Marat Essex is a multicultural, international artist who was born in Norway, and now lives – to use her words – “in the graceful, rolling hills of Virginia.”
“You know there is magic in the Norwegian forests,” Marat wryly said to me as we reviewed prints of her artwork at my office. “That is why I have to be close to nature; that is where I get my inspiration, where I am connected.”
I first met Marat at a fundraising event in Bethesda in 2011. She had graciously donated a painting of hers to be auctioned to benefit charity. It was an expressionist image of a couple in a romantic embrace. The painting was colorful and well composed, but what I found so arresting was its intensity. It was as if energy was coming off the canvas.
“My concentration lies in the human body and emotion,” Marat told me. “I find the human form incredibly beautiful and feel a profound sense of connection with the emotions we all have.
“My art conveys attitudes, elegance, beauty, sexual energy, passion, and agony. I explore the delicate dance that occurs between people – the dynamics of stages, human behavior, and emotion.”
Marat started displaying her art several years ago in local restaurants and galleries in Norway. Later, she had exhibitions in England and Scotland when she was studying psychology.
Her artistic journey began using oil paint as her medium. Since that time, she has evolved to pencil, charcoal, and other media.
“Sometimes, I use whatever I can find. They don’t have to be typical art supplies. If it can leave the mark, color, or texture I have in my mind, it is fair game,” Marat said with a laugh.
During the course of her career, Marat has sold pieces all over the world. Her work can be found in homes throughout Europe, the Middle East, as well as the United States.
Marat’s style has been called provocative and erotic at times. She is not uncomfortable with the description. In fact, she would say that often it is accurate. However, adjectives can have different connotations depending on the country one is in.
“Art is a matter of taste. It is very subjective,” she said. “My art can be a little progressive for some American audiences, but the demand for it is growing for those with an open mind.”
The nature of the business of art in the U.S. is something with which she has come to terms. Criticism, no matter how well intended, can be uncomfortable to hear with something as intimate and personal as artistic expression.
“In Europe, there isn’t as much need for self-promotion. At least that was my experience,” Marat added. “In the U.S., artists have to promote themselves in order to sell their work. It’s not what motivates me to draw.”
“I think the process of creating art is mine; what it means to others is out of my hands,” Marat continued. “The complete satisfaction for me is in the production of the art, and if people connect with it, it brings me a lot of joy as well.”
And, people are connecting with it.
Today, Marat is receiving commissions and producing artwork more than ever before. Her artwork is available at her website, artbymarat.com. And, she is quite happy being a working artist in the DMV.
As she sees it: “What I am trying to do is encourage a diversion in how people think so they can experience and see beauty in places they don’t expect.”
To learn more about Marat’s work and purchase prints and other items: Click Here
Marat’s Facebook Page: Click Here
Listen to Marat’s Interview on the Real Estate, Wine, & More Podcast w/Howard Fletcher: