Mardi de Veuve Alexis is an abstract painter born and raised in the San Francisco, California Bay Area. After moving to the east coast in the 1980s to pursue a career in politics and diplomacy, she studied art and design at the Torpedo Factory Art Centre in Alexandria, VA; George Washington University and at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. Upon returning to California, she studied art and design at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), School of Architecture and Interior Design, while working out of her studio In Venice Beach. Mardi, who defines her art as abstract expressionism, has been painting professionally for eighteen years, experimenting with combinations of various media and textural effects, mixing charcoal, ink, pastel, acrylics, cold wax and collage. Her paintings are inspired by urbanism, street art, and environmental themes, often incorporating contemporary forms of communication like graffiti, in a multicultural urban environment, Collage, mixed media, line, pattern and textural effects characterize Mardi’s current body of work on canvas, panel and paper. She exhibits her work frequently both in juried group and solo exhibitions and has sold her paintings to collectors throughout the country and abroad. Mardi has taught collage and mixed media workshops in Fontana, Culver City, and Los Angeles and most recently at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Desert.
Currently, Mardi is a member of Women Painters West, Los Angeles Art Association, the Artist Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum, and a member of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. She frequently exhibits her work at Gloria Delson Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Gallery 62 in Joshua Tree and on El Paseo in Palm Desert.
What made you want to become a painter?
Mardi: I was always interested in drawing and painting -from the time I was a small child. My mother was an artist, so of course, I was inﬂuenced by her. As an adult, I did not actually start out in a painting career, as I did not feel I could earn a living that way.
Can you remember an instance when you ﬁrst knew you were a creative person? What were you doing?
Mardi: Well, that’s a good question. I think I have always thought creatively and I think I operate that way in making all decisions in life, whether art-related or not. I love beauty and design and I just see these as important elements in all aspects of life.
How does your creativity manifest?
Mardi: Through my paintings of course, but also in my lifestyle overall, which includes how I decorate my home, my garden, how I cook and present food, the clothes I choose to wear, my personal presentation, etc. (Everything)
What challenges have you faced in your creative work?
Mardi: Lack of time and ﬁnancial resources, especially in my early years of practice, often challenged my work as a painter. Self-judgment or comparing my work to another’s can be an impediment to creating as well. There is always the challenge to meet the demands and expectations of a collector, especially for commissioned pieces.
Would life be different if you didn’t act on your creativity? How?
Mardi: Yes. It would be. I have to create art. This is my raison d’etre. This is who I am. I think I would very unhappy if I could not.
Can you describe your process of receiving the inspiration for your artwork? Do you receive during the act of creating, prior to creating or in dreams, etc?
Mardi: My art is inspired by the world around me as I see it, from my environmental surroundings to people and universal cultural expression, to politics and issues surrounding racial and gender inequality. I paint intuitively so information comes through me in the process of creating from current events, colors, and images, dreams and memories.
What do you think makes one person an artist and another, not? Do you think our society supports artists, and should it?
Mardi: I think one is either born to be an artist, or not. I think genetics plays a role and one usually knows if they have the need to create art. Children seem to have a creative urge when very young, which can manifest as an art form (whether painting, sculpting, music, writing dancing, acting, design) or directed in another area completely, like science, which can also be a creative endeavor. I think our society is very dependent on art and artists but as a whole may not understand how art affects virtually every aspect of life. So, I think society could be and should be much more supportive of artists.
Does bad news in the outside world ever affect your creative process or output?
Mardi: Absolutely it does. There is certain hopelessness that one feels during these times and what the whole world is going through. There is a lethargy that sets in and a sense of sadness. There is a darkness that manifests in some of my work. My palette is affected by using darker muted or muddied tones. I am aware of this and I try to work through it.
What are you working on currently?
Mardi: I’ve been focused on a new series of abstracts using cold was and oil with mixed media, including my signature collage elements. My current challenge is to create a painting as a part of a creative endeavor with a group of local artists called “Birds of a Feather Flock Together.” The palette will be predominately shades of turquoise and orange. I will incorporate my abstracts techniques using mixed media, collage and mark making.
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