The latest artist showcase comes from Maranda Russell. If you would like a post about your work on the blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When did your interest in art/creating begin?
I’ve always had somewhat of an interest in creating art, but as a child I thought I had absolutely no artistic talent because I was often compared to my sister who was a much better artist, and my art teacher in elementary school was definitely not supportive and made me feel like I could never be a good artist. Luckily, in middle school I had an art teacher who showed me that I could improve my art skills and that I did have some talent. It was around that time I started drawing for fun and I have been more artistically inclined ever since. I do tend to go through cycles where I am inspired and make a bunch of art and then I may not make art much for a while, but I always end up coming back to it eventually.
What is your starting point for each piece?
Usually I just “feel” my way through it. I don’t necessarily have a strict process or idea in mind, although I do often have a vague idea of what kind of imagery I want to include, especially if it is a collage of some sort. Paintings tend to be more spontaneous and I have a lot of “happy accidents” that end up turning into pieces I like. I don’t have a particular end in mind for most pieces, I just keep working it until I feel it looks good.
Who/what influences your work?
My favorite classic artists are Van Gogh and Munch. I also have a deep love for outsider artists, art brut, naive art, and abstract expressionism. I get inspiration from all types of places: art magazines, scrapbooking supplies, nature, photographs, advertisements, toys, or whatever else happens to catch my creative eye.
What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?
I hope they find it visually appealing. I hope that they can sense what I was feeling or what feeling I was going after when creating any particular piece. I hope that it makes them feel like they can create art as well. No artistic snobbery or gallery hierarchy here! I just like to express myself and want others to be able to do the same.
What do you think about the term Outsider Art? Is there a term that you think works better?
I like the name personally. We are outsiders from the mainstream, intellectual royalty of the art world, and I am perfectly OK with that. I like being able to use whatever materials I wish, without worrying about whether they are “real” art supplies. I like being able to embrace the eager child in me that is creative and wants to make whatever they want, regardless of what others think about it. I do like the term naive art as well, since I feel I use a lot of child-like curiosity and imagination in my own art. Personally, I find children to be the most pure form of creativity in the world.
What are you working on at the moment?
Whatever inspires me. I don’t have any big plans right now, but I have a lot of art supplies that I like to get out and play around with until I have something I think works. I only make small artworks, from ACEO artist trading card size art (2.5″ x 3.5″) to 9″ x 12″, probably because I tend to have a short attention span and like to be able to finish any particular artwork in one sitting if possible.
Where do you see your work taking you in the future?
Hopefully I will enter and win more art contests and be featured in more art shows. I try to keep track of each country I sell art to, and so far have sold art to collectors in at least 11 countries worldwide. I have also had my art featured in shows in at least 3 countries, and have placed in several art contests for outsider artists. Since I am autistic, I participate in many art shows promoting autistic artists as well.