M'KIS Artist Spotlight: Making Magic with Mariah 

We have a thriving community of creative teachers and students at M'KIS  — from painters and illustrators, to sculptors and dancers.

Today, we're shining the spotlight on one of our brilliant M'KIS artists, Mariah. Mariah has been an artist almost since she could hold a pencil, and she draws inspiration from the world around her. We interviewed her to find out a bit more about her style, where she finds her endless creativity, and why she thinks art is such an important outlet for everyone. To see more of Mariah's artwork, find her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/scrumptious.serotonin/.

Thanks for sharing your incredible work with us, Mariah! Now let's get to the Q & A. 

How did you first get into art? Was it always something you were interested in, or is it a recent passion?

I’ve been drawing since I was 7. It started off as silly little traced pieces of my toys but then it became something much bigger. In 2015, it turned into a more frequent hobby, and then in 2017, it was just a part of my identity.

Left: "Breakfast Buddies." I’m a big fan of Watcher Ent.’s show Weird (and/or) Wonderful World and this drawing was for an episode about them going to a breakfast place. This took longer than I’m willing to admit but It’s one of the pieces I’m proudest of.

Right: "A Little Picnic In Their Minecraft World ." This is one of my favorite pieces, and it took a few days to draw. The two characters are from the game Super Danganronpa II: Goodbye Despair, and it’s based on the “strawberry and black dress” meme on social media.

Tell us a little bit about your process and the materials, tools, or technology you use.

I use an iPad Pro and an apple pen for my work. I used to use my fingers but I’ve gotten used to using a stylus. I use programs like Medibang and Ibispaint because they’re simple and free to use. Pieces can usually take up to 6 hours if we exclude the multiple breaks I take when making them.  

Where do you get the inspiration for your artwork from?

I’m inspired mostly by people. Whether characters from an anime to real-life figures I admire.

Left: "Mouse Madej and The Hummingbird ." This piece took the longest, using up to 7-8 hours in a few sittings. I made this as an entry to a Discord server’s weekly challenges. The prompt of the challenge was “Mouse Madej," a little inside joke within the community. This is definitely my proudest and my personal favorite piece because of how much I learned while making it.

Right: "Who Are You? " This piece was posted on my Instagram with a little filter and gold text saying “Who Are You?” This took a few hours to make and it’s a drawing of one of Ryan Bergara’s (host of Buzzfeed Unsolved) persona Ricky Goldsworth. This was a hard piece since it involved a lot of matching colors and making the piece look as clean as possible.

What role does art play in your life? Is it something you do to relax, to connect with others, to escape, etc.?

Art is my main hobby. Because of art, I’ve been able to join different communities, make some incredible friends and create a world for escapism. Art has done a lot for me.

Why is art important to you?

 Art has been engraved into my whole being. It’s funny and sad in a way. Art is a helpful coping mechanism of mine and it has helped me understand myself as a person.

"Watch out for The Wall Man ."  This piece was based on an episode of the show "Are You Scared?" where the two hosts read a story about the creature named The Wall Man. This piece is on the somewhat lazier side since the line art isn’t as clean, and it contains a monochromatic scheme. But the messier nature makes it all the more horrifying, I think.

What have the art classes or programs at M’KIS been like for you? What have you learned?

Art classes at M’KIS have made me walk out of my comfort zone. From people to birds and to buildings. It makes me more versatile as an artist, whether with painting or pencil sketches. And I even felt more confident as a person in those classes because of how supportive my teachers were.

"Snowflake: A New Musical." This was made in one sitting and I had a lot of fun with this piece. This was a gift for this musical actor that I really admired. He was making a musical called Snowflake and I was interested in making some art for it.