• Tell us in few words about you. I am from the Philadelphia area where I still live and work today. Despite the fact that I wear mostly black and have for many years, I love color. For me, color equals life. Art is a way to explore life. Line has always fascinated me too. From a very early age I can recall drawing a line on a piece of paper and then cutting it and watching it disappear. That intrigued me! I love lines and what they represent especially in terms of sound. The sound of the bow striking the strings of a violin have a moving effect on me. Drawing fine lines has a musical and moving effect on me.
Basically a quiet person, I enjoy being with people but most of the daytime hours I prefer solitude and find it necessary in order to create anything. I have no agenda as an artist. I take what comes through me to put on canvas, paper or wood. My emotions and what is going on in the world around me feed me and are translated into a visual form of some kind. It all happens in the moment I begin to work.
• What are your work process and techniques? Often I will begin by putting random marks or lines down, usually in black using a ballpoint pen, pastel or conte crayon. I might then grab a brush and squeeze out some acrylic, blending over the lines or around them or both. A lot of times I will draw with colored chalk pastels and move the color around with a wet brush or hair spray and then add some white acrylic over it. I like to play with effects. I like to use my fingers to apply materials and have begun wearing latex gloves in recent months.
If I am feeling energetic I will work in large format on rolled canvas tacked to the wall. Often it is satisfying to do something smaller on paper that gives a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. I tend not to labor over an individual piece. I work quickly, enjoying the physical motion of it, and will apply layers of paint and pastels until the piece feels complete and has nothing more to offer me. It is very much an interaction and communication with what is in front of me.
• What inspires and provokes imagination in you? All things foreign and exotic inspire me. One of my favorite things to do is to sit and look through foreign interiors’ magazines and books. Even though I paint abstractly, I am more inspired by looking at portraits that use color and line in an unique way. A couple of my favorite portrait artists are Elizabeth Peyton and Alice Neel. Beautifully filmed movies set in foreign places especially in a countryside, also inspire me. And of course all kinds of music. Also, sometimes I burn sandalwood incense while I work or light a candle.
• Does your work reflect your person? I think it must. I put all of myself into the work.
Mary Ann Wakeley is a self-taught, American mixed media artist/painter working full time since 2001. Her work is an inner adventure - with each painting she leaves this physical world and explore “places” that are based on feelings. “Each painting is a conversation with my true self. It is a meditation; a place of honest communication. The painting is the physical expression of the experience.” Her sources of inspiration? “Harmony, nature, music, beautiful things. I am constantly working on myself, to see the best in everything around me and focus on the peace that exists inside. It is the only solution if we are ever going to experience peace in the world. Art has the power to do this.” (interview with artist by ARTchipel Aug-2011)
“My work is an expression of an affinity with color and line. I use them to depict a rich inner landscape, one that is colored by a feeling that occurs during the creative process. Within this landscape are stories that take place at any point in time–snapshots of moments new and perhaps relived, relationships that play out where the actors are represented by any number of marks. Sometimes the marks come together as figurative forms that intrigue me much the way someone I do not recognize appears in a dream. I view them as aspects of myself playing out in the drama of each piece. It is a form of self-communication as well as a channel for what needs to come through.
Each work is created intuitively without a preconceived idea. Often I have the sense of painting time itself and what is suspended in it. But this is just an idea after the fact, not something that I set out to depict intentionally. Titles allow me to play with words and language so as to add another dimension to the work.
I hope that my work elicits a thought provoking yet emotional response in the viewer, something that speaks of our connectedness which is so easy to forget in today’s world.”