When I was in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to catch up and visit the studio of one of my favorite Santa Barbara artists - Vanae Rivera....also known as Mary and The Machine.
Vanae is one of those individuals who you can just tell is on the edge of big change....she has been through a lot, experienced a lot of life and has come to a point where this education and life experience is rolling in her favor - big time. Not that she is getting a favor. The lady works hard. I have so much respect for artists who truly live an artist life...not apologizing for it, not shunning it, not conforming or changing for anyone's expectations. Just full-on embracing it...I wish I could have more of these qualities. It makes the work that much more honest.
I hope you enjoy the shots of MATM's studio space.....and my quick 5 question email "interview":
JHD: Hi Dolly...Thanks for letting me photograph your Studio space....its such a personal area and reflection of the artist and I am always kindof shocked when people are so generous in sharing....its almost sacred to me. How long have you been in this space and what does it mean to you?
MATM: i've had the studio for about 2 years now... always working on it and changing it up with used wood, found furniture, windows and old toys. I feel really lucky to have a place of my own to work in and share all my inspirations and collections It's my dirty little doll house and i f***ing love it.
JHD: Can you tell people where the name "Mary and The Machine" originates?
MATM: MARY AND THE MACHINE is a name i came up with when first starting my t-shirt line about 6 years ago. MARY is what i used to write when i was a little tagger back in the day... its also my middle name...(not real sly there). Its also a name that i have a lot of respect for. I grew up with the image of the Virgin Mary and Guadelupe in our house. I'm not catholic or anything but for me she represents life and Mother.
The MACHINE part of the phrase stands for the mechanical side of life that we rely on as humans. We are all dependent on machines whether you like it or not. Machines create. They are a source of force or energy. They are mothers of modern materials. I liked the juxtaposition of the 2 together. The natural and the mechanical. Light and the dark. We are all creators of something.
JHD: Lets talk dolls....dolls in stencil work, paintings, etc. Have you always been fascinated by these little ladies?
MATM: I love dolls. The creepier, the better. I had dolls growing up but gave that shit up to become more of a tomboy in my early teens. Started collecting again about 8 years ago. I love dolls because they are a replica of humans except they can't feel. I used to be jealous of them. But i think they are jealous of humans too. Most of the dolls I paint are mad or sad for that reason. They are starting to get a little happier but its for the wrong reasons. Happiness should come from within but most of them are hollow so they are unfortunately looking outside of themselves for a fix. I know how they feel.
JHD: You have your cute mitts in many pots - what is your favorite medium these days?
MATM: Right now I'm pretty much using ink and a brush on wood for most work. I still occasionally do bigger pieces it Montana spray paint. That shit is soo good. Its acrylic in a can. Solid. And i'm always working on new little stencils to make small quick art with so basically....i'm all over the place. Its more fun that way. I get bored. Sticking with one medium makes me feel like its homework. I don't like homework.
JHD: You have recently started to apprentice under Permanent Mark at Golden Eagle Tattoo in SB - how did this come about?
MATM: Speaking of homework...I got a lot to do in my new apprenticeship. I've been friends with P.M. for about 7 years now. He has shown me so many things that have shaped my whole art career at this moment. I did my first silk-screen with him years ago way before M.A.T.M. was born. He also introduced me to using ink and a brush. Always saying.. "don't be afraid to use your spit". I was just recently minding my own business as a part-time flower slave and he approached me with the idea to apprentice. I don't have the balls to ask for such an honor. Plus i'm like 100 years old now, (33 in human years), so who wants to teach an old bitch new tricks....well he did and I am down. I know its a hell of a process and a lot of information to attain. I'm in no hurry. And i'm not out to be the next sexy tattoo vixen. I'm happy being a nerdy shop bitch for however long the process takes. Its humbling. Thats the cool thing about being old, I don't take myself to seriously...(any more).
JHD: thanks for your time and for sharing your rad world xxxxxxx
MATM: hearts, v
a MATM piece in downtown SB
MATM in my house ♥
all photos by janel holiday design.
Soundtrack for this amazing woman and her talent is one of my favorite manipulator's of
children's toys for music...CocoRosie: