Marlana Adele Vassar is a Pittsburgh-area artist and University of Pittsburgh alum (2006). Largely self-taught as an artist, Vassar’s philosophy of balancing style and substance has attracted a diverse audience to her work. Using figures as the primary subjects, she weaves symbolism and surrealism throughout her art, creating images that are personal yet open to interpretation.
Vassar began her career as a graphic designer with the intention to move into game design, however a series of personal events turned her focus to the world of fine art. Since 2008, her work has been featured nationwide in museums, galleries and public projects. Known for her sumptuous style and attention to detail, Vassar has earned numerous accolades for her images. Her most recent accomplishments include a fellowship award with the August Wilson Center, as well as a TALL grant award from Gateway to the Arts.
One of my beliefs is that life is about the journey, and not the destination. With each piece I start out with a crisp concept, and through each sitting the image will get further away from what I originally intended. The execution ends with a piece containing deep personal meaning, so with each creation there is a meditative exercise involved. As I’ve progressed in my artistic journey, my primary focus now concentrates on symbolism and surrealism; I’ve also shifted my focus from the figure as the main subject to being part of a fantasy environment instead. The themes in my art revolve around personal narratives developed from past experiences, current events and my cultural background. Overall, my creative goal is to embrace style without compromising substance, and vice versa.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a professional artist? See works-in-progress and follow Marlana’s Musings for a closer look at an artist’s lifestyle.