Life in pixels with artist Mary Shackman
We met Mary Shackman at her colourful house which reflects her unique style and outstanding creativity. Mary had an extraordinary career as a textile designer with clients such as Carla Zampatti, Sportsgirl and Nicola Finetti. In 1990 she decided to dedicate her time to painting. She has since received many awards, exhibited in various galleries and was a finalist in the Gallipoli Prize, the Waverley Art Prize and the Blake Art Prize. We caught up with Mary for a small chat about her creative life and relationship with digital media.
TDA: When looking at your work, one can’t ignore the similarity between your style and computer pixels. It is as if you are trying to hand craft “computer-like” artwork. Could you tell us how this style developed?
Mary: The “pixelated” style started when my daughter showed me how to pixelate an image on the computer – coming from a design background it all connected. The process starts by drawing a grid on the canvas & filling it with with lots of small lines.
“You see, aside from researching for reference, I don’t really use the computer. I guess technology is something I am ignoring due to my age – I am not embracing it. I kind of wish I could use the computer but at the same time I am happy I don’t because this way I keep creating my work manually”.
TDA: What inspires you?
Mary: Movies, life and experiences. I also find inspiration online – “It is just amazing: you can find information about everything.”
TDA: Could you share your creative process with us?
Mary: I start with visual research online. Then I look at the printed images – exploring the colors and doing basic drawings in black and white. Next stage is adding colors and painting it until it looks/feels right. I also take photos with my camera and use these images as a starting point.
If you wish to see more of Mary’s beautiful artwork you can check out her website or visit Charles Hewitt gallery in Marrickville. We want to thank Mary for opening up her house and studio to us and to Jonathan Rich for taking these wonderful images.