Connections Artist Spotlight
Mara Clawson, born in Seoul, Korea in 1992, is a self-taught artist who paints visual stories using soft pastels, oil pastels, as well as digital technology. Born with Familial Dysautonomia (FD), a rare genetic neurological disease, Mara’s art is a means for her to connect and express herself to others.
Interestingly, the inability to produce tears, a symptom of FD, has figured strongly in Mara’s art. Sensing how colors mix and combine are at the core of her art. Zooming in on her paintings reveals the richness of her colors and a patchwork of mesmerizing textural patterns and complex abstract compositions.
Mara’s artwork provides a refreshing perspective on the world, one infused with her desire to express her feelings and make others happy. Her work exudes the spirit of pure joy. Mara’s positive outlook, clear insights, and keen appreciation for human relationships influence her work, and her choice of subjects (people, animals, food, the environment) is often driven by her concerns for issues requiring the world’s attention and respect.
Mara’s work has exhibited in four museums and 15 galleries across the United States and has received many Nationals awards. Most recently, Mara’s soft pastels and oil pastels were selected by two different MoMA curators in National competitions for inclusion in the 2020 and 2021 Works On Paper exhibitions at the Long Beach Island Foundation, Long Beach, NJ. Mara is also the subject of the documentary film, Living Art, by David Rochkind of Ground Media, which premiered in six cities as a part of the 2019-2020 Reelabilities film festivals.
In Mara Clawson’s own words…
I LOVE THE COLORS. THE COLORS FROM YOUR HEART.
SOMETIMES IT SEEMS LIKE MY DRAWINGS JUST CAME OUT – OUT OF NOWHERE.
OTHER TIMES, I LIKE TO MAKE PICTURES THAT COME FROM MY IMAGINATION AND FROM MY HEART.
AND SOMETIMES MY PAINTINGS ARE ABOUT REALITY, IMPORTANT THINGS, OR JUST EVERYDAY THINGS.
I LOVE MIXING COLORS – IT MAKES ME WHO I AM. I KNOW MY WORK IS FINISHED WHEN THE COLORS GET ALONG.
I NEVER HAD TEARS IN MY LIFE BECAUSE I HAVE FD SINCE BIRTH – FAMILIAL DYSAUTONOMIA.
SO, MY PICTURES TELL HOW I FEEL. THEY BECOME A PART OF ME.
MY ART IS THE WAY PEOPLE GET TO KNOW ME.
PEOPLE TELL ME MY ART MAKES THEM HAPPY. I LIKE MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY.
REAL COURAGE IS – YOU FOLLOW YOUR HEART, WHATEVER PATH YOU TAKE.
I JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD AND DON’T GIVE UP.
ART IS MY LIFE. ART GIVES ME LOTS OF COURAGE AND MAKES ME HAPPY TO BE WHO I AM.