Behind the Scenes with Marita
Hello everybody! I am Marita Speen, abstract expressionist artist from Germany.
Besides working on my career as an artist I am studying art and media design full-time in Wuppertal, Germany.
I have always been a creative creature, I was really into music, loved to be outside in nature, always made things with my hands and got really deep into photography in my teenage years.
It wasn’t until I started my studies that I slowly transitioned to painting and soon after to abstraction. Looking back, it was such a smooth but fast transition to the abstract expressionist style I have now. I started with portraits and landscapes inspired by the region I grew up. But copying what I saw simply wasn’t enough for me, it didn’t made sense anymore. So I started to blur things and really worked freely with colors and freed myself from stereotype forms. That’s when I started to experiment with photo chemicals and light, too. I did not take any photos with a camera but just let the light, photosensitive paper and chemical do the work in the darkroom and let myself be the executer. It was a color study and a study about what role I had as an artist and what it took to make an artwork. This freedom reflected in my paintings and I totally got rid of symbols and objects at that time.
Now, three years after I first started painting abstract, my art became my voice!
I take all the impressions, noises, feelings, smells, colors and movement from my life and process them in my paintings.
My art is the total absence of words, it is like my very own language. I want people to stop and be present in the moment. Not thinking about what the painting could be („Oh is this a sunset?“), but rather looking like you listen to classical music. Take a moment, just be and feel.
I am happy to have a workplace at the studio of the university! There are roughly 20-25 workplaces and the studio is packed full of art and soon-to-be art and the spirit of roughly 15 years of art students. It is such an inspiring place to work and there is always a good conversation when needed.
Over the years, and thanks to my extensive art practice, I got hold of a pretty large space. I call about 4m of wall my own and a variable space on the floor. I tend to spread myself quite spacious on the floor because that’s where I produce most of my work. Thanks to my thoughtful fellow students there have never been foot prints on my work so far.
Everything in life starts with a blank canvas, so does my work! I always start by mixing a bunch of colors on my palette and surround myself with soft pastels and all kinds of different paints, unfinished work and blank paper and canvas. Acrylic, soft pastels and spray paint are my favorite mediums. The first layer is the most difficult, so I try not to overthink it. In between starting a new work I come back to unfinished pieces and take the colors, movement and feelings from the one piece to the other. Everything is connected!
Shortly after I start to work there is paint and paper and canvas all around me, it is like a little explosion.
I have always a huge bunch of unfinished work pile up because I like to surround myself with possibilities and the layers of paint have to dry.
I know a piece is finished when there are no open questions, no missing things. When I can come back to the same painting again and again and feel connected.
My recent works are inspired by the road trip I took earlier this year through the US and Canada. It was an amazing experience and really deepened my art practice once more.
I went on this 2-month trip with my boyfriend, we camped most of the time, avoided the big cities (except San Francisco and Vancouver) and explored nature and our minds.
These two months totally changed my perception of color and the connection of my experiences with my art. I discovered that art became such a non-negotiable part of my life and discovered how I perceive the world around me.
The different shades of the sea, the hot springs in Yellowstone, the color of the earth in Zion and the pulsing life in San Francisco taught me about the importance of color in our life. It is not just color … it is the feeling of the foggy air in the morning, the smell of gras in the sun, the exhaustion after climbing up a hill and the thrill of a big city.
That is what my art is about, all this and so much more.
I hope I could give you some insight into my world and maybe made you curious about your own perception of color in your life! Feel free to check my Instagram @maritaspeenart to get a deeper insight into my work and say hello!