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Check out Mary Qian’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Qian.

Mary, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I am from Shanghai, China. I studied animation and painting in collage. I came to Chicago for an animation job. At the same time, I discovered a painting club, called Palette and Chisel. It became my second home, and I realized painting is my real passion. I decided to leave my job to paint full time in 2008. Since then, I almost paint every waking moment.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My favorite subject is people. I love to paint portraits. People from daily life are my true inspirations. they can be my family, friends, or strangers. It is such an old subject, but in my opinions, it will never go away.

Today, our life is filled with all sorts of media, entertainment. People’s attention span become shorter. It is hard for a traditional realism hold its own stand. But I believe if it is done right, a simple face can still not only capture the viewers for moments but also touch their heart for long term. The great portraits usually combine the spirits of the sitters and the painters, have lives of their own. My goal is creating something could have such impact,

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I came from a different country. Most full-time artists there are teachers or working for the government in one way or another. Art is less commercial.

I have many artists friends here. No matter how successful they are, most of them have to balance between making a living and creating something purely for art sake. The time is spitted among earning money, learning new things, and creating real art. I feel there never is enough time.

I always feel the pity that I couldn’t devote all my time to create what I want the most. Probably the city could create more creative and artistic jobs.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I exhibit my paintings in varieties art galleries. Legacy gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, Saks gallery in Denver, CO. Reinert Fine Art gallery in Charleston SC. and Howard Mandville gallery in Washington.

Currently I have an exhibition with another artist Miguel Malagon in the John H Vanderpoel Art Association. It is from 4/29-6/3. I paint at Palette and Chisel every Monday and Tuesday. So welcome to stop by. Appreciating art is the best support for all artists.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Palette and chisel art academy
  • Website:
  • Phone: 7737421887
  • Email:

Image Credit:
Miguel Malagon

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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