Mary Mari opens up about her passion for art and how LYDA Collective supports her in living her dreams always!

Jena: What about LYDA do you feel connected to the most?

Mary: I like how LYDA’s denim is meant for real active working women. Women who aren’t afraid of getting down and dirty. For example, installing electrical features, plumbing and working on creative endeavors. The way these pants can tackle paint is amazing for when I’m working on my art.

Mary: My favorite thing about these jeans is the knee patches and the pockets. The pockets go to almost half way down my thigh, which is incredible, but you can’t even tell. They still look really fitted. They’re not bulky. I think of it as Vans meets Carhartt’s, which is exactly what I want in a work pant and in a proper pair of denim pants.

Mary: I have to get on my knees a lot to paint and get into different positions to get my work just right. I often kneel in paint and in my other pairs of pants it just bleeds through and ends up getting absorbed in my skin, which is questionable. I mean it’s part of being a painter, but the beauty of these pants is that they’re heavily reinforced  in the knee. And these will absorb all paint. They’re a really thick fabric and a really well thought out design.

Mary: They’re realistic, but they look fabulous. They hug my hips. I feel hot in these jeans, but ready to tackle work so they’re kind of the best of both worlds. You can go to the skate park in them, you can bend over comfortably in them, haha, which is really rad, you can kneel in them and you can sit cross legged. You know, but maybe I want to go in the club in these as well, put a crop top on and some lipstick and hit up the bar. I don’t need a purse with these. I can put my wallet, my cell phone, whatever I want in these deep pockets. There’s one that zips up in the back here, which is super rad, so I can do whatever I need to do in a day in these pants. They’re meant for any activity.

Jena: LYDA stands for Live Your Dreams Always. And that’s what you do. You’re an artist. You’re doing it, pursuing your passions.

Mary: I’m pursuing my dreams. I always am pursuing them. Your jeans I think really fit the mold.

Jena: And in regards to your dream of being an Artist, how long have you wanted to do what you’re doing now? Since you were a kid? What got you into it?

Mary: Since I can remember, since I was three for sure I was doing weird stuff. Marking my parents furniture haha. It was about knowing I could get away with it. And I think looking back on it now I always wanted to be an artist. I knew there was an edge to something I wanted to say and I’m still going after exactly what I want to say, but it’s in there. I want to be heard. Or not even necessarily that I want to be heard, I mean obviously I want to be a career artist, but I make my art at the end of the day for good conversation and that’s the design of it really. If people end up looking at my art and having a good conversation over it. Or it takes them away from their everyday for a moment, then that’s exactly what it’s meant for.

Jena: And you obviously had to work hard to get here. What kind of schooling did you take and what’s your background?

Mary: I’ve got an honors BA of Studio Specialization Paint from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Loved my undergrad. It was such an amazing time. Loved my prof’s. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for all of them. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my parents. They 100% supported this career path, which at times they really questioned for sure, but always supported it and really trusted that I was going to maintain it and continue to pursue it until it was bringing me success. I also want to thank everyone else who’s supported my artwork and brought me to this point. Yeah, up until a few months ago I was sold out of paintings which is incredible. I’m really thankful for that, but you know, I’m stoked. I’m really excited. It doesn’t feel like work. It feels like play when I’m working on my art. When I’m working on really any aspect of it. Even the marketing part is starting to become a really fun thing and it’s work in a sense that yeah, I have to sit at a desk, but even that I really enjoy. But yeah, hopefully I can get to a point where that’s my full day, because I currently run my own cleaning business on the side of making art.

Jena: So, you’ve been mentioning that you’re working on getting your art into a couple galleries in the states. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

Mary: Yeah, I went to L.A. at the start of the summer and went to look at a few galleries for emerging artists there in a really, really cool part of L.A. Every corner was a gallery for emerging artists. And I was really excited, had some good conversations and we’ll see. I have a long way to go, but I saw a lot of potential at those spaces and I don’t see why my work can’t be in any of them or even one of them, so we’ll see. I’m going to continue to pursue it though.

Jena: Every designer, every artist, has their own aesthetic. I know every painting is different obviously, but you still put your own style into it. I notice in a lot of your paintings you have the symbolism of the balloon. I find it really interesting. Do you want to dive into more about your style and what each of those symbols represent in your paintings?

Mary: Sure. Yeah it started out as balloons. I like the symbolism of holding balloons. I don’t know what it is that excites people about balloons. They excite me too. They’re kind of silly or there’s something silly about it. And they’re associated with a celebration of some kind often. And, so I think if you let it go it’ll kind of fly off. And so you have to hang onto it. And that’s kind of what got me really interested in these little bottled worlds. There’s an aspect of these worlds that if you let go they’ll break. And I just feel like that about humans in a way. I don’t know. There’s something about life that I feel I can relate to with that. The “fragile-ness” of people and emotions and certain events in your life. How fragile you can be. And also the observation and reflection of it. They’re like “humanoid-ish”. There’s something sci-fi about looking at this little world and I like the idea that there’s possibly something observing us and witnessing the way we are. It excites me to think about that. And also the figures that I have in these worlds are oblivious to it or they’re kind of just starting to clue in. Like “Oh, maybe there’s a little more to this” and that’s kind of how I feel about humanity. We’re on the cusp of understanding that we’re a system. Like we’re a part of a really, really big system and it’s hard for us to even fathom the magnitude of that. And that’s what’s fascinating to me.

Mary: But I like the silliness of people too. So there’s a lot of that in my work. A touch of humor for sure and playfulness with that. And there’s also a lot of elements of depression. Of dealing with depression. The long arms are representative of that. When you’re dragging yourself around you’re dragging your limbs around and when you’re depressed, your day kind of feels like you’re dragging it. Like you’ve got to drag yourself to carry on. I kind of experienced that in my life and I’ve kind of liked the long arms and went with that. It’s been embedded in my imagery. But generally speaking I like faces and I like hands because I pick up on that in conversation with others.


Mary: I think in my work, it’s significantly  easier for me to talk about years later in hindsight because often they’re kind of reflective in that moment and at the time I was working on them. I like the destructive quality, but also the empathetic quality of humans. That’s kind of what peaks my interest. The juxtaposition of smart and dumb, empathetic and destructive, those kinds of themes.

Jena: There’s light and dark in all of us. We’re not perfect. We’re human. Even just making the space to promote ideas like that, it gets people talking. Darkness doesn’t necessarily need to be hidden, but if you make space for it the light can shine in. I notice that a lot in your work, the depression and the emotions. I think that connects a lot with LYDA because Living Your Dreams is hard. I know for myself, I’ve struggled with depression, but being able to wake up and invest energy everyday into what I love doing has been a huge help and a huge strategy in overcoming anxiety, fear and the darker feelings that I’ve felt. So, that’s a big concept in promoting LYDA Collective. It’s a real thing. Not everyone gets to live their dreams always because it’s challenging and you need the right support, knowledge and strategies to get you there. And I think your art is really real and I’m happy to bring you on into the collective to collaborate. It’s cool that we can both work on this together.

Check out @bottledcolour to see more of Mary’s art! Keep posted for LYDA Collective shirts with Mary’s art.

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