Mari Orr

Chicago, Illinois

Interview with mari orr:


What do you consider your official line of work? 

Above all else, I’m an artist. I work in watercolors mainly, but also dabble quite heavily in oil painting, weaving, and modern calligraphy lettering. Besides creating, I also think of myself as an official Spreader of Kindness. I’m always thinking of the next way I can make somebody smile.


What do you draw vision from when it comes to creating an inspiring environment for you?

I want my workspace to emulate a museum of sorts — my own personal single-room museum of art and objects I find inspiring. For that reason, my walls are a blank, bright white, which lets the assortment of colors, shapes, and textures stand on their own. As chaotic as it appears, my workspace is a very calming place for me. There is definitely an underlying organization to everything in here.


What does your workspace say about you?

I’m creative, fun, colorful, and try not to take myself too seriously — I think my workspace accurately reflects that mindset. I always have about twenty projects in progress and a million ideas racing around in my head. The wall in front of my desk is ever-changing because of this. New inspiration and ideas go up, old ones are filed with completed projects. I am a very purposeful person though — I’m habitually early and like to have my days planned. I think this aspect of my personality is reflected in my workspace organization. 


What can you not live without on your desk?

I can’t live without SPACE on my desk. I’m a fan of spreading my supplies out while I’m in the process of creating. But, I have to make sure to clean up after every painting session because my desk has to be ready to accommodate my mess when the next urge to paint strikes. I dream about a desk that is large and square that I can work from on all sides…


What can people expect when visiting your workspace?

When people drop in, they can expect visual delight! I think my workspace is best taken in slowly and purposefully, letting your gaze linger on what catches your eye. You’ll probably see fresh flowers, a few bottles of water, the day’s to-do list, and open paint tubes. If I’m oil painting, the smell of solvents and additives will be sharp in the air. Depending on what kind of mood I’m in, you’ll hear me jamming to oldies, 90s era alt-rock, or classical music heavily focused in strings.


What is your theory of place as far as creative workspaces go?

I think the best creative workspaces are filled with natural light and the supplies you need at arm’s reach.   


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Melanie Abrantes