We are so stoked to release this special collaboration showcasing artist Marissa Quinn’s talent and our mutual love + respect for the ocean. Check out our recent chat with Marissa on the collection, her art, and surfing below!
Shop the Marissa Quinn Collection here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hey Sisstr fam, my name is Marissa Quinn and for the past 9 years I have been a full time artist, creative entrepreneur, and educator. I am originally from Encinitas, CA and am currently living on the Big Island of Hawai’i where my fiancé works in the coffee industry and where I am continuing to grow my art business.
What inspired the pieces you created for the Sisstrevolution x Marissa Quinn Collection?
The pieces I created for this Sisstrevolution x Marissa Quinn Collection are inspired by California’s native flora and marine life. I thought it would be fun to dive back into my roots and create pieces that told the story of the place where I grew up. The connection between the land and the sea is a common theme in my work, and for this collection I wanted to playfully layer whales, sharks, and other marine life into prints of native California flowers in order to spark interest around the interconnected relationships we see between ecosystems.
Growing up along the coast in Encinitas, Spring was always such a magical time when the Coast Sunflowers would paint the cliffs bright yellow and the Sage plants would burst deep purple flowers alongside the oranges of the California Poppies. I remember hiking through the lagoons with my grandma and she would hand me her binoculars to show me different species of sea birds while also teaching me about how the ocean’s tide waters would move through the land and would provide for all the birds, and the flowers, and the crabs. It was, and still is, all so magical.
With these memories, my hope is that this collection will capture a bit of that California Spring magic! I also hope that this, like everything I create, will normalize “interconnected thinking”- of living our everyday lives in ways that honor the lives of the creatures living in sea, on the land, and in every other nook and cranny of this Earth.
How did you begin creating art? Where have you been, where are you now, and where are you going with it?
Like many artists I have no memory of a moment when I began creating- I guess it has always been part of who I am and how I function :)
I do however, have a memory of my first day of second grade…I was at a brand new school and did not know a soul. I was terrified, and uncomfortable because I was in an itchy new uniform. I remember being too shy and overwhelmed to go out with other kids at recess, so for the first week of school, my teacher let me stay in the classroom to draw and color by myself. Obviously I eventually figured out how to make friends, but I’ll never forget that first feeling of art as my “safe space”.
For the past 9 years I have been building my art career. I have an MFA in fine art, concentrating in studio art…this is a fancy way of saying I went to grad school, competed a thesis and show, somehow survived, and now I have those three letters behind me name! But in all seriousness, getting my graduate degree launched my career- a curator from the Lancaster Museum of Art and History came to my thesis show, was apparently inspired by my work, and invited me to show at their museum a few months after I graduated. From that show my career began to take off, and I have shown my work in many museums and galleries including the Oceanside Museum of Art, Lux Art Institute, Sparks Gallery, the California Center for the Arts, and many more.
I am now focusing my art career on murals, licensing, and education while continuing to work on gallery and museum shows. I hope to continue to partner with environmental groups, wildlife researchers, and non-profits to further my impact as artist and activist.
What are the main mediums you work with when creating?
My go-to mediums are pen and ink, watercolor, and pencil. From these materials I then am able to design digitally on my iPad for certain projects, or I can turn my ideas into giant murals, which is aways a blast. But all my work starts as a simple sketch or painting on paper.
Where do you find your inspiration when creating?
My inspiration is always nature. I think we all have the ability to tap in and develop a real relationship with nature, and this is what I like to portray in the emotions behind my paintings. I think nature loves to play with us. I think she has a sense of humor, I think she grieves, and I think she wants to communicate with us. I want to personify her, give her a voice, and share this with the world.
Who is your biggest role model within the art realm?
I’m a big fan of art history. Going back to the masters and studying their pieces always sparks new ideas. I obsess over Leonardo da Vinci’s illustrative line-work and anatomical accuracy, I drool over Earnst Haeckel’s biological illustrations, and I adore Margaret Mee’s botanical illustrations and activism in the Amazon rainforests.
What advice would you give to someone looking to begin creating?
My biggest piece of advice is create a little something every day. I know that seems daunting at first, but in order to get comfortable with creating, it definitely takes practice. So commit to creating something new for 5 minutes a day, everyday, for two weeks. During this time don’t throw away anything. There are no mistakes. After two weeks, lay all your creations out, or hang them up, and have a little art show for yourself. You will see many things- improvements, confidence, new ideas, but most importantly you will begin to see the direction the creativity is taking you. This is how I have begun every new body of work throughout my career. Just go for it!
Goofy or regular?
Regular with a love of nose-riding backside :)
What advice would you give to someone looking to get in the water?
Just like with learning to paint or create, learning to surf takes a solid commitment to practice. Find a mentor, someone who has been surfing a long time and ask if you can shadow them in the water. Before entering the water anywhere, sit and watch. Become a master observer. Watch everything…from how other surfers enter the water, to what type of boards they are riding, and to where they are sitting in the water. While this is mainly a safety move, this will also teach you the rhythms of the wave with which you are about to establish a relationship. And lastly, study this history of surfing. Know who came before you and respect the traditions and etiquette of this beautiful art we call surfing :) Oh, and have fun!
Shop the Marissa Quinn Collection Here.