Mar, Art Director
We met Mar through our badass #Girlboss Julia Meyer. She mentioned that we should talk to him because he was brilliant. One conversation led to another and here we are.
Getting to know Mar and understanding his work has truly been all-around inspiring and one of our favorite conversations. You can tell through his interview that he is so passionate about the world around him and how he boldly identifies as a feminist. #YAS
Get to know our first male Spotlight, Mar below -
Were you always a creative growing up? Tell us about your journey into this space?
Growing up in Brooklyn, brought up in a Caribbean household made being a creative slightly unacceptable. My mother is from a small town in Haiti; she always had dreams of me being a doctor, lawyer, or something along those lines, and was never fond of anything else as she didn't understand. It took a long time for her to see the Return on Investment I was making through my creative processes. However, my subconscious knew who I was before I did. I always had an interest in fashion, specifically sneaker culture, and a general gravitation to anything well designed. I remember wearing skinny jeans in the 8th grade some time in 2005, and being teased for it. A few years later the style blew up and everyone caught on-- All the while, I simply wore them out of comfort. It seemed as if those around me caught onto the things I did way after I had discovered and accepted what was considered "cool."
My first shot at something creative was my Junior year of High School. I started a brand called "Rotten Apple" with a few friends that were also New York Natives. However, it fell short due to the cost of printing our graphics (16-17 year old kids aren’t necessarily pulling in bank to afford printing services). Fast forward to Junior year in College - I started a new brand with other friends called "RSM." After deciding what we'd sell, I decided to give the brand a true identity by creating the brand's look book. I naturally directed the photo shoot by styling the product on friends we got to model for us, and picking a location for the look book to take place: an abandoned grain factory in Red Hook, New York.
That was the turning point for me.
Everything sold out, but differences with one partner ended the vision for me to continue. Just a year after that, I picked up a 35mm film camera as a hobby. That hobby later introduced me to one of the many things I love, which is producing my own content. I started building my portfolio, working with recording artists on their music videos, and created a few editorials in fashion magazines and online publications. The following year, which has led me to where I am today, taught me a lot about the process of how being discovered works. I curated my first art show “BLU,” which is part of an ongoing Color Concept Series I decided to embark on. "BLU" was my introduction to the art world. Along with the fashion projects I've worked on, I have curated two shows and two exhibits leading up to “How Would She Feel?" Debuting on June 30, 2017.
What about always a feminist? Or did the election influence the current direction of your art?
I’ve always been a feminist because systematic oppression is directly aimed at me, and people like me. The fight for equality is a struggle I have endured my entire life. How could I not be a feminist? I have sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and friends who are all incredible women and deserve to receive the same opportunities and considered for the same positions as men. However, the election was a catalyst in my fight together with those strong women in my life.
Lets dig deeper into your upcoming show "How Would She Feel." Can you tell us its concept and what you hope others get out of it?
“How Would She Feel” is a psychological and intellectual response to the current political state through art. A cast comprised solely of female artists are positioned to express and showcase their experiences, emotions, and responses to the 45th President of The United States of America. The concept was birthed from the “What happened, Miss Simone?” Documentary on Netflix. I felt moved to free Nina Simone, the main character of the documentary. Watching her put an emphasis on feeling trapped and wanting to escape encouraged me to do something for women, and to be able to pay tribute, respects, and free them in a new way. I shared this idea with my friend, Nicole Callender, and she decided to join my stand by sharing her time with the production of this project. She is the Co-Curator of “How Would She Feel.” Together, we wish to take a stand, unite people, and raise awareness. We are also raising funds for Breast Cancer Awareness and ACLU, and hoping our visitors are kind enough to help us raise funds by making a donation.
Many have been turning to art as a form of protest. What's your advice on developing such a movement for those out there wanting to make a difference?
If you want to make a difference, JUST DO IT.
Don’t sit thinking too much. Most of us are hindered by fear - defeat your fears and exercise your courage with execution. I find it pivotal to be the change you seek, and not wait for others to take a stand. I encourage everyone to just try, even if you fail, you’ll learn. Lastly, the most important tip I can offer anyone, is to pick up a hobby. You never know what you’ll learn about yourself through practice and dedication.
So are you an artist and a producer?
This is always very difficult for me to answer. The first reason is because I find labels very limiting. My deepest fear is limitation, glass ceilings, and confinement. So, I tend to avoid labeling myself. When I first started everyone called me a stylist, and I dreaded every introduction starting with “meet my friend, he’s a really great stylist!" I felt insulted and trapped. I am not just a stylist, I am an Art Director with a focus in curating.
Another reason I wouldn’t call myself just an artist is because I put artists on a pedestal. It requires a lot of practice hours, dedication, and discipline. In my opinion, artists are highly ranked and respected, a mindset I wish to return to mine, and generations to come. I’m always frustrated with everyone labeling themselves a stylist, photographer, or designer. Everyone seems to have forgotten how much respect it requires to be granted such labels, and I don’t think people understand those same titles anymore - especially Millennials. However, when it comes down to it the only title I'd like to label myself as, it'd be an Art Director, like my Idol, George Lois. As far as "artist," that I am not. I am an artist in practice, and only by chance my debut to the world as something close to artistry will be with my first solo show, “CODE RED” coming in 2018.
What's next for you, Mar?
Understanding the politics of the art world. I am going back to school for my Master of Fine Arts and hope to be better educated on business and production. I am in the process of producing a few shows, exhibitions, and editorials to bump up my portfolio and apply for a scholarship. I also intend on producing a boat load of content and collaborating with others that I respect and admire. I have some time this Summer and wish to use it collaborating and producing. I am advising everyone to find me, and connect with me.
**Spotlight photo taken by Jess Voss
Introduction by Chary + Interview by Emily