Published on February 11th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford0
Award Winning Collage Artist, Maura Lucchese Now Calls New Orleans Home
Maura Lucchese’s artwork is a reflection of who she is and aims to be.
Influenced by her father, Maura Lucchese decided at an early age that she would express herself through art. Another lesson she learned from her father is to help as many people as possible along the way of her journey; which is where her focus is today. Helping younger artists reach their full potential is her goal. The Florida native, who now resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, a place full of style, culture and a historical music foundation seems like the perfect landing spot for the prominent artist. She has spent thousands of hours perfecting her craft and her work speaks for itself. Her art is made from recycled magazines to encourage responsible stewardship of our planet.
I had the opportunity to speak with, Ms. Lucchese. She opens up about her passion for art, explains why the Obama’s are an influence on her work and her connection to the late great, Muhammad Ali.
How are you doing, Ms. Lucchese?
Maura Lucchese: I’m well, it’s an honor to be interviewed by The Hype Magazine.
It’s an honor to have you on. You have an incredible talent, which comes in the form of art. Is this a talent that you stumbled across or a very deliberate finding?
Maura Lucchese: Thank you! I was encouraged to draw as a small child. My family couldn’t afford toys so they would give me pen and paper and a subject to draw. This kept me busy for long periods. The rest is just the time I put in. I’m not sure about talent, I just know a lot of time went into pursuing my passion and developing my skill set.
We hear the term, “it’s not like it’s rocket science,” a lot. Your father was literally a rocket scientist. How did he influence your life and where you are today?
Maura Lucchese: He stressed the importance of finding a mentor to help continuously raise the bar. He wanted me to encourage others. He was the biggest influence in my life. We lost him in 2010. I think of him daily. He was a devout Christian, very humble and very smart. My dad taught me patience, he taught me to work as if I was creating a gift meant for God alone, and the highest expression of love for humanity. He taught me to create with the discipline and mindset that my work would someday inspire people. He also taught me to be hungry for knowledge and the wisdom of experience; to understand that what I know is finite and what I don’t know is infinite.
You have been through a lot of adversity in your life. Was art an escape for you at any point, or did you separate personal from work?
Maura Lucchese: More of a focus than an escape. I went into art full-time to give my children a template for overcoming adversity. We have a choice when life comes at us fast. I like to slow down and I choose to use healthy coping mechanisms. I tell young artists to use their pain, instead of stuffing it down, because it may help someone else down the road. There are some things from which you can’t escape, but don’t let your troubles silence your voice.
You’re from Florida, but you currently reside in New Orleans, Louisiana. What promoted the move to the Big Easy?
Maura Lucchese: I actually came here from working on a project in New Jersey for two years. Muhammad Ali built his first house in Cherry Hill, just outside Philadelphia. The current owner hired me to oversee the complete renovation and design of the home. I am a big fan of Ali the humanitarian, so I felt deeply compelled to honor his presence in my designs. When the project was completed my fiancé and I chose New Orleans as our new home. I’m an artist and he is a musician. We were attracted to the people, diversity, history and especially the culture. There is indescribable pain in the soil here, but the spirit soars in the tenacity and creativity of the people, which they generously share with visitors.
The culture here in Louisiana, especially New Orleans is so amazing and it’s a beautiful sight to experience. Does any of your work stem from just an everyday stroll through the city?
Maura Lucchese: I walk through the city almost every day. This is the only place I lived where strangers meet my eye and ask, “How ya doing?” I also get and give lots of hugs. There’s beauty everywhere, in the art, architecture, music, and hospitality. On Sunday’s there is a massive second line parade. I suggest people put that on their bucket list. It’s truly a spiritual experience. Who can’t blossom in that kind of environment? So yes, there is inspiration around every corner.
When would you say you first noticed that you had a talent and that it could become something you did for the rest of your life?
Maura Lucchese: Thank you but still I’m not convinced I have a talent. When I was a little girl, I knew that art would be something I could make until old age. I do know I have a strong desire to lift people up and make them smile. I feel I would have wasted my time if I couldn’t reach out and connect with others. But if you want to be an expert at anything you need to put in your 10,000 hours of focused effort.
It appears you are inspired by the Obama’s. What is it about them that inspires you?
Maura Lucchese: I love Michelle and Barack Obama for their discipline, intellectualism, servant leadership, style, romance, straight forwardness, and forbearance with critics. These are the values my father taught me. To me, they embody the best of what it means to be American. Anyone seeking success can follow their example.
Do you have plans for 2020 and if so, can you share them?
Maura Lucchese: I was very fortunate to stumble upon a diversified collective of artists at 1000 Rampart Street, called RampArt NOLA. We function as a community that mentors and showcases up and coming artists. I’m focusing my energy on the next generation, but my originals and prints are available at this location, and we are expanding my collection to include wearable and functional merchandise. I encourage people to come by and visit the gallery.
Could you explain the concept of “Brain Candy?”
Maura Lucchese: The mission of my Brain Candy Art is to educate, edify, and entertain one another in a spirit of love, to the glory of God. It’s serious stuff, but it doesn’t take itself seriously.
Be sure to visit and shop Maura’s work at www.braincandyart.org.