There’s purpose behind Jade Leyva’s art.
Whether it’s a piece of art made completely out of seeds, or her coming show on human migration, the intent is front and center.
The Placitas-based artist will participate in the Contemporary Hispanic Market, on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, in downtown Santa Fe.
It’s her fourth year in the market.
“One of the things I love about it is that it’s an artist-run market,” she says. “They are very mindful of what each artist needs.”
Leyva is known for her style, called magical realism.
From painting to pottery and photography, the Mexico City native combines influences from magical realism to pre-Columbian and postmodern.
At times, her work is whimsical; she works with acrylics.
It can also be celebratory and reflective, yet always thought-provoking and expressive.
The central themes of her art – love, unity and our fragile relationship to Mother Earth – embody her hope for the future of the world.
“Magical realism was born in the 1940s and 1950s,” she says. “It was something that was created, and it’s sort of a metaphor. You can see the image, and there’s a message behind it. Everybody gets a new message when they look at the pieces closely.”
Leyva’s journey in art began when she was a child; her mother and stepfather are artists.
But it wasn’t until 2001, when she met her mentor, Bill Freeman, that her life changed.
“He was the person who taught me how to approach life as an artist,” she says. “He was instrumental for me. I worked in his studio for 12 years, and I learned many techniques that I use in today’s work.”
During her first year at the Contemporary Hispanic Market, Leyva was heavily involved in the “SEED: A Collective Voice” project.
The group of artists, environmentalists, educators and seed-lovers has been making murals with seeds in communities around the state, Mexico and other locations around the globe.
The group creates multimedia exhibits to raise awareness and educate about the importance of eating organic food and taking care of the environment, bees and pure ancient seeds for future generations.
The group has created 24 murals.
“With the project, I created the opportunity to raise environmental awareness of bees, water and trees,” she says. “We would bring in educators to open the conversation and show its importance.”
For the past three years, Leyva has remained a consultant with the group and put all her focus into being a full-time artist.
“I’m grateful to be able to do this and people are receptive enough,” she says.
While she’s been planning for the Hispanic market for months, Leyva has also been working on pieces for a show at Mill Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe on Aug. 30.
“Many pieces will have the story of migration,” she says. “Everything that lives on Earth has a story of migration. I paint indigenous women and the femininity that comes along with it. There’s a power in showing the feminine side. I like to express and show the beauty of indigenous women.”