In my party career, yeah I can call it that sure, I meet a lot of people. None quite like this week’s feature Mariel Pauline of course. From New York, to Miami to Toronto Mariel was a hard one to sit down to chat with but we did it. Discussions of art, that thing in the desert and more fill this week’s interview. Let’s get to it shall we?
Note: This interview was completed prior to the Tarna and Heavy Meta, event’s mentioned.
1. Let’s talk about your passion project Wishing Wings, what inspired it, and what is it?
Three years ago, after the suicide and overdose of a few friends in the New York City nightlife community, I felt stuck. I wasn’t creating, wasn’t living a life I could be proud of. I began reconnecting with nature, setting intentions, and letting go. At the same time, I became infatuated with the texture of fallen wood as it dries — and from this, the Wishing Wings Project was born.
Intentions are wishes our hearts are brave enough to beat into reality. One of the most powerful things we can do is set an intention. The Wishing Wings aim to incubate that moment of pause, reflection, and reset.
At its core, the Wishing Wings are a collaborative experiential mixed media sculpture that has appeared at events and festivals in the United States and Canada, beginning with I FEEL: Summer Escape 2018. It is composed of site-specific sustainably sourced branches and other flora, which are meticulously hand-woven into 8’x10’ wings. People are invited to write their wish on a wooden heart provided by the artist, and hang it on the piece. I collected 2018’s Wishes at the close of each event, and brought to Burning Man to be sealed in the flames of Temple Galaxia. This year, Wishes from Ontario’s regional Burn, Hyperborea, were immolated in the event’s own Temple. I am ecstatic to bring the Wishing Wings Project to a close this summer at Burning Man; Wishes from Miami’s LoveBurn, Figment NYC, and I FEEL: Summer Escape will join the entire installation to burn in the dust.
2. Since today is #TMITuesday can you tell the readers something about you that they do not already know?
I love hiding & jumping out to scare people. Or just hiding – typically in small places, behind doors, in your dreams.
3. You were a co-creator for Figment NYC, what was that like?
A lot of things aligned for this one… I attended Figment NYC for 4 years prior, and their new home on Roosevelt Island is directly across from my old apartment, so bringing the Wishing Wings Project this year felt like things were coming full-circle. I loved incorporating glitter and neon paints into the materials left for the Wishing Wings so participants could leave their creative sparkle on the piece. It brought immense joy to my heart to see families engage in the art, like The Toad art car that was curated by Figment’s team. Set against the NYC skyline, it was simply magical.
4. If you could choose one song to be your ‘theme song’ what would it be and why?
People like to peg me as a “Dreams” (Fleetwood Mac) type of gal, but right now I’m really leaning in to that “Norrland” (Gidge) vibe. I’m a big fan of proper horns and the entire track carries an ethereal, sunshine-forward lightness of being throughout that makes me smile every time.
5. What drew you to this traveling artist lifestyle?
I didn’t choose this crazy lifestyle, it 100% choose me.
In September 2017, I was introduced to the Heavy Meta art car family. Shortly thereafter, I began splitting my time between Brooklyn and Toronto. New York City was feeling claustrophobic, having grown up there, so I was invigorated by the opportunity to check out Toronto’s innovative scene and collaborate on some amazing art and experiences. Y’all don’t have an ego up here, yet. It’s nice.
Working in event production and art direction, I’m fortunate enough to be able to “follow the project”. From blinging out a throne in The Funhouse’s Underwater Ballroom, to co-creating a 10,000 person music festival on top of a ski mountain in Vermont – every day is different. I love learning from and be inspired by where each project takes me. Getting to create magic every day is a bonus.
6. If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
There are so many things I want to do; most center around healing and end-of-life care. Maybe art therapy? Maybe working to bridge the education gap between traditional medicine practitioners and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonian symptoms? Definitely something that would allow for me to have a doggo, though.
7. As a contributing artist to the newly opened art maze “The Funhouse” in Toronto, how would you describe the experience?
Holy wow, talk about dream project! All of last summer and the better part of this spring, I got to wake up and make art. Face casting alongside Paul Jackson last summer for his “Free Trial”-room collaboration with Bad Child was a huge lesson in deliberation and patience. As an emerging artist, it felt super badass to be trusted to execute this space. A few team members and I 100% ugly cried watching the Manual Arts team finish installing the fascia of the building, feeling what a gift it was to be a part of this project, and knowing what we’ve created for the city of Toronto to enjoy. The entire Funhouse was a family effort. There’s so much love, detail, and joy in every single piece. I could not be more honoured to have been part of the team.
8. You help create the environment and vibe for parties all over Canada, and the US. What are your must-haves at a party?
You mean beyond free and easily accessible water, a responsible door policy, killer and well-balanced sound? I like music that allows my brain to play, and a vibe that invites people to “come as they are”- to connect without pretense. The parties where I find myself fully enjoying the experience also have an art or wellness component. Dancing for hours in a dark club is fun, but a space where there’s a collaborative mural, a rooftop, thought-provoking art, an elixir bar — most importantly, a crowd there to celebrate life? That’s a party, babe. Oh, and fire. Fire’s nice too.
9. Which event are you most excited about this year?
There are so many! Every event is different in its own lovely way. I’m looking forward to both the Tarna and Metaverse fundraiser parties in Toronto in July, then Burning Man to see all of the 4tress’ art cars on playa. I’m also looking forward to Burning Man because I get to torch the Wishing Wings with some friends from NYC and Amsterdam, celebrate my 2nd anniversary with my partner, and experience all the art. I have to tip my hat to Circus Fabulae & The Cloud — so many artistically gifted friends bringing all the cool things to this Burn!
After this summer, I’m looking forward to our next Twinkle party during Halloweekend in Brooklyn. Twinkle is a collaboration between my brand, Kaphea, and Alex Daniel’s label, Playa Vibes Productions. Together, we curate a fully immersive art-meets-music vibe with an art gallery, body painters, performances, and high octane DJs. We’re thinking this party will be Austin Powers themed. Bring on the fembots & sharks with laser beams!
10. What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m spending some time building my wedding and corporate event decor business, and producing a few events in NYC this autumn. My next intention is to find myself in Asia, from January – March 2020. I’d like to build some stages with woven bamboo, see some sunsets, visit some temples. I’m also interested in doing a vipassana sit while I’m there. Trying not to plan too much, and just let the Universe do her thing.
*Featured photo by Toronto’s Dead Pixel*