It was back in 2011 in my home town of Fort Lauderdale when my boss asked me to step in as a guest artist at a live painting event, sponsored by TOMS shoes. I had been planning to work during the event, called the 'Style Your Sole' party… but after one of the artists failed to show up my boss needed to find a replacement in the spur of the moment.
Initially, I turned down the opportunity, because I had never painted in front of a crowd before. I will admit that I had some nervousness in my gut about putting myself and my art out there in front of an audience in real time. But something in me was pushing me forward. I overcame my fear, and decided to participate as a guest artist in the event. The party turned out to be a lot of fun and a great learning experience for me. After the party, friends and family quickly began hitting me up with requests for custom shoes. So I decided to devote more of my free time to developing 'The Art of 7Mary', and it only grew from there. Today I've painted well over 100 pairs of shoes for customers all over the US and Norway.
Although I have been creating custom shoes since 2011, I still feel that each shoe is a journey. I learn something new with every pair I paint and if it's a subject I don't feel comfortable painting, I practice on paper until I'm comfortable enough to pick up a paint brush. With a lot of practice and patience, I'm learning to turn my painting weaknesses into strengths. There are days when I just have to walk away from a project and come back when I have a different perspective and fresh eyes.
As an artist I've always been inspired by music, therefore the majority of my shoes are music or festival related. Many of my customers (myself included) attend music festivals and shows and want custom shoes to go along with them. My favorite thing about painting shoes for people in the electronic music scene is finally getting to meet them and sharing the excitement for their one-of-a-kind shoes.
Back in high school I would draw portraits of Kurt Cobain and paint oil paintings of the electronic music group, The Prodigy. The first pair of shoes I ever painted for myself were a pair of yellow Prodigy themed Toms.
Those shoes were really the catalyst for focusing my shoes on music, festivals, and other dance music events like Holy Ship and The Groove Cruise. I've attended each Holy Ship since the inaugural sailing in 2012. I've met so many people (including my husband) on Ship who have become my best friends and the network just continues to grow and grow. The majority of my customers are shippers or friends of shippers. It's been great word of mouth for 7MaryArt!
There is nothing like Holy Ship! You're on a luxury cruise ship for 3 days, no cell phone signal, around the clock parties and the boat is filled with the most open minded, genuine, and free spirited people just vibing out. It's different from a land festival because we have what's called 'Shipfam'. When you attend Holy Ship the only other people that can truly understand the caliber of the Ship and your experiences are your fellow Shipfam and it creates this tight bond between a group of like minded people. It's really hard to sum up Holy Ship because it's so special and unique in so many ways.
My favorite type of music to listen to while working on shoes is DRUM AND BASS! But, I don’t limit myself to one genre for inspiration. When I'm listening to an artist or a band and their sound is distinguishable and I can feel the passion in their music, that's something I feed off of. In the future, I would love to see 7MaryArt grow bigger within the music scene, especially within the dance music community since I'm so involved in it. My goal for the future is to own an eclectic store selling footwear, bags, and other accessories that can be fully customized by myself or other future members of 7MaryArt.