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Art & Life with Marissa Voytenko

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marissa Voytenko.

Marissa, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I always knew I was an artist. One of my earliest memories of coming to this realization was when I was five and I received a large set of colored pencils from my aunt. My childhood was spent living into this calling by drawing for hours in my room and taking every art class possible throughout my school years.

Once I was in college, I was never detoured from following my passion. My parents never led me to believe that there was a more practical profession to pursue. I was fortunate to have only their encouraging words and belief that “Marissa” was synonymous with “artist.” However, doubt has a way of weaseling in, even in the best of circumstances, and I soon came to believe that just being an artist was not enough.

I decided to attend graduate school and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Teaching from Boston University. Attending this program was one of the best decisions I have made and I do not regret getting a degree in teaching. However, I did realize several years into my teaching career that my real passion was to create. That was what really fed my soul.

Once I took the leap to paint full-time, the doors of opportunity swung wide open. I receive this as an incredible gift because I know that this is not the reality for so many who have sought to become full-time artists. The journey has not been without its challenges and I am still learning, but I know that I am doing what I was always meant to do.

I am grateful to have my artwork available in various galleries across the United States, including the Addington Gallery in Chicago and the Sarah Coe Design Studio in Glen Ellyn.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am an abstract encaustic painter. Though the medium of encaustic pre-dates that of oils, it is still a bit of a novelty. Encaustic is a wax-based painting medium that is applied while in its molten state. Subsequent layers are then bound together by heating the wax.

Much of my work seeks to address psychological, spiritual and ethical concerns. At the core of my work, I am always looking at these topics through the lens beauty and of truth. I find that abstract art has the ability to speak where my words fall short.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
For most of us, financial challenges are a reality and I walk with some trepidation when giving advice in this arena. I am not sure that I would have had the courage to take the leap as a full-time painter if it had not been the encouragement and financial support of my husband.

It might be counter-intuitive, but it is important to invest in good materials. If you want to produce strong work, then you need to have respect for your materials. Don’t buy the cheapest paint or substrate. Investing in your work tools will elevate your work and you will approach it differently. You may find that a tube of your favorite colored paint is worth more to you than two trips to Starbucks.

If creating really is your passion then stick with it. If the creating is more life-giving than your current routine, it may be time to reevaluate how you can make it more of a priority. That may or may not mean quitting your day job, but it does mean giving it more of your time and attention.

Lastly, take yourself and your work seriously. Call yourself an artist and live into that calling.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I currently have work up at both the Addington Gallery for the Open Territories exhibit (www.addingtongallery.com) as well as at the ZhouB Art Center for the Painting with Fire exhibit (www.zhoubartcenter.com/painting-with-fire-by-fusedchicago.html) that runs from Jan 7- Feb 8.

If you happen to be in Columbus, Ohio in the next month my artwork is in a show called It’s All Abstract at the Art Access Gallery (www.artaccessgallery.com) that runs through March 2.

You may also find my work at:

Addington Gallery, Chicago
Art Access Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
Anne Irwin Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Bee Street Studios, Dallas and Fort Worth, TX
Eisenhauer Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids and Douglas, MI
Veronique Wantz Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

Or, online at: marissavoytenko.com and follow me on Instagram!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Amanda Parsons (profile image)

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