Three Questions with Artist Mary Hong

Mary Hong has caught worldwide attention of contemporary art enthusiasts with her unique use of recycled glass, color palettes and bold composition. Her world travel as an 18-year veteran flight attendant, brought her creativity, imagination and inspiration. The artist’s work has been featured in local, regional and national media outlets both in print and on television. Mary earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a well-established, award-winning artist and entrepreneur in Northwest Florida. A professional artist for 23 years, she has participated in group and solo exhibitions in the U.S. and France and was the recipient of the 2014 Artist of the Year award from the Walton County Florida Tourist Development Council.

The passion for glass began during a trip to Greece. “It was 1999 when I caught the bright glint of cobalt blue glass from a bead shop in Greece. I had to have it and I had to learn how to create it! Glass was my thing! I was hooked! I fused it in a kiln, wrapped it around a mandrel, and created full wall mosaics with it,” enthuses the artist.

John-Richard will be debuting new artwork by Mary Hong at High Point Market this April. We recently touched base with the artist to ask her about her inspiration and the current color combinations that appeal to her.

1. Your use of recycled glass creates unique textures and refracts light in unusual ways. What are the artistic and environmental reasons that you chose to include mosaics of glass in your work?  I have always loved glass…it’s permanence, it’s beauty when light passes through it. I’m a glass artist first, painter second. I love how glass can add another dimension to a painting. Glass can pick up any subtle light and magnify it. And, it’s all around us! It’s not difficult to find it! I love the challenge of taking an ordinary glass bottle, and turning it into art on canvas. Since I’ve taught thousands of people my process, I’m pretty sure we’re making a dent in how much glass goes out the door!

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2. How does living on the Emerald Coast of Florida inspire and influence your work?  Living on the Gulf Coast of Florida has definitely influenced my work. I lean towards the brilliant blues and aquas, always trying to find that soft subtle hue to balance it. I challenge myself sometimes by trying to create an image using only white paint and clear glass. It’s amazing what you can do with just those two things! I recently opened a gallery in Nashville TN and have begun a new series of work with much stronger colors. I love them! It’s a big change for me!

3. What are you currently working on and what are the color palettes that appeal to you right now? AH! See above! I’ve shared pictures so you can see the strong colors! I literally finished them yesterday!!

Mondays with Mary flyerTo learn more about the artist Mary Hong, visit www.maryhongstudio.com
Follow Mary on her social channels:
Instagram: @maryhongstsudio Pinterest: wiredglass.com
Facebook: Mary Hong Studio
*Join Mary for her Facebook Live ‘Mondays with Mary’ on the 3rd Monday of every month at 10:30 am. 

Artist Spotlight: Ashley Sullivan

Ashley SullivanAshley Sullivan grew up in northeast Ohio where the rust belt smokestacks and old industry give way to leaning barns and fields of soy. Depending on the season, or the temperament of the weather that day, the landscape outside her windows changed. Light ebbed and flowed against a field that boomed green and whispered in summer breezes and went all cracked brown and sharp when whorls of snow came tumbling out of the iron skies in winter. She chased cats through barns born a century before her and she watched how the dust lit up like fireworks when the sun slipped in through the slats and cracks of the room where cows used to mingle. There was beauty in everything, and she kept it all safe in the deepest pockets of her brain.

She’s lived in Chicago among swaying towers of metal and glass that poked at the sky. It was in Chicago that she learned to appreciate how dynamic a city can be; how the jagged lines and gentle curves of railroad trusses can spark memories of barn beams. Now, she’s boomeranged back home to Ohio to set down some roots in Cleveland Heights. Most days she can be found in her studio, chasing down moments and putting them onto canvas. She’s only just begun.

“Ashley Sullivan’s work is incredibly stimulating and interesting.,” enthused Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard. “Her use of movement and color result in an industrial feel while remaining versatile enough for the most sophisticated spaces.”


We had a chance to ask Ashley about her background and what inspires her art.

You grew up in the country among fields and barns. How did the landscape effect or inspire you?
There are quiet, still, and restful places out in the country. Which is not to say the country is boring or dull. I love the repetition of lines in a field — freshly seeded rows of turned earth, or corn stalk bases that remain after the fall harvest. There is texture and pattern in a dense arrangement when viewed up close, and yet taking in the field as a whole, there is a calming uniformity. With more open space, you can take in a wider expanse of a field or sky. I love the feeling of being a part of and connected to nature, but also feeling a very small creature in a vast space.

Conversely, in the city of Chicago, did you find it infused you with a different type of artistic energy?
A city certainly has life and energy. At times I am completely starry-eyed enchanted, but can also find myself overwhelmed by the inexhaustibleness of a city. I would love to bottle the vibrancy and spark of a city lit up at night, but I don’t think it has a long shelf life. Part of what makes a city so appealing to me is its constantly changing nature. You could paint a city street forever and never paint it the same way twice.

GBG-1406Do you have any favorite color palettes?
I am always drawn to a layered neutral palette, pulling from both warm and cool tones to give depth and interest to the calm areas of a canvas. For the focal point I bring in more saturated neutrals and bolder colors. I’ll use various colors from the same color family — instead of the accent color being only “red”, I will use orange, rust, pink, cranberry, salmon, coral, burgundy, and so on.

Are there artists, past or present, whom you particularly admire?
Narrowed down to top ten: Alphonse Mucha, George Hendrik Breitner, Franz Kline, Sol LeWitt, Eva Hess, Gerhard Richter, Nick Cave, Kai Samuels-Davis, Jeremy Mann, Robert Szot.

When did you start producing art with John-Richard?
November of 2016.

What new art are you working on right now?
I came home from a vacation on Lake Erie with a collection of stones (agate, quartz, slate, etc.) and plan to do a series of paintings using their color palettes.

 

Spotlight on Wall Art Designer Mary Neff Stewart

Mary Neff Portrait
Mary Neff Stewart

Mary Neff Stewart has been defining her career for 15 years as a designer and art teacher and now as the Senior Wall Art Designer at John-Richard. Her appreciation of fine art and love of creating mixed media pieces at the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis has been parlayed into sourcing and creating art for John-Richard.

Mary Neff has lived in various places across the Mid-South and now resides in Greenwood with her husband and their son. She finds inspiration through color and home design. She also serves as the Homes Editor for Mississippi Magazine, writing on the spectacular homes and art throughout the state. We were able to spend some time with the designer to hear her view on trends and the current collections.

We were able to spend some time with the designer and hear her thoughts on trends and the new John-Richard introductions.

What trends are you seeing in the market right now?GBG-1358A

I’m seeing a lot of unique objects being used in framed art. People love a curated look in their homes, and we are trying to source and create unique styles. With our genuine butterfly collections and our framed botanicals, we are really creating one of a kind art for a distinctive home. Color is still extremely important, as that is sometimes the only “pop” in an otherwise neutral space. We have some really stunning canvases that would work in a variety of designs.

What unique techniques are being used this season?GBG-1313A-D

Obviously, I was feeling very floral this collection! I loved playing with the John Richard botanical department and using their new and exciting pieces. They are creating some really fabulous things by preserving and dying real blooms and greenery. We also hand painted and applied resin to a variety of silk stems.

What inspires you with this season?

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Violet Hurricane by William Goodman

All of our artists inspire me each and every season. I am in love with William Goodman’s vibrant color as well as Jason Lott’s moody hues. Mary Hong completely went outside her box for this collection with Intergalactic.

What appeals to you personally and professionally in the art offerings?

Personally, I am drawn to loud, brilliant colors. Professionally, I seem to focus more on subdued hues and classic whites, creams and grays. The April collection has a great mix of both. We are still seeing a lot of cool aqua. It truly seems to be a color that is sticking around in the design world. Yellow seems to be a new hue that we are showing off in our original oil collection also.

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Ladies in Aqua I -IV by Kiah Denson
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Intergalactic I -II by Mary Hong

 

Is there a buzz word that reflects what is new and interesting in John-Richard wall art?

Texture is always important! Especially with our use of lots of natural objects this past market, texture- whether real or implied- helps to make a piece more exciting. I’m a very tactile person. I always like to touch the art!

To see more offering in art and wall decor, click here.