Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Art Space Talk: Mary Tumulty

I recently interviewed artist Mary Tumulty. Tumulty is an emerging artist working in a variety of mediums. Her work and opinions are impressive in that they take a different angle than most younger artists today (especially her pieces about abortion and smoking). I expect to see her create some great works of art in the future.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "The most important role it’s played in my adult life would actually probably be getting me out of depressing times. I find that the only way I truly feel like I’m doing something with my life is if I’m creating."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "I’m truly a minimalist and a hippie at heart. I have a free spirit and paint whatever I feel the need to. Society usually doesn’t directly interfere with my train of thought when it comes to creating, but I’m sure it has played a huge part in making me who I am. Many of my themes tend to revolve around my personal pain and anger towards the deterioration of the female image whether this comes across intentionally or not. Pornography and lust is greatly offensive to me and it comes out in many of my pieces. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist though. Feminism seems to sexist of a thing to me."

Q. On average, how long does it take you to create a piece?

A. "It can take anywhere from one night, to a few months to complete a piece. It depends on my motivation, my surroundings, my interest, etc…"

Q. Has your art ever been published?

A. "Yes. My art appears in the Kaleidoscope which was a yearly publication from Spoon River College in Canton, Illinois. In the 2004-2005 edition, many of my pieces appeared in it as well as the cover design was something I created. In the 2005-2006 edition, newly created artwork appears in the magazine, as well as some pieces appear in a design on the cover."

Q. What was your most important exhibition? Care to share that experience?

A. "My most important exhibition would probably have to be my personal show that I held the last semester I attended Spoon River College in Spring of 2006. It was a display of all of my works. I enjoyed the experience because I got to see my family and friends as well as a few other fans view all my artwork together. I’m hoping to have an exhibit sometime soon though. I’d love to show my work again and it would give me an excuse to create some more!"

Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'?

A. "I definitely like painting alone. I do not work well around others at all. In the past few years. I liked painting more in the bathrooms of the apartments that I lived at, usually because water is easily accessible and paint can be scraped up easier from linoleum floors. I am an awfully messy artist. Also when I’m painting I like to wear shoes, preferably my ‘paint shoes’ which are All Star Chucks that have so much paint on them, you can’t even tell what color they really are. I usually wear a wife beater and a pair of baggy pants. I guess that sums up my favorite painting conditions."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve sold a few pieces but usually to completely different types of people. It’d be nice to get a scene going."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?

A. "A piece that I would love to discuss is my favorite entitled "Through Teeth". I began this piece after falling in love with a prince charming, soon to find out that he was liar, a fake. It’s a perfect portrayal of a person who’s beautiful to begin with, then turns into something quite hideous. The title "Through Teeth" of course came from the saying of… lying through your teeth."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how did it help you as an artist? What can you tell us about the art department that you attended?

A. "I graduated from Spoon River College in June of 2006 with a degree in Applied Sciences in Electronic Design. Thus far, I haven’t been able to find a career in the field that suits me but I’m looking desperately! The art department that I learned so much in was kept in order by my instructors Scott and Tracy Snowman. They were wonderful teachers and I’m so thankful that I was able to grow so close to them while studying there. For future plans, I would love to go back to school. It would preferably be some kind of art school though. Maybe one day after I can raise enough money with my work, I’ll be able to go back and get more of an education."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "Oh goodness, where to begin. Of course, it depends how big the piece is and how much color I plan on using if any at all. I like oils and acrylics for painting. I’ve always loved playing with paint and seeing what I can do with it. Spray paint always has been something I love to dabble with as well. I like rich texture and color, mixed media works well for me as well as using black pastels and charcoal for drawings."

Q.Where can we see more of your art?

A. "Well, you can visit my website at http://www.marytumulty.com/ or my deviant art account http://marychaos.deviantart.com/"

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "I definitely see things colliding at alarming rates. The way fine art, music, and performance might be in the future. I also see breakthroughs coming in forms of logic and controversial issues. I wish I could be more specific, but I really don’t know how."

Q. Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

A. "A piece that I did in 2004 was enjoyed by a lot of people until they saw the title. It was completely abstract and consisted of only the color red. This was all fine until they saw the title, "Monthly" (image above). Some people need to grow up. Red paint won’t hurt anyone (unless it’s an oil paint with lead in it)."

Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock-bottom?

A. "I have not really hit rock bottom yet but I have been struggling since I got out of college. I don’t have good sense with the economy, society, or any kind of organizational skills. I feel I was meant for some other kind of life in some other kind of place, not run by politics or a social food chain. I’m always feeling like I am somewhat at rock bottom. I just have to learn to try my best and be happy with the outcomes."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "It is my interpretation of my reality, not a mimicry of my surroundings."

Q. Has politics ever entered your art?

A. "Maybe only concerning the fact that I completely loathe the entire thought of anything or everything political. Besides that, no."

Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

A. "Possibly. Nothing too direct though. I question everything in life, especially religion. I don’t have much to say though about it that won’t change in my mind a month from now."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'?

A. "It’s ever growing, like the seasons change and the earth dies and gains new growth. I think it’s a beautiful creation, a beautiful piece of art. If man destroys it, they can go to hell as anyone would deserve to destroy another soul’s creation. We need to learn to respect everything and everyone, especially nature. We need to see everything in it’s true color, shape, or form."

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Mary Tumulty. Feel free to critique or discuss her work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

I loved the interview with Mary because it really reflects who she is. I was one of the fortunate people who got to work with Mary while she was attending SRC. If anyone out there is thinking of teaching in the future I have an important piece of advice: Let artists be who they really are! I have hated instructional situations where the instructor forced me to paint like they do. That is a crime, in my opinion. Mary probably gives my husband and I more credit than we deserve. The only thing we really did was encourage her free spirit. Some students find it easier to be told what to do, but you don't grow from that experience.

I agree with you Brian - I think Mary's art is fabulous and we will continue to see great things from her. She is an inspiration!

Tracy Snowman - Spoon River College

Anonymous said...

Take it from someone who is an old hippie- Mary is truly a free spirit, and it shows in the ingenuity of her pieces. Keep up the good work, Mary!