Mardi Cavana

Meet the artist: Mardi Cavana

My friend Mardi is one of the nicest damn people you will ever meet.

BUT GUESS WHAT? She’s also a talented artist who has recently started exhibiting her work.

Read on to find out more about Mardi Cavana.

How long have you been working as an artist? Do you have a ‘day job’?

I’m a UX designer by day and have a background in print and digital design, so I’ve always been creative in my work. I’ve been illustrating on and off for the past ten years, and painting now for the last three years. My day job keeps me busy so I mostly paint in the evenings and on weekends.

What lies beneath, acrylic on canvas

Do you teach?

I don’t currently teach but I would like to eventually build towards running some workshops in either painting or illustration. I feel like I need to feel more confidence in my own process before taking the step towards teaching others. 

What do you draw/paint?

I paint abstract urban scenes inspired by my home and neighbourhood in the suburbs of Sydney’s Inner West. Because my job is very structured and planned, I like to work straight onto the canvas with little sketching or planning beforehand. This allows me to truly embrace the freedom of abstraction and let my intuition steer my work. I predominantly work in light colours with layers of pinks, yellows, blues, greys and gold or copper. I use a mix of soft and hard brushstrokes to capture the variety of textures and to give a sense of depth. 

After the rain, acrylic on canvas

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the beauty I see in everyday scenes of urban decay and degradation. My phone is filled with photos from my wanderings around the neighbourhood – close-ups of texture, peeling paint on walls, layers of posters on telegraph poles, street signs and rusty stains from rain. I think of it as ‘magic in the mundane’ and I love taking these seemingly mundane elements and portraying them in unexpected and beautiful colours. I’m that person walking along the street taking photos of the most random things. 

Do certain places inspire you?

Yes, I find being near water the most inspiring. Whether it’s the ocean, walking the bay run or even the shower, there has always been something about the water that stills the noise of my brain and lets the creativity flow through. If I’m ever blocked creatively I’ll take myself off to (ideally) the beach and go for a long walk, get my toes wet and some sand on the feet. 

Mardi Cavana
Inner West ramblings

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m a little overloaded with ideas at the moment so I’m taking the Christmas break to work on a variety of things. 

To start with I’ll be working on refining my painting style – integrating colours I’ve not before experimented with and broadening my palette, as well as working on larger canvases. I’ll be rolling this into a collection of canvases that I’m hoping to show at The Other Art Fair if I’m chosen to exhibit there again next year.

I’m also working on a collection of black and white illustrations – focusing on iconic buildings and places around the inner west – and these will be on paper. 

My other love is nudes, and I’m planning to roll out a collection of these however I’m yet to decide if they’ll be on canvas or paper. Time will tell. 

Only in my dreams

Where can people buy your work?

I’ve just finished showing at The Other Art Fair in Sydney and am hoping to be selected for the next one in March 2020. I’m currently looking out for some gallery representation so if you know any who might be interested, let me know. 

My work is available online via my personal website or on Bluethumb Art. I’m also hoping to get some presence in some local boutiques around Sydney so keep your eyes out.

Mardi Cavana
Photo credit: Bree Bain

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