Mary Lee Maynard
Mediums: acrylic, oil, markers, spray paint, photography, ink, pencil, mixed media texture
Style: lining, graffiti, film noir, abstract, comic book
I am a multidisciplinary artist. I work as a set builder and designer, stage manager and production assistant in cinema, television and theatre. I started as a dancer and slowly touched many disciplines like photography, painting, drawing, sculpture only to form an aesthetic that, over time, described and showed my inspirations for fantasy and my more... deconstructive nature.
“Please tell us about your first experience creating”
The event that opened my eyes to visual arts were the nights I spent with my friends watching répertoire, rare and unknown movies. I didn't enjoy drawing as much as I enjoyed creating things, stuff, ambiances and so photography was mostly the first visual art I touched with a passion. I learned how to use my dad's Canon A1 and how to develop and print my works and that got to be an experience that I was proud of; using both my creative and manual abilities to build something visually appealing. As for visual arts, movies like Tekkonkinkreet, graphic novels by Brian Wood, Neil Gaiman actually came later on to help me combine my passion for beautiful works and the actual making of works. But I do have to admit that I got into the arts because of graffiti and street art.
“How long have you considered yourself an artist?”
I still have to convince myself from time to time (laughing). I guess it's only been 2 years... maybe! I've been around it for so long that I define myself with the jobs and contracts I do more than my passion as I'm truly all over the map and motivated my many disciplines and dislike the notion of labels like painter, multidisciplinary artist... Even though I do end up saying that, just because it becomes easier.
“What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?”
That people like me do exist. That it's not because I'm not always dressed properly and have enthusiasm that I'm immature and irresponsible. I am a mother after all! The whole aspect of that need to create and to explain your nature of thoughts, of values and patterns. I invest in my career, but I believe in syndicalist philosophies and have a hard time finding people that even understand the mixture of ''do it yourself'' and still wanting to own my own place, and have a family. We could have a whole interview on such issues... I make art not for others to have compassion ''for my kind'', but for me to constantly find ways to communicate ideas so that others, over time, understand these dialectics.
“Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.”
For a series like ''Bebulles'', I've played with texture building, layers of paintings, drips and integrations of characters within this texture. So it would mean working and re-working on paintings for years or months until I finally enjoyed the mixture of colors and textures enough to make more and more. Then I have an ongoing series! What's harder in my case is my studio is also my bedroom and living room so I can't leave much hanging around and have to put everything back in order and clean up and that usually kills or cuts my drive. I leave my paintings on the walls of the apartment so I don't forget, and think about it all the time. I used to write a lot about the social implications of art making more than worked, since 2011, this as changed and my production as grown exponentially since. I go from painting to drawing, from photography to contract, from sculpture to jewellery making in a couple of months. Many projects are hanging in my head.
“What things inspire you to create art?”
Street art, fantasy, Japanese art processes, music, movies, burlesque, theatre, ambiances, vibes, it's something that I can grasp but can't describe. I feel like a magnet. I can be really critical but still, everything inspires me. I do have criteria's though:
1- have guts
2- talk about something interesting
3- offer a solution to social or political issues
4- create a world or ambiance that is mesmerizing
5- documents the passed, cultures, traditions
6- is done in interesting spaces.
“What exhibitions have you had?”
GalerieFRINGE twice last year, along with street painting, I also made two paintings for a television series (Mémoires Vives), 2 exhibitions for my ''We Look For Heights'' photo series in Toronto, I self published an aesthetic research book, along my many other texts since 2007, also had 3 exhibitions during my years at Concordia University along with 2 in school exhibits. I'll be exhibiting some works in March at Usine 106U. And just finished building the set for La Voz Latina, a spanish community television in Montreal.
“Have you sold any of your artworks? How?”
Yes! I have! Friends, family, friends of friends, employers. It takes a lot of time, effort and trust me the worst is self confidence in bringing up that you are also an artist and that... you know... do also sell your works! It something that comes with practice.
“How do you promote your art on the internet?”
It's finding the right network, and the right amount of promotion and posts not to be annoying. But mostly hours and hours of keep up and network seeking, documenting properly and so on.
“Tell us about influences, if any.”
Wow.. hum... Influences are vague to me and numerous. If something makes me want to create, than it influences me. ''Everything is a copy of something'' is the title of a text I wrote a couple of years back in which I describe how anything can influence your works even if the aesthetic or methods are completely different. The simple fact of using a beautiful color on a wall will influence my desire of using that color somewhere soon. See what I mean?
“Please recommend another artist you admire, and tell us a little about them.”
Rémy Couture beautifully rendered special effects makeup and is battles. Riusuke Fukahori because the idea of creating sculptures using layers of resin and paint to create simply breath taking sculptures baffles me. Matthew Barney because of his more than original visual expressions and amazing photographic documentations. Dalì for his ridiculously punk attitude, even though he was still pretty rich... Brian Wood for nailing EVERY single one of his books (writing and visual)! The list goes on.
“Tell us something interesting in your life”
Damn! I guess it sucks to say but I feel like it's a miracle I even ended up being an artist and actually doing what I enjoy doing. I've worked hard but had many obstacles in my way.
Very few people in my family actually made it through more than High School. There was always this idea that I was a snob for studying --art can you imagine?-- and that I was messing up my life for hanging out in punk shows, and singing in bands, getting tattooed, pierced, challenging authority and contradicting the father figure. They use to think and I think are starting or at least should grow out of it, but that I'd leave these crazy beliefs behind with my teenage years and finally grow up. But these beliefs are part of me and always will be, nothing will change that, it is who I am. But in a way it's a heavy baggage to carry with you. So, yeah.. being here, creating and making things out of nothing is a blessing if such a thing exists. A Blessing that comes with a price, but really worth it.
“What is the most annoying thing someone has said to you about your art?”
Nothing. Having nothing to say is what bothers me. But then again the ''interesting'' and nothing more, not ''it's interesting to see what you've used here'', but really JUST ''interesting'' is the word you use when you have nothing to say and think that something should at least come out of your mouth. But you know, art is subjective.
“Do you have any regrets in your life as an artist?”
No, having done more and faster. Sometimes I feel like having gone to school kept me from making a lot. But I like to think that it at least gave me a critical base to stand on when articulating.
“What plans do you have for the future of your art?”
Making! Constructing and finishing all these lingering projects! I wish to exhibit more, get my name out there a lot more, the rest will follow.
“Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?”
Just do it!
Mary Lee Maynard - When Buddhism Meets Hardcore
Website: Mary Lee Maynard
Facebook page: Creeping Beauties