In a recent show, Whims & Hybrids, Mallory Ann showcased her vibrant & geometric abstract “hybrids” - an interesting twist to traditional abstract painting.

In this interview, Mallory discusses with fellow artist Neal Breton, her process and perspective on abstract art, her hybrid approach, and what art means to her.


Third Grey: What do you hope the viewer takes away from your work?

Mallory Ann: Hopefully the viewer makes the image their own interpretation, not mine. I enjoy making challenging details and movement, and if the viewer takes more than a second to observe one painting, that is satisfying to me as an artist. 


Are you emotionally attached to your work? Is that attachment, if any, during the production process or after the piece is finished?

I usually become emotionally invested once a piece reaches a halfway point. 

One recent painting in particular was solely emotional.  I wanted to channel my anger (which is rare) and sadness into something hyper colorful and healing, or into an animal that symbolized positive change. 

With my painting, my emotions are acute, yet at the same time I attempt to convey something representational, familiar, and in real time, rather than relying on just emotional attachment.


How much of your work is planned and how much is improvised?

There’s a lot, maybe too much improv! Occasionally I do blueprints, but of course it takes longer to accomplish. Lately, I’m exploring how to apply a balance of both methods.


You combine figurative elements into your work—animals, jars, etc. These elements add an interesting twist to traditional abstract paintings. What led you to make that decision to make “hybrid” pieces?

Since I was a kid, I drew portraits with pencils and charcoal and that was it. Up until college, I was getting frustrated with the lack of creative output. 

Special thanks to Adrienne Allebe and her color theory class lectures and collage techniques, all of which had sparked inspiration for me to try something different.

I realized I could incorporate everyday objects and organic subjects, like a plant or animal, mesh them together, and make them fantastical - that’s the driving force of my hybrids. 


The knock on abstract work (often coming from non-painters or other uninformed members of society), is that anyone can do it. What do you have to say to people that abstracts or non-objectional works are just kid stuff?

I say sure, anyone can do abstract work. The merit comes from being able to answer whether it’s for yourself, for an audience, or both.  Then the question becomes, can it constitute as art? 

Is there any technical method behind the work? For example, sometimes, I make art that is more colorful than representational (Fauvist approach) or more geometric than representational (Cubist approach). 

Before anyone can dismiss abstract as juvenile, sloppy, or even lazy, consider the aspects of difficulty.  Look at whether there’s rhythm, pattern, or attention to detail.


Is marketability, as in whether or not your work is sellable factor in any decisions when creating?

Marketing any of my pieces is not that simple to promote because I do not make simple art, it’s that simple haha. I’m enjoying the spontaneity of a sell as I make art but every now and then I take sabbaticals seriously and then get down to business once I feel ready.

I never, ever rush my work. And of course, marketing is not my strongest suite: my ultimate focus is to convey something unique or interesting in my work.


Does your educational background inform your decisions about color and composition? How did your work get to be where it is today?


Yes, absolutely. I learned quite a bit about color theory or classifications of applied color. I showed my work at local business such as coffee shops and music festivals after graduating from Cal Poly in 2013, and that’s how it started.


Does your gender play a role in your work--it is important for people to know you are a female artist?

It does - my recent work have a feminine quality to them or softness, light and delicate brush work, etc however it’s not that important to me for other to know I’m a woman, not my top concern. My priority is to keep producing and keep learning and abandon the doubtful artist I once was.