On May 13, 2014 by Michelle Lepori


I first met Mary Delioussina in an large Santa Monica Airport hangar. She and I collaborated later on, after our souls touched in Santa Monica. She was creating a drool-dripping tongued, basket-carrying fox-fish drawing on one of my mud colored canvases. I’ve never forgotten her; that collaboration brought life to my dirt and grime. Delioussina creates with a unique, polished, dark whimsy. It’s done in a quiet, kick your ass, awesome sort of way. I was lucky to catch her, because Mary is stealthy and always busy.

Right now, you can find her delicious doodles at The Hive Gallery in Downtown LA. It is the “Line Attack III” show and goes till May 31. Or if interactive fairy tales are more interesting, the gorgeously illustrated and musically accompanied storybook app called Metalalia will soon be launching. Mary is lending her eerie solemnity to “The River Girl” interface. I recommend hitting up Centaur Art Collective’s newest project, “PRIZM : Scale and Suspension.” It’s a varied group of illustrators, sculptors, musicians, photographers and fine artists– they are the best in cutting-edge Los Angeles art. Teaming up with Almost Holden Collective for a gallery/gift-shop/interactive installation– it’s fresh blood in our Botox City.

Mary will be presenting a large, complicated creature in a painting with peepholes and secrets to tell. It is her largest work to date. Oliver Deutsch will be performing live music set to visual projections in a partnership with Miss Delioussina. May 17th from 6pm-2am in Santa Monica is where you want to be to see the gorgeous work of Delioussina, and to hear Mezua, Dream Panther, Beast Explosion, and Nirvanus.

I interviewed Mary so you all could get to know her a bit before the show.

Describe yourself, please. Let the reader get a broad understanding of who/what you are:

I’m Mary Delioussina and I make things with my hands like, illustrations, graphics, doodles, crafts, and whatever else seems fun or challenging.

So where are you from and where do you live and is there any kind of journey you took to get there?

I was born in Moscow, Russia. My dad got a job in Los Angeles so we moved when I was a kid. I still live in LA and visit Russia often.

When did you start making art? Why did you start?

I started as a kid because isn’t that what all kids do? I just never stopped.

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Did anyone encourage or support your artistic growth? Any discouragement that you have experienced and overcome?

My childhood was pretty amazing. My mother is a folk artist and held art classes at our home to make extra money when I was growing up. We would paint, draw still-lifes, and sculpt every week for many years. My dad works in animation with a core group of friends who are all incredible artists that would be down to play and draw with a little girl. I’ve been really blessed for the immense support and encouragement from my friends and family then and now.

Tell me about the evolution of your artistic style. How would you describe your style? Who influenced your style?

I was exposed to and ate up lots of animation, illustrated children’s books, and my parents’ huge collection of art books growing up. I’m not sure how I developed my style; I just drew a lot and experimented.

Describe your relationship with illustration, where did you pick up the style, what does it mean to you and how does it influence your work:

I don’t know if illustration is so much a style as it is simply storytelling through images. I love all kinds of folklore for the archetypal characters and themes that anyone can relate to. Some of my favorite illustrations that I’ve made have been glimpses into bizarre worlds that follow surreal logic yet still tell a somewhat familiar story.

Is there any favorite local galleries or hangout spots that you want to share with the readers? Any special club, group or place you find artistic camaraderie? What makes them so great?

I’ve been part of the Centaur Art Collective for the past few years. Everyone in the group is so varied creatively and together we put on crazy, eclectic, and immersive shows at venues across LA.


Any local teachers or schools that you went to, that are apart of your artistic journey?

In high school, I had several family artist friends who would mentor and do drawing and painting workshops with me. I’ve had a good handful of professors at Santa Monica College who pushed me and challenged me individually. Currently, I am working with a fabulous graphic designer in Silverlake, learning more about how to channel what I do into something useful for others and learning about the business of freelance.

Do you have any projects you are working on, shows that are upcoming, ideas/hopes/dreams/projects that are in the works?

Right now I’m working on a few freelance gigs, collaborating and scheming with my Centaurs, doing some personal projects, and feeling stoked for the future. BG Gallery in Santa Monica opened up a cart on the Promenade and will be selling some of my crafts, like painted matchboxes, nesting dolls, pendants, and other tiny things. Some of my paintings and drawings are / will be hanging at a few galleries around LA. Right now I’m on the cusp of lots of potentially exciting happenings that I don’t want to jinx!

PRIZM_webWhat medium and materials do you like to use and why? Anything cool you are into and want to share with readers? Gaga for Gouache? Amazed by acrylic? etc:

My favorite materials to use are ink, watercolor, and gouache because they are so satisfying to use and manipulate. When making graphics, I scan in my work to clean it up and colorize it using Photoshop and Illustrator. But I don’t like to limit myself so I can be found playing around with all kinds of materials and techniques. You can make something cool out of anything, really.

Describe your relationship to your environment and nature: How does your location inspire your artwork?

My favorite place in the world is the countryside outside of Moscow. Beautiful birch, oak, and pine forests that lead their own secret, mystical lives. When I’m there, I don’t make very much artwork, mostly just play around and take tons of photos. The feelings that the place gives me last as inspiration for a long time after. Los Angeles is great for all the creative people who work hard with determination. That sort of energy keeps me motivated to keep moving forward.

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