This female artist makes Berlin come to life in thick black lines and vibrant colors.
From Bogota to the Big B, after stops in Firenze Italy as a child, studies of fine arts and illustrations in Bogota and Madrid, Xuehka, or Xueh Magrini Troll, moved to Berlin to study visual communication at the Weißensee School of Art. Artistry runs in Xueh’s blood, she follows into the creative footsteps of her mother and grandmother as a female artist. Xueh, who calls legendary painter Frida Kahlo one of her biggest influences, has made the German capital the main source of inspiration for her lively cartoons, drawings, and sketches.
Think cheeky, raw drawings with that sharp eye for familiar situations. Looking at Xueh Magrini’s cartoons, you can find a naive, childlike ease that many modern artists have aspired to. She is catching a feeling, not perfection. In Berlin, Xueh has made a name for herself as a recurrent illustrator for the well-known, left-wing newspaper TAZ, a perfect fit for the artist’s non-conforming style of work. Recently, she has shown her art in an exhibition in North German city Bremen and is working on her first illustrated book “Berlin de mis amores”.
“Somehow I have always focused on the positive sides of living here,” Xueh told Superflug Mag in a recent interview, “This time I’m trying to give a much more critical and realistic image of what it feels like to live in Berlin.” Effortless, but far from pointless. Xueh’s cartoons are a sketched socio-political commentary on Berlin life ranging from street scenes to the refugee crisis. Her relationship with Berlin is, as for many its citizens, a story of love and hate and “by far no rose garden,” she says.
Sharp teethed faces lurk like tribal masks shouting fast sketched phrases. “Berlin is great. But if you like party and drugs too much, you’re fucked,” slurs a red-lipped woman with triangle sunglasses and neon-yellow undercut. Her images take you deep into sex clubs, show a sunny afternoon in Görlitzer Park or Turkish grandpas eating Döner at Kotti. It’s Berlin reality, with a twist. Mundane, everyday situations that come to life through expressive strokes and dabs of vivid color. Her art explores the bright and the dark sides of this buzzing metropolis that can be amazing or horrific at times. Even after 10 years of living in Berlin, she feels like a passenger or tourist at times, Xueh explains.
The artist’s Columbian heritage and the backdrop of her present-day Berlin life merge into a dynamic collage pinned down on paper.
We can’t wait for her photobook to be published. Until then, we have a selection of Xuehka’s work below or check out her blog, Facebook or Instagram. More art of her can be found in our previous feature about her that we published a few years ago.