Shavonne Marshall-Wells

Melanin Magic Spotlight: Mickala Mcfarlane

Shavonne Marshall-Wells
Melanin Magic Spotlight: Mickala Mcfarlane

Mickala is one of my closest friends! I was BEYOND excited when she told about throwing her first art show. At age 20, Mickala Mcfarlane is sharing her black girl magic with the world through her conceptual, contemporary, vibrant, black girl art. Mickala’s art show that was a MEGAHIT and completely turnt up (we were swag surfing ya’ll!) I was in awe and unbelievably proud of my friend and a few days later decided to interview the homie and talk about the success of the art show, inspirations/aspirations, and the beginning of her paving a way in the NYC art scene.

MW: The thing that I love so much about your art is the emphasis on black girls. The concept of your art and paintings felt like a solidarity was being made by showcasing black girl emotions. A lot of black girls can relate and familiarize with your art on a personal level. What made you do that?

Mickala: As a black fem, your identity is mostly defined by the people around you. Rather than you getting the chance to do that for yourself. So I wanted to focus on my identity and my ever existing existential crisis and infused that into my work. Cause that’s the reality of my life.  I wanted to reflect the colors that resonate with me and my emotions. I’m a very opinionated person who enjoys having stimulated long rants with my friends(laughs).  So my art particular those pieces were a reflection of that.

MW: One of my favorite paintings was all the guys with the different color dreads and they all had red eyes. I like to refer to that one as “Guys in Brooklyn” (laughs) we talked about how realistic and how very real it felt to see that. I love the detail and interpretation, the way you excuted was done with imaginative creativity. Tell me more about it.  

Mickala: (laughs) Yeah. It’s called when you’re the only girl at the party but I like that alternative title. For the past 2 years after I started going out, I started to pick up these patterns in the party scene. The party etiquette and the party scene in general in going to Brooklyn parties. And the whole vibe that changes when you’re the only girl at the party like there are times when I’m chilling at a party. And its predatory behavior that guys participate in and unfortunately in our party community we don’t talk about it. I mean that’s the idea behind the red eyes it like this sinister vibe that those guys have to them. Predatory approach towards girls at parties. I see that too often nowadays. That’s why when I go to a party I come with at least one friend and not try to be the only girl at the party. And it’s not all but it’s just way too many.

MW: What are your influences? How has this generation influence your work particularly this art show?

Mickala: I've been inspired by D.I.Y spaces, community projects and centers, places that are bringing a cause and making sure young people of color who are in the art scene have a voice.  I’m influenced heavily by fem models and fem artists. I appreciate the fact that they are in a point in their life where they are living vigorously unapologetic. It such a huge inspiration to me to be unapologetic and to be unique as an artist and person.  People like Natasha Lilipore, I also have couple of muses who have influenced me are Oroma Elewa style wise, many of the adorable IG black baddies and a lot of Rebecca sugars cartoon characters like Garnet and Connie. Our generation brings me inspiration every time I talk to you or our other friends. Or when I go to event and strike up a conversation with someone I feel atomically inspired. This generation feels of a different breed. We are flourishing excellence and modifying an influence in so many ways, it’s so cool to be a part of that influence that will be appreciated as the years past.

MW: As a young black fem, how do you feel like your voice can be important through your craft?

Mickala: I feel like it is. There are not enough voices. And every voice matters. My voice matters. I want to do the absolute most until I exist. I want to make sure that my art has an impact on people. It makes them happy. It makes them feel inspire. It makes them feel sad or angry. I want them to feel my work as much I do when I create it. My definite focus is inspiring people in anyway because that’s essential to me as an artist until the end of the time.

MW: I like to call your art “Cutesy Black Girl Magic Art” I felt I was represented. I felt like you represent all of us in fact.

Mickala: Yeah! Absolutely, that cute, quirky, weird black girl that doesn’t know her place in the world but she wholesome, cute, and carefree. Awkward black girls! I trying to portray the essence and the beauty behind all of that. Creating all of this came from this transformative time in my life, whereas I feel like I’m sure of myself but than other times I’m not. I have so much to learn and I need to rethink this formula of life. Will I ever know what to completely do? so I’m glad that you feel a common ground and heart to heart with it. Cause I want other black girls to feel that

MW: Besides Art, I know you have a very cool and busy life that involves your other creativity skills. Let people know what you about when it comes to them.(laughs)

Mickala: So boom! (laughs) No um yeah I’m always trying to keep myself busy. Occasionally, I do freelance modeling. I'm into styling projects, creative directing, freelance modeling, and designing clothes. I see art in fashion, so I also have a love affair with styling other people and just having the opportunity to present my creativity when doing that. I have a lot of friends who are models, photographers, and designers so I try to collaborate with them as much as possible. Because it feels amazing to believe in other people’s vision especially the homies. Support your local artists!

MW: Thank you so much for doing this interview!  I am so proud and looking forward to the success that awaits this year.

For more updates on her future projects, follow Mickala on Instagram: @Boxwine