Madison artist creates street art despite challenges

By Ryan Ward | October 4, 2022


Artist Liubov Szwako was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. Several years ago, he immigrated to Wisconsin and began to build his portfolio around the city of Madison.

“I think my work is very abstract,” Szwako said. “I’m not a big fan of telling people what to think or what to believe or what to see in my work or what my word represents.”

Szwako is more widely known around the Madison community as Triangulador. A name that pays homage to his Hispanic roots as well as his style of art. Szwako routinely incorporates triangular shapes within his work.

“The first thing that I drew was a triangle and it felt good,” Szwako said. “Later on, I found that there’s so much power behind a triangle shape triangle.”

Szwako’s work can be seen in murals across the city of Madison. His designs have become iconic within the city. But it might be his work you see on the side of the road that gets the most buzz at times. Szwako paints his designs on the front of discarded bed mattresses and furniture that is left out to be thrown away.

“Since I’m an immigrant I have to comply with certain rules and I have to go through certain things that most people don’t have to go through,” Szwako said. “So, I thought the closest thing to a wall was like, oh, look at all these mattresses that are just sitting on the side of the road that literally is going to the dump.”

Szwako says he’s painted well over 200 mattresses, couches, TVs, and other various furniture left on the side of the street. However, it’s not just about finding discarded items that can be tricky. Szwako has other things to consider as well.

“Will it absorb the paint correctly? Because some different materials and mattresses do different things,” Szwako said. “Some of them drip, you can spend a lot of paint and they just soak it up and it doesn’t show.”

For Szwako his art is about pushing himself to conquer new limits and evolve. It’s a deeply satisfying journey for him.

“I don’t see any limitations of the things that I can do, and I don’t see any limitations to the things that other people can do,” Szwako said. “I’ve found that by doing what I do. I somehow bring happiness to some people.”

Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward is a producer for the “Wisconsin Life” project and can rest easy after he finally found the perfect jar of homemade dill pickles at the farmer’s market in Madison. … just like his Grandma Shirley use to make!

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