Hello!

Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

A Moment With | Mari Andrew

A Moment With | Mari Andrew

Today's A Moment With is a pretty special one - we are such big fans of Mari Andrew's work, it's an absolute delight to have her on Hunter & Folk! Mari, who is an Illustrator and an Author, considers what she does for work an absolute dream. And it's easy to understand why. Mari's captivating and whimsical illustrations and musings have captured the hearts of many for their innocence and honesty, which we all find extremely relatable and touching. We caught up with Mari to find out how her journey began, where her musings will often come to mind and how she is passionate about a billion things, all at once.

Mari Andrew for Passerbuys94.jpg

Hi Mari, tell us a little about the journey to where you are today? I've always been very expressive! I was lucky to grow up in a funny, adventurous family who valued art and music and travel. I was an only child and my parents gave me so many unusual experiences as a child, which fueled my wonder and curiosity - I had a lot of time alone to read and journal as well. I never had a clear career goal, but writing was always an essential practice for my personal expression and emotional processing. When I finally began writing for a living - I consider my illustrations ('writing') it made so much sense. I already had about 25 years of experience under my belt!

When did your love for illustrating first strike? I love the medium of illustration so much. I really loved the drawings in children’s books and I’ve been drawn to visual books as I’ve gotten older, but I didn’t think I could really do it because I’m not very good at drawing! I failed the only drawing class I ever took, and never thought I had a distinctive style.

“I think when you get a bit older, you care less about being ‘good’ and you just do what you like.”

I started illustrating regularly when I was 28 and, because I do it every single day, I’ve developed a style which continues to evolve. It’s really enjoyable.

20160902112755065[1] (dragged).jpg

When do your wonderful musings which accompany your illustrations most commonly come to mind? They often come to mind as I’m walking, which is why going on long walks is a very important part of my day! Walking while listening to music and thinking about what’s going on in my life are the two ingredients for an illustration.

“I’ll think about conversations, memories, and feelings, and they all come together at once to form an idea. Sometimes it takes a little longer to figure out how to express that idea visually, but that’s the fun part.”

The honestly and whimsy in your work certainly strikes a chord with your followers on Instagram… so many have such a big connection to your work. Why do you think it's so relatable? It’s hard for me to have perspective on that, because I’m just doing something that comes very naturally to me - writing and drawing moments from my life. I never set out to be relatable; I think humans are just all a lot more alike than we realise. 

“I’m one specific person with a life story that I think is not very common at all, but at least one person relates to what I have to say every day. I still think that’s pretty wild.”
mari_travel.jpg

What do you love most about your job? My job is such a dream. I'm so lucky that I have a large platform where I can express myself. As someone who spent years writing to no one, it’s such a privilege to have people who have essentially signed up to hear what I have to say.

“It makes me want to be better and bolder; it’s very empowering and gives me a lot of space to explore my own creativity.”

How do you create your illustrations - are they planned or created on a whim? Both! They come to me in all forms - sometimes as a very quick note, or as an essay that took years to write and now must be distilled into a little square comic. That’s the fun of it. Ideas both sneak up on me and at other times I sneak up on them. Some I’m timid to share, and some practically share themselves. It’s always different and I’m grateful for that element of surprise.

20160902112755065[1] (dragged) 2.jpg

They us a little about your daily routine - what does a typical day involve for you? I wake up around 7:30am - always trying to make this earlier - and I make my bed, wash my face, write a list of things and people I’m grateful for, and then make coffee and eat toast while reading for a little while.

I work only on weekdays, and from about 9am to 4pm. It’s very structured. I get on the train and go to my office like a normal person! Most of my work day is administrative, so I need to have that order to my day. If I’m drawing for a freelance project, I do that at my office too. It’s so not the fabulous bohemian lifestyle I once dreamt of, but it works well for me.

I try to do yoga or a dance class every day in the afternoon, and then come home and make dinner or go out. I do all my drawings for Instagram either at late night or early morning hours. I’m most raw and in-tune with myself at those hours. They’re almost always fueled by coffee or wine!

20160902113742535[1] (dragged).jpg

What are you most passionate about? I’m passionate about a billion things. I think I live very passionately in general; I’m very happy and grateful to be alive and I want to live as vibrantly and fully as possible. My therapist told me I’m like a bee who needs to land on every flower; I just need to try it all! I’m passionate about flamenco, the color magenta, New York, Brazil, my friends, great food, and the perfect hair product. I’m also very passionate about everyone having equal opportunity to flourish. My heart is for people who feel like they’ve been forgotten, and people who feel lonely. Some loneliness can be alleviated through art but I plan to work for real change to alleviate loneliness for people on the margins of society. 

What do you love most about living in New York? I love so much about living in New York, especially the ordinary magical moments I see everywhere, every day. But my favourite thing now is how cinematic it looks in the cooler weather. It looks like old books and movies, and I love that.

Your favourite illustration you’ve created so far? My favorite illustrations are the ones I make for my family and friends because they’re made with so much direct love. The illustrations I create for Instagram are for myself, so it’s really nice to create something out of love for someone else. 

What are you looking forward to in 2018? Going to Australia! It’s my dream come true.


FULL STOP


I usually wake up at: 7:15am.

My perfect day would involve: A long walk in a new city.

I am inspired by: Tropical cities.

Best advice I’ve ever received: Keep a journal.

I couldn’t live without: My mom.

My favourite daily ritual: My evening glass of wine.

I recently discovered: How to be assertive about what I want in a relationship.

On my wish-list: A really luxurious, comfy bed.

I’m currently reading: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

And listening to: A lot of Broadway showtunes! 

My guilty pleasure: Not guilty, but I listen to a lot of podcasts about parenting, which is a bit embarrassing because I don’t have kids! I think it’s just fascinating to learn about a world that is so foreign to me.

My mantra is: Turn toward the light.


Thank you Mari! | Mari Andrew | @mariandrew


+ Mari Andrew's new book Am I There Yet? is available now from all good book sellers.

+ Photos of Mari Andrew by Clémence Polès.

In Focus | This Is Home by Natalie Walton

In Focus | This Is Home by Natalie Walton

In Focus | Fonda by Studio Esteta

In Focus | Fonda by Studio Esteta