RAMONA WORKSHOPS: PERIOD WITCHES

ARTIST FEATURE: Shannon Mary

Interview of Shannon Mary by Sophie Pellegrini

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Shannon Mary and I am an artist from Melbourne, Australia. I work with gouache, acrylic, and ink usually, or with the proCreate program on and iPad for my digital work. 

How did you get started in the visual arts?

I have been a visual artist since I could hold a pencil; it has simply always been something I’ve felt the need and want to pursue. I remember one day my father, who is a printer, came home with a wrapped parcel of paper for me to draw on and it was like Christmas! The idea of a blank piece of paper or canvas has always filled me with excitement and motivation. 

What do you love about art/being an artist?

My favourite thing about art is that there is no one definition of what it can be; the possibilities and interpretations are endless. Being an artist means encompassing that creative freedom in each aspect of what you do. I used to believe that to be an artist you needed to identify as a ‘painter’, a ‘musician’ or a ‘writer’, etc.; that you had to be one thing and excel within that label. What I have since realised and thrived on is the discovery that art has no such limits. If I decide to explore my writing or interest in music further, that is simply an extension of my art, and that is a thrilling idea. 

What is your favorite medium to work in? Why?

I actually have a number of favourite mediums to work in—my creative method is simply too erratic and emotional to narrow down to one. I think if I could discipline myself down to just two though, they would be gouache and ink. 

Tell us a bit about your work process. 

My work process involves at least 3 stages. 

Stage 1: The idea. This can involve a word, a line from a poem, or an experience that has inspired a greater reaction in my soul that usually incessantly plagues my mind until I take notice of it and realise it is something I need to explore further.

Stage 2: Vision board. My vision board and brainstorming stage takes many forms. I will make a folder on Instagram to save images that inspire or connect to my idea in some form, from images of facial expressions, landscapes, or even buildings that have a colour scheme that I feel encompasses the feeling of the idea I am aiming to express. I am also a dedicated fan of print media and still loyally purchase each issue of certain magazines (I highly recommend Lindsay Magazine and Russh), and will cut out articles and images I feel a connection to and hang them above my desk in my studio until they serve their purpose of adding whatever they need to, to my creative process. 

Stage 3: Experimentation. This is a stage with an extremely broad definition. It can take the form of sketches, collages, paint swatching, writing, and digital drawing. This is the stage where I get all of my concrete ideas down on paper in either images or words, until it morphs into something I feel could be a finished artwork. Then I move on to the final stage of creating the artwork.

Describe your aesthetic in 3 words.

My aesthetic in 3 words is classic, evocative, and bold.

How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t making art?

When I am not making art, I am curating art exhibitions, furthering my knowledge through reading (I am a massive nerd and adore an afternoon spent reading about a topic I am interested in and taking notes along the way. I recently did this with Lisa Lister’s book, Love Your Lady Landscape and am still in awe of all that I have learnt). I also enjoy walking, riding my bike, and bathing under the night sky in my backyard bath. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

My answer to this changes weekly I think, but if I could truly travel anywhere in the world, I would choose to visit the island Vis in Croatia; though this could have a lot to do with the fact that I rewatched Mamma Mia the other day and that I feel like I’ve not seen the sun in Melbourne in over a week. 

How can we keep up with your work? 

The best way to keep up with me is either through my Instagram @shannonmaryart or through my website www.shannonmaryart.com.

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Sophie Pellegrini

Sophie Pellegrini is the Co-Founder and Artistic & Creative Director of Ramona Magazine for Girls. She is a 25-year-old photographer and wilderness therapy field guide in Colorado. She loves crafting, playing acoustic guitar, 90s music, the smell of summer, making lists, a good nap, cuddly animals, and the cold side of the pillow. Follow Sophie on her website and on Instagram.

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