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The Beauty of Colorful Abstract Art Mistakes: An Interview with Mallory Sherman

Updated: Feb 4

Mallory Sherman in front of her art

Artist Mallory Sherman wants to remind you that you don't need fancy supplies to have fun creating colorful abstract art. While studying Marketing at the University of Pittsburgh, Mallory started creating a picture a day as an outlet for self-expression. Her bold, multimedia art quickly gained the attention of art enthusiasts. In the following interview with Selfless Art, Mallory offers advice to other emerging artists who want to experience the joy of a regular creative practice.

Q: Can you talk a bit about your background, and what led you to pursue art professionally?

A: Junior year of college, I felt like I was missing something in life. Although I had friends to socialize with and enjoyed my studies, something felt absent from my life. Eventually, the semester came to a close and I returned home for winter break. I sat alone in my room on a cold December day, bored out of my mind. I needed something to fill my time, so I thought back to how I used to entertain myself as a child (I was in my childhood home, after all). I used to love to create. Every free moment I had, I would paint, play with clay, color with crayons, or sew. That all changed once I entered high school. I stopped doing anything artistic completely, and that remained true until that cold December day.

From that day going forward, I made it a goal to draw one picture a day over my winter break. When January 1, 2023 came, I made it a New Year’s goal to keep pursuing art throughout the whole year. I started with pencil drawings, then ink drawings (black & white), acrylic paint, watercolor, and eventually paint sticks. In April, I combined my paint stick paintings with digital mirroring effects to create a final art print. This is my current practice. I fell in love with the creation process. I feel like the absence from my life is filled by my creation time. I gained an outlet of self-expression. Through the creation of various designs, characters, and patterns I continuously learn more and more about my own personal capabilities. I am now happier than ever.

A black and white ink drawing

Creature Craig Dimension: 16 in x 16 in

Price: $800.00

Q: What does your work aim to say?

A: Just like the mirrored nature of my art tricks and intrigues the human eye, I aim to question and trick the barriers associated with art creation. I want to show through my work that anyone has the ability to express their own personal creativity. You don’t need the fanciest and most expensive materials to start. Through any creative expression media, the area of self-doubt arises. I want to show through my art the beauty of mistakes. Often, my final art product does not turn out the way my original vision planned it to look. I want to show that it is okay to deviate from your original idea. Plan, experiment, adapt, and change. I aim to inspire others to get in touch with their creative side. Start with a pencil and paper, craft paint, clay, yarnwhatever catches your attention. Just start creating and the rest will follow. Trust yourself and trust your visionthe rest will fall into place.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: I find inspiration through listening to music, looking at nature, spending time with friends and loved ones, and through the work of other artists. Cartoons, specifically the ones I used to watch as a child, influence my work as well. I love the bold and outlandish style choices created in cartoons. I also find inspiration from looking at the trinkets that decorate my desk. Each trinket has sentimental value to me, and each is associated with a different memory. Everything on my desk makes me happy and smile because it reminds me of my friends and loved ones.

Bold black and white drawing

Colored Removed Dimension: 16 in x 16 in Price: $800.00

Q: How do you handle creative blocks or moments of self-doubt?

A: Whenever I am experiencing a creative block, I switch to a different medium. If I am feeling stuck with watercolor, I switch to paint sticks. If I feel stuck with paint sticks, I go back to ink drawing. Sometimes, that does not work. Sometimes I just need a break. There have been times where I took a couple days, a week, even three weeks off from doing anything art related. Art should be fun and enjoyable. If it no longer is, something needs to change. Sometimes a little break gives the recharge needed to discover new inspiration and joy.

For moments of self-doubt, my friends and loved ones serve as great supporters. Sometimes, I need to get out of my own head and talk out my inner feelings. I am so fortunate to have a support system of friends and loved ones to be there for me in these times of needed listening. I would never have gained the courage to keep creating and sharing my work without the love and support from these special people in my life. I am forever thankful.

Vibrant, colorful art with wavy lines

Confetti River Dimension: 16 in x 16 in Price: $800.00

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: Continuing to experiment with paint and digital media. I want to create larger scale works and move into the realm of mural creation. I am currently learning how to animate video and produce short films. My next goal is to turn my artwork into an immersive experience through video animation, transition, and corresponding sound. Overall, I am just going to continue building on and learning about what I enjoy mostmaking art!

Q: What advice would you give aspiring artists?

A: Keep creating and keep experimenting. Enjoy the art process and have fun with creating as a whole. Do not let the fear of making a mistake hold you back. Just go for it, try out a new media, try a new technique with your favorite medium, and create whatever makes you happy.

Colorful art

Flower Love

Dimensions: 16 in x 16 in

Price: $800.00

Q: Is there any news or a forthcoming exhibition that you can tell us about?

A: Recently, I had four pieces in the “Aural” Exhibition from Wick Monet. This show explored how music listening influences artistic creation. With each submission, a playlist of songs listened to while creating can be viewed alongside the corresponding piece. Show attendees viewed the submitted works and had the ability to listen to the playlists that the artist listened to while creating. This was a month-long exhibition on display until October 24th. One of my piece submissions was featured on the exhibition poster (see image below).

Aural Wick Monet exhibition poster

Starting on October 21st, I will have four pieces and 28 prints on display for an emerging artist exhibition at Atithi Studios. On opening night, I will be giving an artist talk along with two other featured artists. This is a one-month long exhibition on display until November 21st. One of my pieces was chosen as the background for the exhibition poster (see image below).

Poster advertising a gallery installation for artists aged 16-24.

I was recently interviewed by People of the Print after being accepted into their artist membership collective.

Find more of Mallory's bold art online at the Gallery of Mallory and Instagram (@galleryof.mallory).


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