Marianna Marx works from a little house in leafy suburban street. Most days she gets up and draws. Some days she paints, and other days she’s not sure where to start.
Sometimes, dedicating your days to making art, whether that be music or otherwise, can appear frivolous to some, especially when you can’t get it right. It can be an uphill battle.
“I sometimes struggled when I was studying art at uni because I felt like before I started an artwork I would have to write a 2000 word essay to back it up. I think that so often the reason that you make something doesn’t become clear until after you’ve actually made it. That was definitely the case with this drawing. When I was finishing this one ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’ by Bob Dylan came on. It brought a smile to my face because his words said really clearly what I was trying to say through pictures. I named this one after a particular line in that song.”
Music is an important thread that weaves its way through Marx’s artwork. The combination of words and music trigger something, in the way that they can speak volumes, often with so little said. In the same vein, to draw is to use the ocular sense; to see and to interpret without the need for discussion or explanation.
“I grew up listening to a lot of folk and country music. My mum played Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen and my dad is a huge Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen fan so from an early age I was exposed to some pretty incredible storytellers. I’ve always loved getting lost in my own imagination when listening to a song. I have a really clear memory of my dad singing along to ‘Hurricane’ by Bob Dylan in the car and visualising the characters and places in my head as he sang. From then on I was always really drawn to music with some sort of story in the lyrics. I think that both music and art can have a powerful way of telling stories that the audience can attach personal meaning to based on their own imagination, memories and experiences.”
From an early age Marianna was drawn to story books and the images that filled the pages, and since then, she has been creating worlds of her own on paper.
“This one is inspired by a line in the classic song Wonder Wall by Oasis “there are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how”. This one is probably pretty autobiographical. I like to think the girl in this picture is trying to say something but isn’t quite sure the best way how or is a bit shy so she’s getting a bit creative with how to communicate. I think she’s sending anonymous notes and hoping they’ll come out right on the other side to whoever she’s sending them to.”
Marx likes to collect little notes, and extracts from novels, and then uses them to create layers and textures through her work. Often musical lyrics and notes, or passages of text form the backdrop to her main subject.
“I was commissioned to do this piece for a couple whose favourite song is ‘Hey Jude’. ‘Hey Jude’ is one of those songs that I think most people have a specific memory attached to it. When you’re in a relationship you have songs that millions of people have listened to but it can feel like it was written just for you. I wanted to convey that idea in this drawing and make it personal for the couple it was for so I hid cuttings from the sheet music of ‘Hey Jude’ in the Jenga blocks. The pieces are really tiny so only the couple who I was drawing this for would know that their song was in there. I like the idea of it being their own little secret.”
Searching For Something
“I’m definitely better at expressing an idea through pictures then I am with words however I like to hint that there is a narrative behind the picture. I use cuttings from old books and vintage travel maps to insinuate that there is a wider sequence of events behind the picture but its left to the viewer to discover what it is.”
Like all artists, sometimes Marx comes to a halt. She gets that same writers block.
“A teacher in High School once told me that if you’re stuck for ideas the worst thing you can do is to stop all together. So if I’m stuck I try to just keep drawing and trust that an idea will be sparked again.
“Most of the music and art really sucks me in seems to have a certain level of genuinely or honesty to it. That’s what I aim to present in my work too. The idea for this one was trying to convey that feeling of lack of control over when the next idea will come, as well as a little bit of impatience, and trying to take the seriousness out of it a bit. I don’t think that trying to force ideas or fighting your lack of inspiration will get you anywhere, so you might as well not over think it and just trust that another more inspiration will come along eventually. Because it will, maybe just not when you want it to!”
I’ll Follow Your Lead
“As much as I love delicate storytelling and amazing lyrics in the music I listen to, I also couldn’t think of many things more fun than a night out dancing to 90s pop or joking around with my brothers rapping to Jay Z. I think this picture is a light-hearted reflection of a sillier side of myself. There are less than a handful of people who I sing in the car in front of, and even fewer that have seen my sweet dance moves. It takes me ages to get to this point with someone but I’m pretty sure as soon as it happens they wish it hadn’t because from that point on they can’t shut me up.
“I wanted the girl in this picture to look like she has stopped in mid action, as if she has just noticed that someone was watching her doing a really ridiculous dance. Trying to get the facial expression right on this one wasn’t too difficult. I modelled it on my own when I found out my older brothers had secretly recorded me singing Kesha’s “TiK ToK” to them and played it at my 21st birthday party during speeches. ”
Once as a young girl, Marx stumbled upon an artist painting on the streets of Paris. She said that maybe one day she would like to be an artist too. “You can be, you just have to practice,” replied the painter. The artist may not have known how profound her comment was at the time, but that off handed remark continues to have a lasting impact.
You can find Marianna Marx on Facebook , or follow her on Instagram @mariannamarx_illustration.