An Interview With Marissa Sweet
CA&C: How old were you when you began creating artwork? At what age did you decide to become an artist/crafter? Was it obvious from childhood or did it evolve over time?
Marissa: I started painting at a very young age. Probably by 3 years old, I was already drawing and enjoying the first crayon in my hands! I knew I loved it and drew every day and every chance I could. In grade school and high school – Art was a favourite subject and every summer time, I would always be taking a new art class. My days had dance lessons and art classes. I am fortunate and very blessed to have been able to enjoy these two passions. In university, I enjoyed art history and humanities. I took an arts and business degree and majored in economics. Art and painting was always second nature and I looked forward to summer months when I could go back to painting every day!
CCA&C: Were you formally trained or self taught? Either way tell us a little about your journey. What were your biggest hurdles?
Marissa: I would consider myself, self-taught, since I do not have a degree in Fine Arts. I have taken so many lessons with different teachers and have taken workshops at art galleries in both the Philippines and Canada. I also continued taking extended workshops at the Toronto School of Art. I have been involved in the corporate world since 1985 and have had several roles from Account Executive, Sales and Marketing, Retail Sales, Administrative Executive and finally Human Resources with Leadership Training Group. It was in this position I realized I enjoyed teaching and/ or facilitating workshops. It was stimulating for me to engage with students, to prepare and deploy course curriculums and get certified in other leadership training workshops. When I left the corporate world, I knew it was time to focus on my art, specifically painting, and developed course curriculums to facilitate art workshops for all levels.
CCA&C: Were your family supportive of your creative endeavours? If yes how so – if not what were their feelings? What influence do you feel this has had on your success?
Marissa: My family supported my creative self and inspired me to continue painting, however, I was encouraged to take a business degree for practical reasons. I think this decision fuelled a drive to succeed in the art realm and I continue to develop my creative pursuits. My journey from business to art was a good path.
CCA&C: Do you work with different mediums? If yes what is your personal favourite? If no have you ever been tempted to try something new and what has held you back from doing so? How did you decide on the medium you have chosen?
Marissa: I work with both Acrylic and Oil mediums. I started watercolour and poster painting in elementary and gradually moved to pen and ink in university. I took workshops in oils and practised this medium for five years. Upon immigrating to Canada and living with my aunt, I did not want to risk painting with oils in their home, so I registered for classes with theToronto Continuing Education and fell in love with acrylics. I have now been painting with acrylics for 24 years. Three years ago I revisited oils again and was captivated by it’s butter-like consistency.
CCA&C: What Inspires you? Where do you seek inspiration? How do you incorporate this inspiration into your artwork?
Marissa: I am primarily inspired by the principles of Fung Shui. The primary principle being that we are all energy, we are all interconnected. We are part of this universe, this world, all organisms and all beings. To support its productive side and to help conserve the natural world is my inspiration. Because of this practise , I am inspired to paint nature scenes, landscapes, abstracted urban environments. My inspiration is fresh air, the landscape, the lakes within the forest and big, endless blue skies!
CCA&C: Are there any messages, political, economical or social, that you are trying to share in your work or are your pieces strictly for beauty?
Marissa: My message is all about conservation. The importance of everything; of life.
CCA&C: Do you belong to any art/craft associations? How do you find such alliances? Are they helpful and if yes, how so?
Marissa: I do belong to a few art/craft organizations. I am an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists, a national organization that fosters creativity and diversion. To become an elected member/Signature member, you would have to apply for during their open call to be juried into elected status. The caliber and high quality of the organization pushes artists to produce his/her best work. The recognition and honour to be among great artists in Canada’s history is colossal (E.g. Mary Pratt, Anthony Batten & Peter Gough).
CCA&C: Do you see any trends in Canadian Contemporary art and craft? If yes, what are they? Of these trends, are there any that you feel inspire you and if yes how so? Are there any trends that you see that you will not follow and why?
Marissa: Trends do come and go with art work because people evolve, history changes, the world changes and with this comes a new generation of artists who have found a means of self expression. I am open to new creative ideas, but do not agree with art work that is fuelled by cruelty, is hurtful or unkind.
CCA&C: How has social media affected your art/craft? Do you take advantage of social media? If so how? How do you support the galleries/spaces that sell your work? Do you feel this is important and part of your job as an artist?
Marissa: Social media is a part of my life as an artist. I am social and I do love communicating with people. If it is through media such as the internet, I do use use this as it has its advantages of reaching more people who are interested in my art or learn from my process. I thoroughly enjoy instagram and use it extensively. But technology is only a gateway to personal contact. Nothing can replace talking to someone in person. Hence, I do work with galleries and participate in community art shows.
CCA&C: What would you like to have people think or feel about your work once you have moved on from this little planet? What do you think your legacy will be?
Marissa: I would like the world to remember my work as one that is all about our love for this earth, of nature or our environment. I would like future generations to be inspired by my work, to maintain the beauty we see across countries, the lakes, the oceans, the forest the wildlife and the skies. To help conservation, to promote and understand it. To maintain a healthy planet.
Marissa is an award-winning artist and an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists. Primarily a landscape painter, Marissa integrates the principles of Feng Shui into her artwork. Her practise in this ancient form of metaphysics has inspired her to create landscapes that bring awareness to our interconnectivity to nature. The beauty of nature captivates this artist, such as; the magic of a morning mist, the quiet sunsets and gentle wind on the lake.
With a BA Economics degree and years in various corporate roles, Marissa currently facilitates art workshops in the Durham area and at her home studio. She has attended various courses at the Toronto School of Art and is a member of numerous art associations.
Currently, Newsletter Director of Society of Canadian Artists and PR/Social Media Director of the Oshawa Art Association. Marissa Sweet has exhibited in Canada and the Philippines and her work can be found in private and public collections.
Cornerstone Canadian Art & Craft is delighted to have Marissa’s work and energy at our gallery.