Johannesburg-based artist Mariette Bergh specialized in painting and sculpture at The National School of the Arts and afterwards studied art direction at Vega. Her studies in visual communication led to six years of working at various magazines as graphic designer and art director, before going back to her beginnings and pursuing art full-time.
Mariette loves the feeling of being an explorer most. She says, “In my previous job things were predictable, I knew what I was supposed to do and what was expected of me. It was too monotonous and I craved having the rug pulled from under my feet so that I can experience free fall independence. I’ve never really liked being told what to do.”
Being both a painter and an illustrator, Mariette says that she enjoys painting in a technique that imitates drawing, or doodling. She explains, “When I was in school, I had a tendency to draw realistically which irritated me because it felt too boring. Doodles always had more character and I guess that’s something I try to achieve with my paintings.”
Reverse-glass is Mariette’s favourite medium, which she loves to mix up by combining it with other materials. She is currently experimenting with oils on wood along with reverse-glass and says she’ll organize her next exhibition as soon as she’s got it figured out. We can’t wait!
Often using hand-painted words and phrases in her work, it’s no surprise that Mariette counts music, poetry and writings as her biggest influence. She filled us in, “A collection starts with something, an experience, attitude, feeling or a personal philosophy of some sort that comes alive when coupled with a piece of music that resonates, be it the lyrics, melody or both. Probably both.
As old school as this may sound, artists that I keep going back to are Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Jim Morrison. And more reading ensues – books, essays, poems – anything loosely based on the subject. Being someone that finds it hard to find the words for something, this process helps me a lot because for me the images start off as energy that gain shape through words. As soon as an image starts to build I then try to find the best way to illustrate it.”
Find more from Mariette at mariettebergh.com.