Meet Belgrade Artist: Mariah Scary

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?

My name is Marija Knežević and I do bunch of different things. Everything is related to art in a way, but I do many things aside from my own art, where I work under the name Mariah Scary. I run a boutique with friends and family with local art, crafts, and brands – the space works as a gallery too. I often work as a sort of art director on many different creative projects with friends from T-shirt brands to photography editorials, that kind of stuff. I am actually also co-editor here at Vampir.

 

HOW HAS BELGRADE INFLUENCED YOUR ART?

I don’t know what would happen if I lived anywhere else. Would my art at any point reach a level of professionalism in which I live and work solely making art – or would things be the same, because things are so wild here in a way, that we are used to living wild. I don’t know, it confuses me. But I definitely think Serbia really does not give you many options from which you can really live, in every sense, so it stays a hobby, something I do on the side. That’s the shit side, on the other hand living here gives you freedom and protects you from professional compromises and mass production.

 

But you definitely grow and develop regardless of where you are or what is happening. The ideal place does not exist. I think that you have to find a way to make it in this place and use all possible opportunities and benefits of living here, and try to make your own life more interesting and live limitlessly, without plans – but starting from Belgrade. Something works here for me, that’s why it has to be my point of reference to where I return.

TELL US ABOUT THESE SKETCHES.

They are made of scraps from my paintings. Usually I paint with acrylics on the backside of glass, so that its face is actually the glass and not the paint. For these miniatures, I carve out the paint with a scalpel after the color dries, and then peel it off. It’s like plastic so it stays in this flattened form. Then I put the pieces together like a little collage, similarly to my paintings on glass, and again get some silly characters. Sometimes they are sketches for some bigger paintings, but most of them I make in these mini albums.

 

YOUR PAINTINGS ARE REMINISCENT OF JIGSAW PUZZLES. DO YOU PIECE IT TOGETHER SPONTANEOUSLY ALONG THE WAY, OR DO YOU HAVE A PRIOR IMAGE THAT YOU DECONSTRUCT TO ABSTRACTION? WHAT IS IT ABOUT PIECES VS. WHOLES TO YOU?

I never was satisfied with the feeling of “oh I think something up, then I draw it.” That bores me, in a way, just the fact that I thought it up. I was always really fascinated by this kind of unconscious side of things, and the process is really what does it for me, which is constantly unconscious. I have a problem with knowing in advance what it’s going to be, and sometimes when I have a crisis and can’t relax then I draw these intentional things from my mind and most often I’m not pleased with them.

 

Every little piece of the painting equally fascinates me, in even the smallest I find some sort of communication with the rest of the pieces as well as on its own. How it stands alone and how it communicates with the pieces next to it, in color and shape. I always find in them a little mistake, make and destroy it five times before I am satisfied, because I really don’t have that prior image in my head. It’s like play dough, putting together a kind of 2D sculpture.

 

It’s not always easy because I always have that inner need to have everything exactly find its place and translate things without any kind of filter, which is often hard because I have this other side which is everyday life. When I relax, and let go and just let whatever happen, that tends to be my biggest satisfaction and that’s it, and I’m done with it, whether or not it is beautiful to me or whatever. I simply stand behind it fully and am totally OK with it.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE SUBJECT OF YOUR PAINTING? DO YOU PAINT BASED ON REAL THINGS AND PEOPLE, OR ARE YOUR ‘CHARACTERS’ ALL A FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION?

Mostly invented. I never paint real things nor do I have the tendency to paint something real. But I do like to make something abstract that alludes to a real form. Like this reminds me of a body, so I’ll give him a head, and that will turn into a character. That process in and of itself leads me to who he actually ends up being. First you build a mass, and then you give it a personality.

 

THE FACES OF YOUR CHARACTERS TEND TO BE THE FOCAL POINT OF YOUR WORKS, WHERE ALL THE OTHER FIGURATIVE SHAPES REALLY ARE GIVEN THEIR CONTEXT AND MEANING. USUALLY, IT IS JUST THE EYES, NOSE, AND MOUTH THAT ALLUDE AND GIVE DEFINITION TO SOME SORT OF A BODY OF A NONDESCRIPT CREATURE. WHY IS THIS SO? WHAT IS IT ABOUT FACES AND FACIAL EXPRESSIONS THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I don’t know they are just funny to me! [laughs] They just become something. The abstraction alone has character enough that I can recognize, but when it’s too abstract and I can’t grasp it, I don’t know what to do or how to approach it, so the face gives some sort of clarity.

 

WHY DO YOU HAVE THE TENDENCY FOR ABSTRACTION?

I constantly look for that freedom, to be limitless in a way. Usually when I draw I take a pencil and I have the tendency to draw things that I know how to draw, but it’s hard for me to really do things with deliberate intentions, and then in every moment I try to look for that unconscious note, some depth and width. The logical result of things based on my personal need for internal peace.

 

HOW MUCH IMPORTANCE DO YOU GIVE TO YOUR ART AND AESTHETICS – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU FOR YOUR ART TO BE “BEAUTIFUL” TO YOU, OR AT LEAST “NOT UGLY”?

That’s really a question. Sometimes a very small detail, whether it is the color palette or shape, leads me to this satisfaction that simply feels good, that I simply find nice and beautiful. Like when you’re a kid and you have a Barbie and you are just fascinated by how everything is so in place in a way.

 

Sometimes I think some things that I do are not pretty at all and even invoke out of you a feeling of awkwardness, but it’s about letting things be the way that they are. I get equal satisfaction from that which is beautiful and the moment when I am OK with things. It’s like two sides that you have to synchronize and what is beautiful tends to be what I am OK with, and so the question is really if it is beautiful to others or not and if they can connect to the same as I.

 

WHEN LOOKING AT YOUR WORK I OFTEN GIGGLE, BUT ALMOST ALWAYS AT LEAST SMILE. THEY ARE ALWAYS BRIGHT AND POSITIVE, INNOCENT AND SOMETIMES EVEN HUMOROUS. DO YOU THINK THIS MIGHT BE ONE OF YOUR (UN)INTENTIONAL GOALS FOR YOUR VIEWERS?

I think everybody should find their own little game to have fun and that’s it. We grow up and we act like adults and you need this moment and it’s ok not to be serious.

SHOP MARIAH SCARY X VAMPIR TEE HERE!

www.cargocollective.com/mariahscary

 

 

 



Vampir magazine is an online platform, focusing on the creative works of people from Eastern Europe and Australia + NZ.

Establishing a creative connection between these two worlds, Vampir discovers similarities and promotes up and coming artists from both the East and West.

Contact: info@vampirmagazine.com

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