Zouch contributor A. Jarrell Hayes interviews visual artist Audrey Marielle as she prepares for the June 11th Merge Arts showcase in New York, New York.

A. Jarrell Hayes: Tell us about yourself and when you began your art career.

Audrey Marielle: I’ve been drawing and loving art since I was a little girl. My mother, my father, my grandfather, and my great aunt are all artists. I began taking my passion seriously about 3 years ago.

AJH: What inspires your art?

AM: I am inspired by my mom, my childhood, personal experiences, and my culture.

AJH: Which artists have influenced your work?

AM: For the most part I can say my mother and my personal experience influences my work but there are definitely a few Instagram artists I have been able to learn from: markus prime, Citizins, and froedoutbarbie for example. I have been able to borrow a lot of inspiration from these amazing artists.

AJH: What’s your favorite medium(s) to work with and why?

AM: My favorite medium to work with would have to be acrylic paint just because it’s so easy for me and the possibilities are endless. You don’t have to wait days for it to dry like oil paint, and its gives me a sense of freedom. I also love working with ink pens and micron pens/markers because I love the clean look it gives my ink drawings.

AJH: What distinctive qualities separate you from other artists?

AM: I believe the most distinctive quality that separates me from other artists is my work ethic. I will go non-stop. All I do is create, and sleep, and wake up, and repeat. I don’t think I’m better than anybody else, I want to be the most hard working than everybody else.

AJH: What is your role, as an artist, in the larger society?

AM: I believe my role in the larger society is to inspire the youth. Inspire young people to follow their passions and dreams no matter what, no matter how unconventional they may be. I believe I was put here to create and to inspire a generation of new artists, creatives, and carefree black girls.

AJH: Any advice for aspiring artists?

AM: My advice would be to never lose sight of why you started creating. Don’t become discouraged if you aren’t making the money you want; if you follow your passion and continue to build connections, the money will come.

AJH: What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as an independent artist? How did you overcome them?

AM: One of my biggest challenges is getting people to support me and my work. A lot of people think because you say you are an artist, you don’t take your craft seriously, so they don’t have to pay for it, but that’s not the case. It’s an everyday struggle. I overcome it by having faith that my hard work will pay off and be recognized in divine right time. If I keep working as hard as I do to perfect my craft, it is sure to pay off. I am surviving off of faith.

AJH: Who has been one of your strongest supporters? How has that support helped you reach your current level of success and/or shaped you as an artist?

AM: One of my strongest supporters was my cousin Vanessa Lundy. She is a vintage blogger, stylist, etc. and she is the one who inspired me to begin vending and selling my work. She lit a fire inside of me that hasn’t been put out yet. She taught me how to network with people and step outside of my comfort zone. It has helped bring me to where I am today because without her, I probably would have kept my gift to myself, instead of sharing it with the world and trying to make a name for myself.

AJH: You’ll have a display this week at the Merge Arts showcase in New York City. Can you give us a hint about your display and how you got involved with this project?

AM: Most of the work I am displaying is kind of old. Most of my pieces embody black women, body positivity, and these line patterns I love doing so much. I used to showcase with rawartist.org and then the director of the Boston group decided to start her own company “Merge Arts” which is based in NYC/BOSTON. She loved my work and dedication and allowed me to be apart of this amazing event!

AJH: Where can one get more information and purchase tickets to the Merge Arts showcase?

AM: https://www.facebook.com/mergeartsnyc
To purchase tickets: http://newyork.mergearts.org/speaker-lineup/artbyamarielle.
I am giving away art to everyone who purchases a ticket even if they can’t come and support! The showcase is June 11th and the tickets are $15. Contact me if interested at [email protected].

AJH: What’s in your future? Any upcoming projects or showcases?

AM: Right now I am focused on having a successful showcase June 11th. I want to become a better artist and start getting my name out there!

AJH: Where can people find you online?

AM: Instagram: artbyamarielle
Twitter: artbyamarielle
Commission inquiries [email protected]

AJH: How can people purchase your artwork?

AM: spreesy.com/artbyamarielle
Prints available society6.com/audreymarielle

AJH: Final question: What’s the one word you want people to think when they view your work?

AM: “WOW” lol

Audrey Marielle provided images of her work to “wow” you with.