BRITNI MARA’S ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM

 

INTERVIEW


 

 
 

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J: Britni, I’ve known you for most of my college career at Bradley, but let’s give the rest of the world a little preface.

B: Ha! Ok, well I have always been interested in the creative world; arts and crafts as a child, painting and drawing in high school were the classes I looked forward to most. I also really valued the intellectual side of life. I took interest in philosophy in college. When I realized I could mesh the those two worlds together, is when I really found my niche.

 

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J: What are some of your greatest inspirations?

B: Pinpointing inspiration is difficult.  I can tell you, my cultural perspectives and opinions are the basis for most of my work. My most recent series Suitable for Sensitive Skinwhich is still in the very beginning stages, stems from a personal strife I have with the cosmetic industry. Before I left for my post-baccalaureate study in Italy, I wore little to no make-up on a daily basis. I did still feel pressured to wear it on occasion; certainly for any social activity. After spending some time in Tuscany, I realized it was widely accepted for women to go without any make-up at all. There, society was so much more cultivating of a woman’s natural beauty. I have a huge issue with the way cosmetic marketing and advertisement companies purposefully cut-down the self-esteem of women to effectively sell their products.

From this personal view, stems a continued series of work; a series I believe I will be working on for many years to come. It’s important for me to identify how I feel, why I feel it, and then make work about it.

 

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J: Describe the process you use to create your work.

B: I try to make writing a daily activity since so often my visual work stems from my cultural perspectives. I write on napkins, receipts, or anything I can find to jot down an idea. These ideas are never finished either, they are just the beginning ingredients to the overall project. It’s like baking a cake. If I see salt one day, and I know I need salt…I stuff it in my purse for later. No one wants to eat just salt, I need other ingredients to make something really tasty. Sometimes the cultivation process takes a while. I try to always be creating something, not necessarily something new. However, I find I’m much happier when I’m creating work.

 

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J: What has been your greatest success so far?

B: I’m not sure I feel comfortable claiming a “greatest success” moment for my career thus far. I will tell you a few of my proudest moments though. I think the first was when I found I had been accepted into the Prairie Center of the Arts Artist-in-Resident program. I was still finishing my undergraduate degree and I was blessed with a six month long residency in a wonderful program, that’s virtually unheard of. Another fist pump moment; leaving for the Post-Baccalaureate Program at the Siena Art Institute. I met some amazing artists through their Artist-in-Resident program including, Maximo Gonzales, Maelee Lee, Diana Al-Hadid and Mequitta Ahuja. So much of my life changed from those two experiences.

 

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J: Do you have a favorite medium?  

B: I have an intimate and romantic relationship with paint. He is my first love. However, I cheat on him occasionally with materials like make-up, nail polish, photography, ceramics….and a slue of other materials. Cosmetic products have been the most interesting to me, repurposing them for creating art instead of “beautifying” a woman’s face…..is tantalizing.

J: Why do you love what you do?

B:  I thoroughly enjoy creating things with my hands. I love being in the studio, wrestling with the medium to create a interesting piece. It’s the need, the thrill, the action, and the pride I feel when a piece is completed. It’s all exciting.

 

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J: Biggest lesson learned so far. Go.

B: Ummmmm. Still emerging….But, the learning process, for anyone is never ending. I believe that is especially true for an artist. Throughout the early stages of my journey, I’ve learned a heck of lot. I’ve learned any successful artist (in the beginning) acts as a marketing manager, public relations coordinator, personal secretary, financial planner, blog writer, intern, and a thousand other things. MULTITASKING. IS. KEY. I’ve also learned to have thick skin. There are a lot of opportunities out there, and there is a lot of disappoint with one or two occasional rewards. Move forward, believe in yourself, make work that is true to you, and you will feel satisfaction with or without the validation of the public. Public validation is cool though, I wont stop you!

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Menswear Editor + GQ Insider.

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