Maya Hayuk

Maya Hayuk in Residencia Gorila

In the hectic times following the Summit Series events, Maya Hayuk came to stay with us. And this is a hard article to write, as she not only does art, but lives through it. The Brooklyn-based artist has had a long and succesful career in the art world, becoming known for her wild use of patterns and colors, as caustic as characteristic. But knowing her completes the picture.

On her second night at Gorila - as it happens in the jungle - a small scorpion-looking insect found her and right then it became obvious to all of us that we were in the company of someone very special. She first went to ceremoniously release it into the wild, did a private cleansing ritual in the ocean and then spend the night building a shrine and prison for the little being, writing Scorpions lyrics around it, Scorpio references and instructions for Roberto on how to deal with the unexpected visitor.

When the weekend came around, Alfonso planned a trip around the Yucatan peninsula visiting sister residencies and art galleries in Merida, Valladolid, Izmal and surrounding cenotes, enjoying the local cuisine. During the trip, I was able to witness the hyper-driven creative mental process of the artist, as she explores every thought and the emotions they produce, transforming it into the wild adventure that is to know her. 

When we returned, the artist proposed a mural in the event space at Tulum Art Club that reflected her loud and sexual use of triangular patterns dripping color and life into each other, in a flammable and shocking visual piece. The moment you enter the gallery, you get an eerie feeling of being looked at by the art - until you look at it and it absorbs you. Every time you look, you can find new patterns and new combinations that add on the greater aesthetic feel of the piece. In a show of her professional and systematic creative process, with the help of her pink-costumed assistant Regina and the support of the Gorila family the artist completed the mural in only three days.

Born in Maryland to an Ukrainian emigrant family, the artist has been working hard and strong since college, holding odd jobs but always creating and collaborating with colleagues and buddying artists. Maya has been a staple in the rise of street art and artivism (art + activism) in contemporary culture with a strong presence from New York to the West Coast. She holds studio space in Brooklyn and Brussels, being a true post-modern renaissance woman - standing proud on a solid book of achievements and recognition.

The artist arrived to Tulum for the Summit Series, to create a structure dubbed the PYRAMIND, a rectangular pyramid containing an emotive spectrum of colors that powerfully interact and affect each other. After the events, the PYRAMIND became part of Tulum Art Club permanent collection and a part of the human landscape of the gallery, with visitors of all ages now interacting and relating to it. During the weekly event of her stay, the artist did a live interactive art performance on top of the structure during the musical presentations of of Lopezhouse and Tulum Ensemble.

While short, her stay and work defined the aesthetic of the Summer Residency: roaring, productive, chaotic and familiar. From her first night, it felt as she had been a Gorila all along, being a master teacher for us all - as she works and lives through art. Observing her work - and be - was a true growth experience for the Gorila family, crash-coursing through an advanced class in contemporary art history and growing one exceptional human being larger.