Sunday, June 21, 2015


I was so fortunate to have recently discovered Mary's work through Stephanie Walker, the passionate and extremely talented owner of Walker Contemporary and art expert and who I'm so thrilled to say we will both be collaborating with in showing our work through her new gallery in Waitsfield, VT.

Mary's work immediately stunned me with its incredibly detailed and intricate that designs that are so fully of complexity they draw you in with their beauty. Her work is inspired by flora, fauna and the "unpredictable and wild side of nature."

"I am interested in a beauty that is blatantly sensuous, unapologetically pretty, boldly decorative, and aggressively feminine. These pieces embody the spirit of a gaudy chandelier dripping with crystals and lights, a blinding, ridiculous beauty that attracts and repels." - Mary O'Malley

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an artist! I was very shy as a child, and making art was the way I communicated with the world (I suppose it still is now!) 

The unexpected art supply you can’t live without…
When I was in grad school, I had a professor who encouraged me to draw more (I was a painter) and to draw with materials I didn’t like or didn’t normally use, to jolt me out of my comfort zone. I started playing around with anything I could find to draw with, and one of these unlikely tools was a gel pen. It completely changed my work and my practice. I never thought I would make work with what is essentially a craft tool, especially because I was a traditionally trained oil painter, but it was just what I needed to make everything click, and I haven’t made a piece without them since.

Favorite contemporary artist/s
So many artists’ work inspires me, and what resonates with me is always changing! Lately I’ve been especially drawn to the work of German-based illustrator Olaf Hajek, Betsy Walton, Anne Siems, and Darren Waterston. Old favorites include Kiki Smith, Terry Winters, and Louise Bourgeois.

How do you feed your head? (What inspires you?)
Anything and everything: nature, pattern and surface design, color, botanical illustration, interior design, architecture, etc. I keep photo albums stuffed with images from magazines, pulled from the internet, my own photos, etc., that I use as reference and inspiration.

What's inspiring you at the moment? 
Right now, I’m looking at a lot of pattern and surface design; pattern has always been part of my work, and next I’ll be focusing on creating my own patterns for fabric, wallpaper, etc. 

Fear in art, how do you fight it?
The only way to fight is to keep pushing through; it may always be there in one form or another, but you can’t let it stop you. I think it’s important to have a regular practice to keep yourself ‘in shape’ so to speak to ward off the fear, and also if you have a bad day in the studio, you are less likely to be discouraged if you know you’ll be back at it the next day. 

My uniform... 
Always something black; and I don’t feel fully dressed without some kind of jewelry on.

What you wish you had known when you were just starting out:
I wish I had known that there is no one way to do things, that right and wrong don’t exist in art, and to be less afraid of my own voice. But I suppose it’s all part of the journey that gets you to where you are and makes things interesting…

On the nightstand... (What are you reading?)
Currently, ‘The Golden Age of Flowers’ by Celia Fisher and a book about Maria Sibylla Merian, an inspiring botanical illustrator and woman. I’m a coffee-table book addict.

What’s next? Project you are currently working on…
Right now, I’m working on some new ideas for pattern-based works on paper, pattern designs, and also a very exciting commission project that I need to keep secret for the moment! When it’s complete I will be posting about it and sharing photos on my blog so stay tuned:

Saturday, June 13, 2015



Ready for a beautiful dose of whimsy, fantasy and pure childhood-like joy that you'll feel as you gaze at the stunning work of artist Jennifer Davis? I want to dive right into her work and stay and play. I can't get enough of her use of color, pattern and delightful imagination. 

"Endlessly inventive and gently strange, her characters are simultaneously unsettling and endlessly appealing. With tiny eyes and zipper mouths, they bumble haplessly about, falling into dreamy reveries or tumbling into ponds. Davis' endlessly fertile imagination is well served by her linear style and pale palette."- Minneapolis Star Tribune

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I took my first art class during college and fell in love with making things. I was already 4 years in but I changed my major and stayed in school for two more years to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I didn’t have any interest in art up to that point so it was a lucky discovery!

The unexpected art supply you can’t live without…Sequin Mesh! 
I use it as a stencil to make the tiny honeycomb like pattern in my paintings.

Favorite contemporary artist/s
So many it is hard to make a list. Lately I’ve been very into Olaf Hajek, Jennifer Sanchez, Marco Wagner…

How do you feed your head? (What inspires you?)I like horror films, vintage toys, vintage carousel animals, bikes rides, cats and stuff.

What's inspiring you at the moment? I found some 24” diameter pine discs that were a leftover from someone’s special order at the hardware store. I have no idea what they are meant for but they are great for making round paintings. I bought a couple and had so much fun painting on them…I splurged and returned to buy all of them. 

Fear in art, how do you fight it?There is no fear associated with art for me. Painting is one of the greatest joys of my life. 

My uniform... is so scary. I get paint on everything so I wear really ugly, embarrassing, gross “paint clothes” every day in my studio. Luckily I work at home so only my partner (and occasionally the mail carrier) is subjected to my layered insane clown outfits.

What you wish you had known when you were just starting out:I wish my art school education had included some of the more practical skills that I use everyday. Money management, tax prep, accounting, grant writing, etc. I’ve had to claw my way along and make a lot of mistakes to learn those basic skills in order to actually make a living from my art.

On the nightstand... (What are you reading?)I just finished “All the Things I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng (Two thumbs up!) and I’m about to start “The Deadlands” by Benjamin Percy.

What’s next? Project you are currently working on…I’m about to make 8 little paintings for the 18th installment of the Enormous Tiny Art Show at Nahcotta in Portsmouth, NH.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


One of my favorite things about doing this blog is not only discovering some amazing artists, but getting to know them through the process. It has become such an unexpected gem and I can't tell you how excited I am to share their stories and insights. Hopefully you will find them as inspiring as I do! This week's featured artist is Very Marta. I was immediately captivated by her dreamy, watercolors and her incredible use of color. And it has become such a pleasure getting to know her! It's interesting through our email conversations, she told me about her amazing journey to becoming an artist and moving to the U.S. despite the odds. Her story is so inspiring to anyone afraid to take that leap. I just had to include it in her interview...

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but I always wanted to be an artist. Actually I really thought I’d be a writer. You won’t hear any crazy poetic eloquence in my English, but I grew up with a family working with linguistics and literature so I read and wrote stories all day long. I got to amazing schools thanks to winning some literary scholarships and almost met Bjork in Paris after being chosen a runner upper in an international writing competition. Almost...

After some time in USA I started feeling like an island — my Polish was useless and my English felt ok but not perfect at all. 

Because I painted all my life (my mom always says she was lucky because all I needed was a set of watercolors) and I grew up with an amateur painter (father) after coming to USA I specifically made a commitment to communicate visually.

I think it came from a point of sadness about loosing that special gift of eloquence which I wasn’t able to use in English. If I think about it now I almost feel that I came back to painting out of upset.  

What was your path to becoming an artist like? How did you make that leap?

I came to Atlanta GA for an internship during my 4rd year of University and I explored. I was shocked; by people, possibilities, colors, smiles, things, museums, that you could rent any number of books from the library, young people+cars, freedom, openness, again — possibilities. Poland is gorgeous but it's a hard country to live, be an artist... 

I sold my first original sitting on the pavement in Atlanta and I knew I could make it happen here. But I had to go back and to finish my Masters. After that it's pretty much impossible to fly back to America. USA has very strict rules for Poland; once you're out of collage you can forget about getting any visa if you don't have any family here, lots of money in Poland (to prove you're going to come back). 

So, I faked it. 

I borrowed bunch of money from everyone I knew, I got all documents from my deadened job (proving how awesome and needed I am in there), basically faked my stable roots. When the immigration officer looked into my eyes he knew.. he knew.. I was the last person to enter the room. He knew I have plans bigger than to see New York and travel for 6 months. How a young Polish girl could afford to just travel in America..?
He looked at me and he said : you better make it worth was a miracle...miracle. He was a miracle worker.

The unexpected art supply you can’t live without…

Light. Crazy, right? I fight the darkness all the time. Searching for the brightest light bulbs is my addiction. *husband rolls his eyes…* My next studio (after we move) is going to be mostly glass

Dream dinner party... (4-5 guests, living or dead…)

Women women women only :
Georgia O’Keefe (because I cried after seeing her original painting in Atlanta)
Ewa Kuryluk (for her mysticism)
Madonna (for fun and swearing)
Bjork (as a visionary)
Vera Farmiga (I’d give her few poems to read — that voice..)
Some good medium (I’m a hunted stories junkie for sure)

Favorite contemporary artist/s

I love your work! I hope to own one of your originals soon
Karina Bania — she’s my latest discovery and has an amazing instagram feed @karinabania
Dani Schafer
Christina Baker
HyunRyoung Kim
Elise Morris
Alison Cooley
Heather Day
Meredith Pardue

How do you feed your head? (What inspires you?)

Work inspires me. I’m usually embarrassed to talk about my interests outside of work because there is not much. My work is everything to me. 

What's inspiring you at the moment? 

Actually my morning routine. I get up and work out HIIT for 15-20 minutes to sweat off the dreams, drink 20oz of water, set my podcasts, boil an egg, boil water for the best organic coffee, brew coffee, eat an egg with onion, cucumber and salt, feed my chipmunks, light 2 incenses, drink coffee while scrolling thorough instagram and I’m all set to go. I like to bike heavily for 45 min at least every other day and I read a lot. I think moving my body and words inspire me the most — written ones or spoken ones (interviews etc). 

Fear in art, how do you fight it?

I look back and I see my progress; in art, in a final piece but also in my self-confidence and where I am. To keep going is to leap. And I leap every day.
Also, daily commitments are important to me. If I have to show up I can’t care about fear. But the trust in myself is the most important; I’ve been working on/with it for a while and every time I doubt I look back and see that young girl leaving everything behind to hop on a plane across the ocean with 600 bucks and I know I’m ok. I’m ok. I’m so ok.

My uniform... 

Leggings, tshirt, bare feet in the studio
Distressed pants, leather jacket and heals outside of the studio.

What you wish you had known when you were just starting out:

I don’t think I had any epiphanies nor that I can pinpoint a special teachings.
In my case the journey is the teacher and without the time spent, and lost, and gained I wouldn’t be here. 

On the nightstand... (What are you reading?)

I only have Polish books on my nightstand because my mom yells at me for forgetting Polish words :) These have nothing to do with art and aren’t translated into English so I spare you. Oh, actually there is one English book/notbook and it’s a fun one : “The Oracle Book”. I like to open it randomly and see what is has to tell me. 

What’s next? Project you are currently working on…

I paint a lot and — as you — I’m looking forward to working with few galleries this year. I’ve partnered with few art publishers and I’m preparing 2 collections for Australia and New Zealand market right now.
I’m also a commercial illustrator and I’m juggling few things at once.
I’ve just wrapped up a huge project where I painted 100 botanicals and hand lettered same amount and I know 40 more is coming my way. I have 2 perfume brands I’m working with right now and I’m finishing a set of paintings for One King’s Lane.
Additionally I always wanted to have a set of stationary so it’s an ongoing project — I hope to land few stores this year. And there are my painted/printed scarves, pillows, table runners, kitchen towels laying around and not finished. Oh, and bags…
You know, a crazy mess that is oh-so-lovely.