How does the loss of a parent change your life? Mariana Mezic used art to bring colour into her monotone world

Mariana Mezic is an artist from Adelaide, but in 2010 she escaped to the hills and now lives on a 25 acre farm in Kanmantoo with her husband Matt and four children aged 2-14. She creates whimsical pieces using pencil, graphite and watercolours.

On the 8th of February she will present her second solo exhibition at Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide which will be opened by Kate Ceberano. In the midst of her busy schedule we caught up with her for a chat.

mariana mezic

Working with hyperreal graphite and languid watercolours, Mariana Mezic uses her art as a happy escape to times more colourful.

HAPPY: When did you first realise you had a talent for art?

MARIANA: I always had the ability to do art but I never had the courage to show people let alone sell it to anyone. I had a deep awakening when my father passed two years ago – life is short, you have a god given blessed talent, use it! I also really wanted to show my growing teenage girls that I wasn’t just a housewife and that you can do anything you set your mind to. They are super proud of me and brag about my art so I reckon I’m winning in their fickle teenage mind-sets.

HAPPY: Your style is very unique. Have you always been attracted to the whimsical and fantastical?

MARIANA: Before my dad passed I did begin to draw but my drawings were perfect type hyperrealistic pieces in black and white. The outcome of working like this is beautiful but I really felt a great need to speed my process up and not just copy from a picture. I was so deeply upset after my dad passed that I just wanted to get my insides out. I picked up my paints and pencils again and introduced a ton of colour and the colours made me happy. It was quite simple really. There was a great energy to these colours which uplifted my spirit. When Carrie Fischer recently passed I saw her quote “take your broken heart and make art” This really is what I did.


HAPPY: Do you have any particular process when you’re creating art?

MARIANA: I try my darnedest to be in the absolute moment, leave my thinking mind and call upon intuition and faith in what comes out onto the paper. It’s really a very spiritual meditative process. It is definitely my happy place. The freedom in my process definitely makes me happy. But I still struggle with that whole self-worth part. My mind wrestles for hours sometimes to get a mark down onto a blank piece of paper. But the main thing is I absolutely push myself to get something down, let the momentum begin and wooosh off I go! I’m in another realm.

HAPPY: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

MARIANA: I find inspiration in everything, and I listen to my intuition a lot regarding images in my mind, or something might trigger a memory of colour combos that I love like seeing a pastel sunset. I love the artistry of fashion and a fierce model with a gangster’s look in her eyes. Drawing women like that inspires me to keep on being brave in my work.


HAPPY: Do you have any philosophies you like to live by?

MARIANA: The philosophies I like to live by are to treat others how you would like to be treated and be kind. As much as people are loving the outcome of my art, I really want to pass on to people that I too am scared and I push myself to have a go, put myself in the arena even if I might be judged. Keep turning up despite not always feeling like Picasso! If I can influence one person to overcome their fear and let their creative heart emerge (in any field or form ) then that would make me a very happy human!


HAPPY: Last year you painted Kate Ceberano’s portrait. Are there any other celebrities or famous people who you’d like to immortalise in your artwork?

MARIANA: To tell you the truth I find that pressure of doing someone famous justice really stifling. Kate was so incredibly supportive in the process and encouraging with everything I showed her. But I generally say no to commissions because it makes me feel very stuck and is the opposite of why I do my art. I need to keep my art my happy place because I’m a busy mum of four before I’m an artist.


HAPPY: Do you encourage your children to express themselves creatively and would you encourage them to pursue art as a career?

MARIANA: Yes I definitely encourage the kids to have an artist’s heart, to be a creative in any field they choose. My older girls are horse riders and I see the way they ride and negotiate with these massive beasts. It blows me away in every sense and I see pure art in motion. We scribble a lot a do a lot of pretending. My kids all have great imaginations.

HAPPY: Are you looking forward to your upcoming exhibition?

MARIANA: I’m so nervous! I’m good at the art part, not so much the self-promotion part. Kate Ceberano is coming to open it. We are kindred sisters now from that Archibald experience. I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful, kind, generous and humble genius she is.