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Artist Marie-Jose

Marie-Jose is a contemporary visual artist based in Los Angeles, California. Born in San Francisco in 1992, Marie has been exploring the multiplicity of the Black femme experience through painting, collage, and mixed media including stained glass, tile mosaic, and textile arts over the last decade. They employ surrealism as a tool for re-imagining the past and inspiring a previously indiscernible future and cite Rene Magritte, Dorothea Tanning and Kerry James Marshall, as well as their own Nigerian heritage as influences. Concepts for the work originate from an exploration of self combined with uncanny allegorical imagery. Defining their style as ‘Afro-Surrealistic’, Marie’s work reexamines the pre-conceived barriers of Black liberation. Marie-Jose has participated in numerous group exhibitions, art markets, and festivals nationwide. Their paintings were featured in the Affordable Art Fair in New York and Aqua Art Miami in Miami Beach in 2022. They have also shown their work at Brea Gallery in Brea, CA, and the Museum of Science + Industry in Chicago. In 2022, Marie-Jose was an Artist in Residence participant in Albuquerque, NM, and Fukuoka, Japan. They were a Destination Crenshaw Round 5 Mini Mural Awardee in 2023 and had their art featured in Skew Magazine and World of Interiors. They made their international debut with a two-person exhibition with Studio Kura in Itoshima, Japan in July 2022.

"Through the exploration of my multidisciplinary art practice, I continue to present visual imagery of insecurities, contentment, joy, & grief as a first generation American that references memory, placemaking, and the spectrum of the Black femme experience. My Nigerian heritage and historical research inspires me to create allegorical imagery to blur the boundaries between reality and transcendent symbolism in order to explore the intersection of diasporic identities & its ability to help re-imagine the future through an Afro-Surrealist lens. Often featuring Black figures as principal subjects in conjunction with cloudscapes & other natural elements as recurrent motifs, the resulting compositions are dynamic and fantasy-adjacent, summoning relatable memory and emotion in the collective consciousness of the diaspora."

Tell us a little about yourself (where you are from) and your background in the arts.

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area but have been living in Los Angeles since 2017; I am mostly self taught - I took some art classes in high school and college but graduated with an interior design degree.

I've been painting most of my life but started taking it more seriously in 2016, and I've been painting and exhibiting ever since! Most recently I have expanded into mosaics and stained glass, and I am working to incorporate that more holistically into my practice.

What kind of work are you currently making?

Right now I am working on a series (of paintings) surrounding familial memory & relationship to the physical home. I am also doing research on some heritage-based iconography that I want to recreate in stained glass medium.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

Normally I start a studio day by cleaning up from the previous studio day. I really like starting the day tidying up and then when I am at a good stopping point I can just turn the lights off and go home. So I come in, clean my brushes, sweep, set up a new canvas or re-organize my glass or paints.

Most days I shuffle between a few paintings in progress - one in a drawing stage, and another one or two in different painting stages. Normally I prioritize one or two portions of a painting I want to get done in a day and focus on that until I feel I have reached a good stopping point. I normally do my ideating and conceptual sketches outside of the studio, so when I go in there I have pretty thought out compositions and a firm idea of what I want to accomplish.

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

One of my favorite types of art outside of what I make are movies. Specifically movie analysis and description of production have been incredibly inspiring. I have been looking at a lot of video essays about different movies on Youtube, and I listen to several movie critique podcasts.

I am also reading up on kinetic sculpture in West African history for future stained glass projects. For fun, I am currently reading a horror fiction novel called "My Sister, The Serial Killer" by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Where can we find more of your work? (ex. website/insta/gallery/upcoming shows)


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