Marise Maas, Artist (Melbourne AU) 

@marise_maas

Most of my inspiration comes from the ordinary and the everyday.  I've always been fascinated by the banal, and therefore like to glorify it. I like how unremarkable, ordinary things and situations become remarkable once you have a closer look.  It wasn't until I was living in Amsterdam for a few years, during the early and mid 90's, that I started painting full time.  The reason was because I was pretty poor in those years, doing all sort of shit jobs and the printmaking facilities were sometimes tricky to get my hands on.  I realised I could paint on anything I found and it was less fiddly and cheaper to organise. Especially at that age when you travel around a lot without much money. 

 The paintings I make are not really planned beforehand. I like to start without thinking too much, allowing for a subconscious moment of freedom when you forget yourself. It's rather meditative. But after the initial mark making, I'll stand back and look at it, I'll see something in it and paint whatever takes my fancy, this is when it's less meditative and a little fight with the composition and the lines. I don't aim to analyse it too much or be academic about it.  I work on many paintings at once, so that I don't overwork them too much. It's almost as if I'm using the canvas as a sketch book.  I'm not too interested in hiding mistakes because I find that they can become the best bit of a painting and you can't plan for these 'happy accidents'. 

 Horses reoccur a lot in my work. This stems from childhood. I was really into horses when I was young and finally owned a horse when we moved to Tasmania. It was my only form of transport until I got my drivers licence. I think a horse was probably also the first thing I ever drew.   Once I got a bit older, the horse obsession subsided somewhat and I became more interested in partying! However, the horse fascination remains and these days I may add horses to any scenario I want to paint about. 

I started using horses as stand-ins for people. This is because I find them more beautiful than people but also easier to draw. When I paint human figures, people sometimes read way too much into it or think it's all about them. When I'm probably just depicting an overheard conversation or a domestic banality from my own small world.  When I paint I feel less anxious and my thoughts are less dark. Maybe that's the reason why I concentrate on the everyday and the ordinary rather than overanalyse the profound problems of the world in my work.