In celebration of all things beautiful and those people who create beautiful things, we felt it was a good time for another installment of our Artist Spotlight Series. We think we found Marianne on Instagram, but it's quite possible that she is the one that found us. A Filipino-American artist, Marianne specializes in abstract contemporary art and based in Covington, LA. She has lived all over the world and her work definitely shows her global influence. As stated on her website, "I make joy-inducing contemporary art for the color-obsessed." It's no wonder our paths crossed!
SGD: Can you briefly walk us through your story? How did you get started and how did you get to where you are today?
MAR: I was on a student visa upon finishing my second degree shortly following the recession, and after months of job hunting, I couldn't find a company that wanted to sponsor/hire me. This served as the catalyst to pursuing a long winding road as a freelancer. I started painting intentionally in 2016 and after selling my first large original on canvas, I brazenly (without having any business plan) took that money to pay for the deposit on my first art studio. I was officially in business as a full-time artist in 2017 when I just hit the ground running.
SGD: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
MAR: Hardship is inevitable when you're going against the grain and pursuing a life of creative autonomy and making that your livelihood. My parents weren't completely on board with me being an artist. They had other aspirations for me, and it took 8 years before we reunited and they saw my work and proudly accepted my career choice.
One devastating moment when I was starting out as an artist was when my car was stolen, the car itself was 5 months new and had been packed up just before a local art fair with all of my brand new equipment and supplies. All that I had invested in with my savings was instantly gone. It was a heartbreaking chapter but it added fuel to my fire.
SGD: What are you most proud of and what sets you apart from other artist?
MAR: I'm a first-generation immigrant in the US. Despite years of uncertainty and fighting for stability, I'm grateful to my parents for their sacrifices which taught me how to stubbornly fight for my dreams. I'm proud that I've built a career that I love and deeply enjoy, and I am thankful every day that I get to share my creativity with others. I moved out of that first studio space and am looking forward to opening the doors of our new gallery next month.
My nomadic upbringing has always been an unusual facet of my background, so I try to bring the global perspectives and influences that I was exposed to from an early age into my artwork.
SGD: What advice would you give to someone at the start of his or her career?
MAR: Be organized and put in those long work hours. Avoid social media as a source for your creative inspiration, explore your environment, and strive for authenticity at every turn. A high work ethic and gratitude will get you to where you need to go.
SGD: What artists do YOU admire and why?
MAR: I'm always blown away by El Anatsui's work - I love the drama in the scale of his art and the fact that he uses recycled materials as his medium.
I look to past masters and am infatuated with Klimt and Matisse - color, pattern, and composition perfected.
SGD: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
MAR: I'd either be running a Filipino food truck or operating a rescue-dog sanctuary.