If you've been following the progress on Shauna's house, you'll know that the renovation of the courtyard was a last-minute, lightning-fast process that was completed with the goal of being included in the HGTV Magazine story. Sadly, the courtyard didn't make the cut but not to worry. We have it on inside information that it will be featured in a publication near you very soon. The highlight of this amazing space, which serves as Shauna's very own private cantina, is the mural that covers 2 of the walls. And when Shauna was planning this space, we knew the perfect person to execute this colorful masterpiece, Mariell Guzman. If you live in Fort Worth, chances are you've seen Mariell's work around town. And if you haven't? Be sure to jump in your car the minute you finish reading this and GO CHECK IT OUT.
We caught up with Mariell after a recent photo shoot in her studio to give you a peek behind the curtain at this talented artist.
SGD: Can you briefly walk us through your story? How did you get started and how did you get to where you are today?
MG: As far as my creative journey, I’ve been doodling/painting ever since I can remember. I grew up always falling asleep with my journals full of drawings and continued throughout my upbringing, whether on canvas, napkins, receipts, or even doodling all over my arm in class. I never really stopped creating. It’s always been very therapeutic to me to escape in my creative process. I’m also very lucky to have grown up in a very creative family; my mom, sister and brother all paint and have their own style.
So yeah, overall being an artist has always been deeply intertwined with my identity.
I went to The University of Texas at Austin to study Studio Art and then moved back to DFW in 2018. I’ve basically been developing my art career since then and figuring out where my art belongs and the audience that responds to it. It hasn’t been an easy journey at all and it’s been a lot of trial and error, but I’ve just persevered because there’s no other way I’d rather build a life for myself other than being able to be creative everyday.
SGD: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
MG: Overworking myself because I took every opportunity that came my way. This led to very unhealthy habits, such as sleep deprivation, lacking social life, always being anxious, and overall forgetting I’m a human being at the end of the day and I need to rest and refuel my brain and body.
To be honest, I’m still gradually getting better at learning how to balance my work/personal time.
I’ve undervalued my self and my work a fair amount of times with the hopes that it would lead to something better down the road. Some of my biggest projects when I was starting out, I actually did for free solely for the exposure I would get at the events. Which is crazy to think about now, because no one should expect an artist to spend 50+ hours creating something for free. Yet, so many young or “emerging artists” accept this as the standard because we simply want our work to be seen.
SGD: What are you most proud of and what sets you apart from other artist?
MG: To be honest, I’ve been working almost non stop for the past 3 years. I’ve struggled to slow down and really reflect back on my accomplishments in my career so fast. In a way, I haven’t really even dedicated time to let them all sink in.
I truly never imagined that I would be able to be a full time artist in my mid 20’s and to have painted over 30+ murals in various states and Mexico. I’ve also had the honor to work with various big brands such as Dickies, IBM, Pepsi and more. Overall, I’m genuinely the most proud of the fact that I get to live my dream this early in my life. I’m beyond grateful to feel the pure joy of creating everyday and continue to have opportunities to add colorful experiences to people’s lives with my works of all scales.
SGD: What advice would you give to someone at the start of his or her career?
MG: General career advice
SGD: What artists do YOU admire and why?
MG: So many, I could go on another rant for this but I’ll keep it short and choose one.
Helen Frankenthaler is a big one for me. She was one of the first women artists I was introduced to from the abstract expressionism period. I admire her tenacity, experimental/playful painting process and overall bravery to make huge scale paintings and make room for herself in the art scene in that time period when the scene was male dominated.
Her story was extremely inspirational to me and motivated me to challenge myself with scale and enter the mural scene.
SGD: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
MG: If I wasn’t an artist, I would definitely be a marine biologist. I’ve been continuously fascinated by ocean life since I was young.
Where to find Mariell: