.
“I remember bringing my son here as a baby and when he was a toddler chasing all the peacocks,’’ recalled Marcenaro, as peacocks shrieked and roamed the grounds on a recent weekday.
She relocated from New York City in August, she said, so her son could be geographically closer to his father, her ex-husband.
“Whenever I was stressed out about moving, I would go [to Flamingo Gardens] and walk around and relax,’' she said.
Keith Clark, managing and development director at Flamingo Gardens, said her “cartoon-like drawings reminded us of illustrations in a child’s book.”
“We knew she would create a perfect backdrop for our Children's Garden and monthly Story Time,” he said. “And she has.”