My name is Marie Gardeski. I am an artist living in Indiana. I grew up in the Mitten (Grand Rapids, MI, to be exact), received my BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and my MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. I live 44 feet above street level in The Museum of Imaginary Animals (a rambling, south facing 100+ year old apartment) where I share a sunny studio with my favorite person and artist, David Birkey. At my toy-strewn desk I create delicately detailed drawings of seemingly sweet subjects in strange (and sometimes slightly scary) situations. I also design fabrics featuring hand-drawn plants, animals and miscellaneous doodles. My husband and I are the team behind the brand/shop Imaginary Animal.
Have you always been creative and artistic?
Well, I can’t remember not making art. That is, if you consider sloppy finger paintings and lumps of sticky sawdust art. Both of my parents are creative. There was never a shortage of scrap paper in our house, a stack in every closet, brushes in the laundry room, adhesives in the basement. I spent most of my free time as a kid in the yard with a sketchbook, in my dad’s workshop with glue and wood-scraps, in my mom’s sewing room making tiny garments, in the woods tying twigs into teepees, or in the driveway sorting stones… I guess not much has changed.
How would you describe the style of your work?
Strange, mysterious, humorous, delicate, cryptic, delightful, weird.
What’s in your pencil case and what’s your favorite tool?
My pencil case holds brush pens, mechanical pencils and little plastic animals. In my drawings I mostly use watercolor, gouache, graphite and colored pencil. Sometimes coffee or beet juice make it onto the paper.
Who is your favorite superhero?
Hong Kong Phooey is pretty cute.
If you could have one super power what would it be?
To fly would be nice.
Where do you look for inspiration?
These days most of my inspiration comes from the weird miscellaneous toys, objects and images I collect and surround myself with. I’ll draw these things, not really trying to make the drawing look like the original, but infusing it with a new, more intense personality. I’ll draw the same character again and again, each time creating a new beast or beauty. I’m also inspired by plants; plastic and real (I have 73 green growing buddies, mostly succulents, distributed throughout our living space and studio).
Who are your favorite artists or comic book authors?
Current favorites are: David Birkey, Marcel Dzama, Paul Klee, Charley Harper
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