Throughout the past five months, we’ve all been diving head first into activities, hobbies and routines that help us clear our minds from the harsh reality stemming from the global pandemic. Those things vary for all DMV residents. And, for local artist Maggie O’Neill, that looks like working on the Disco Ball Collection—her newest series of bright, colorful and impressionist paintings—that has given her peace right now.
In a recent Instagram post, the painter—best known for her pop art portraits of political figures—wrote, “These disco balls have been therapy to me over the past few months.”
The entire collection, which features several pieces, is inspired by O’Neill’s nostalgia for dancing under the light of a disco ball. She launched the collection on July 21 in an effort to bring a little color and joy to the local community right now.
Here, O’Neill shares the importance of having a creative outlet, what’s in store from her latest creations and more.
How has art given you solace during this trying time?
Creating artwork is cathartic and inspiring for me. I believe watching other people create is motivating, inspiring and soothing for others to watch. Plus, I feel healthier and happier after working in the studio and painting things that create joy or send messages of empowerment and courage. I hope that these feelings translate to the viewer, supporter, collector or follower.
Why do you think it’s so important for people to have a creative outlet in general, and especially in times of high stress?
A creative outlet is a form of therapy or an exercise for your mind and body that you didn’t know you needed. Creativity and the exercise of making or creating actually releases endorphins and exercises the imagination. The “what if?” in you that is the fuel we need to have hope, be innovative, adapt and cope.
What inspired you to release the Disco Ball Collection?
I love disco … I love dancing!
How many pieces are in the collection?
At the moment, nine, but I have about six more in the queue and they are much larger. The theme of Disco is not just relegated to the Disco Balls, but some other works that I am currently creating! So stay tuned.
What emotions or feelings do you hope the Disco Ball Collection will inspire in viewers?
Joy! Coupled with a little motivation for dancing whenever too. I encourage everyone to watch Soul Train videos to just make you smile.
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