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Meet Artist, Marina Rossi

To be honest, it’s unclear to me when I first met artist, Marina Rossi. However, somewhere along that nebulous interim called freshman year, I do recall catching a glance from the brown-eyed girl across the bar, (the name of which would be too embarrassing to reveal) and having the sudden realization that she was the new roommate of my old roommate.

In the interest of sensitivity, I will simply disclose that the old roommate and I left on sort-of (ahem) uncertain terms. Suffice it to say, I grew quickly tired of another person vacuuming under me while I ate. 

 However, now that I was liquored-up and in the midst of the new roommate, I was disposed to follow up on the status of her current living arrangement, and judging by the glimmer of familiarity in her eyes, it seemed she was too.

It’s now 4-ish years later since our first interaction, when we drunkenly commiserated over the challenges of living with the old roommate. Since then, I’d like to think that we have each made some strides in both the rooming department, as well as the life department, in general. As to the latter, Marina has been especially active. One finger-scroll down her Instagram profile (@marinarossiart) will confirm this for you. Most recently, I caught up with the Charleston native to discuss her work as she nears graduation day. Here’s what she had to say: 

First of all: Hi! How’s it hanging, boo?

All is well friend.

Glad to hear it. Can we talk about your art for a little while? What’s been catching  your eye lately?

I’ve been really drawn to these line-drawings lately where people cover walls, like entire rooms, in these patterns of repeated lines. It’s kinda psychedelic-looking but at the same time, similar to the natural lines of nature, as in tree rings or fingerprints. They even kind of look like the layers of an onion and that idea of humans as layered is definitely something that shows up in my work.  

What are your favorite pieces right now?

It’s untitled but the piece is basically a paper sculpture I dyed and then sculpted with an X-Acto knife. Also lots of lines involved in this one.

Can you describe your creative process a bit?

It’s very spontaneous. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it. I enjoy creating spontaneously, as in stream of consciousness. The visual inspiration always comes first and the concept somehow follows naturally.

In terms of a routine, I create in a lot of different spaces but I’m pretty much always at the art building. I usually put on some sort of deep house track. Zero interruption always makes for a productive session as well.

On your best, most productive day, are there certain factors that you find contribute to that mental groove?

It helps to start off in a good mood of course, but for me, everything is really just coincidental. When something really clicks it’s random; totally unanticipated. 

How has your art evolved over the last four years since moving to Florida?

Well in retrospect, I don’t think I even had an artistic style when I first came here. I didn’t know anything about art; I had never taken an art class. At first, I was super into learning the skills and processes but over time I just kinda chucked the whole rule book. Compositionally, it was important for me to learn the basics but once I did I was just so ready to make my own art. In terms of style: I have a lot of natural elements, there’s usually a pop of color, and it’s very dense. I think people recognize that my art is responsive; that it’s thoughtful and naturally-occurring.  Again, that stream of consciousness concept.

With all the upcoming “Pomp and Circumstance”, do you have any ideas about the direction you’re headed, artistically?

I want to start doing murals and larger-scale installations. Basically just doing whatever moves me without having to think about what it means-I think that’s a bunch of crap. I want to be able to express myself without having to answer the question you’re constantly required to answer in art school, which is some form or another of ‘what is your art challenging?’ or ‘what is this in response to?’ I just need a break from that. It’s all so restrictive.

What artists have been inspiring you lately?

Russell Maycumber is a really great woodworking artist. I like that he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  Shepard Fairey has been an inspiration for screen-printing.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received so far in terms of artistic success?

We had a critique with this really cool visiting artist, Olivia Block, and I had the opportunity to describe my concerns about the content of my work. After I finished, she just goes: “My answer to that is EHHNT.” (Like a wrong answer sound).

Good fashion sense is something you’ve clearly got going for you as well. Do you perceive any sort of relationship between your art and your style choices?

Not directly. I do find a lot of paint on my clothes though.

Speaking of personal style, can you touch on that for us?

I’d say it’s on the neutral side but it’ll also get weird sometimes. Y’know, see what I can pull off. I’m definitely aware of trends but I don’t necessarily follow them. If I feel too on-trend I take it off, right then and there.

*looks down at outfit*

This is not a very styled-up night.

As to your shopping cart… whatchya got in there, kid?

I’m loving delicate tops that tie in the front and shaped hoop earrings!

You can stay up to date on Marina's work and all her upcoming showings via her art Instagram (@marinarossiart) or in person at the Crisp-Ellert Museum and at The Gallery Group.