Hi Mary, tell us about yourself?
My name is Mary Rezin, I am 22 years old, and I am a sculptor! I was homeschooled until grade 11, when I started taking classes at Alamance Community College. I came to UNCG wanting to do Graphic Design, but when I applied to the BFA program I ended up choosing Sculpture and Ceramics. I have since learned a plethora of things I never thought I would learn, like welding, metal casting, and wheel throwing! Now that I have graduated, I can work with Jim Gallucci, a local sculptor. In my (albeit limited) free time I enjoy gaming, reading, crocheting, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends.
Was there a moment or time in your life when you realized you wanted to be an artist?
My senior year in high school I took graphic design courses at ACC. Even though I had never worked with photoshop or illustrator before, the professor, Justin Fowler, was really patient with me and before I knew it I was working on really interesting projects. We painted in photoshop, restored photos, created branding and packaging, had a lot of great discussions about design choices, business ethics, and one time I had to make hats out of bread. And for every midterm and final, we had to pitch our designs to a “customer”. I grew close with the other students in the class, and they had such a wide variety of reasons for taking the class that I realized how many options were available for people who wanted to create for a living.
What there a particular course or faculty member that inspired you to further explore sculpture?
The change from wanting to do digital art to doing sculptural work came in my second semester at UNCG, when I took Three-Dimensional Foundation II with Chelsea Tinklenburg. We were making clay self-portrait busts, and we were supposed to add another element, something imaginative or surrealist. I spent hours and hours on that project, making sure it was picture perfect, and I remember a distinct moment when I thought to myself “I love the physical aspect of clay, of working in three dimensions. I could do this for the rest of my life.”
Currently, what is your art practice about?
Most of my work now focuses on translating ideas of growth, home, and change into a physical medium. I like to create visually interesting pieces by layering recognizable imagery and objects with elements that are unexpected and symbolic of my own memories, feelings, and experiences.
What is does your art practice do for you? In other words, why do you make art?
I have always been a storyteller, but, unfortunately, I am not the best with words. My work allows me to tell my stories in a way that is easier for me, in a way that I understand and does not get mixed up like my words sometimes do. I also use it to process difficult situations, memories, or feelings. I do not often set out to make a piece of work about a particular situation or memory, but I find that if I am pondering or processing something while I work, my work will gradually come to tell that story anyways.
What kind of experiences did you have in the School of Art that you found memorable and valuable to you as an artist?
I have made lots of my friends from art school. My friend Morgan and I took our favorite and least favorite foundations and art history classes together, doing projects and studying for tests together freshman year are some of my core memories. When I took metal sculpture, Professor Kevin Vanek kept encouraging us to talk to each other and spark ideas off each other, “There is no ‘I’ in foundry!” he likes to say. That really encouraged me to get to know my fellow artists and collaborate with them. Those collaborations and connections have become essential to my work. Being able to help found The Artist’s Guild and run an art sale through that was an amazing experience. And, of course, being able to help host an iron pour at UNCG through my independent study was an awesome way to culminate my UNCG experience.
What would you say to someone who wants to pursue a creative life but on the fence about a degree path in Art at UNCG?
The program at UNCG is fantastic, especially as they’ve worked at fleshing out their animation department and the sculpture department in the past few years. It is tough at times: sometimes it’s hard to corral your creativity into the classroom headset, sometimes the three-hour studio classes feel like six hours, and sometimes all your glaze flakes off in the kiln! But I think with a little perseverance (or stubbornness, depending on your style!) people who want to create art will succeed at UNCG.
How can we all connect with you and learn more about your art?
My Instagram is @mrezinart