Meet Marleigh Culver, an LA based painter seeking to stir up feelings and showcase melancholy, energy, sadness and surprise through her sculptural shapes.
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?I work as a designer to help support and create space to make my art. I’ve done this since I started my career in 2013-2014, I work full-time and work on art on the side. It’s really exhausting but very rewarding. I spend a lot of time on my computer saving resources and imagery for art direction and design projects, creating assets and visuals for brands, making decks and creating work for my clients. Days where I get to paint I make time for it so I have the best sunlight. I spend time reading, with my partner and cooking a lot and going on walks in our beautiful neighborhood. I’m very lucky to have my own space to paint in our apartment now, it’s totally my own and is full of things that are beautiful and inspire me.
What's your greatest source of inspiration when it comes to painting?
I honestly just really have always loved the energy of certain artists since I was young. I am driven by the energy of long-passed and now older artists. There is just something about nostalgia and a place in time that is really inspiring and motivating to me. I do love nature and that’s been a huge drive in my work, but now that I’ve had the space and resources to create more paintings, the process is inspiring in itself. How the paint and brush touch canvas, how things dry, how the different elements of my medium interact. I just love being able to translate my love and romanticism into physical work.
How did you get into your medium of choice?To be honest, I tried oil painting in high school, it was so frustrating, I’m sure I would approach it differently now, and maybe one day I will when I have a proper facility to create that work in, but I’ve used acrylic since I was a teenager. I like how the medium looks and feels when I adjust it to my liking. I love the vibrancy of color and just how flexible it can be. I use raw canvas since I love the natural texture, it’s not to not totally cover it with paint. In high school, I went to a magnet arts school where I studied theatre production and scene painting and then moved into visual arts, and have been creating abstract paintings and conceptual work since I was about 15.
Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If so, How do you get out of it?All the time. I just have to step away. When I’m stressed or overwhelmed with my main source of work I feel so depleted and emotional to make work I’m happy with. I just have to take time off, and baking really helps me feel better so I can throw myself into something that needs a lot of attention and focus, so much that you forget your other issues.
What does CBD lend to your practice?
CBD has been such a gift over the last couple of years. I had a serious health event over three years ago, I’ve thankfully healed in the many ways I was struggling with, and CBD became the one thing I could use to help take the edge off of my anxiety and light depression. Drinking is fun, but CBD gives you a chill without a headache or just generally crappy feeling. Plus using CBD helps my creativity. Who knew being relaxed is good for work!
How do you find your wellness, state of mind and/or mental health shapes your work?Besides the anxiety I mentioned, I still create in any state of mind I’m in. Sometimes painting can feel like a needed escape or a welcome pressure, because even though it may be work, it’s still fun and a challenge.
How do you unwind?To be honest I love CBD drinks, using my vape, watching TV or reading. Laying in my bed in the dark with my neck massager listening to a worldless, chill playlist makes me very happy as well. The rain playlist in Headspace is also so great.
What does success mean to you?Being happy and taking responsibility of yourself and that happiness. Being a good person to people you love in life. Doing things you love and that are you and not trying to be like anyone else. Finding balance would be success, but I struggle with that still.
What's your current obsession?
I love music a lot, I make playlists every month with song I have on repeat and that are special to me. That and making ice cream.
Has social media impacted the way you create?I think the positive praise is nice, and of course posting and sharing my work so freely has gotten me a lot of work. You have to be okay with being vulnerable and being judged but in return you get a lot back. There’s a lot of negatives, and I’m working on ways to be on it less now that I’ve built up a loyal and very supportive following of incredible people. I’m looking at new ways to share without having to be on Instagram all the time. Being on tumblr back in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s was what helped start sharing my work to the world.
What do you hope people will take away from your art?I get so many heartwarming compliments and reactions to my work, to the point it makes me emotional. I just hope people keep finding meaning and keep being moved by the work I made.
Out of all your design experiences, which stands out as the one you’re most proud of?
It’s actually a brand I’m working on right now! The founder is so incredible and I’m really excited for her mission and visions. It’s launching this year, and it’s the first time I feel like I’ve been able to own a brand and give it the life it deserves.
Are you more creative in the morning or evening?
Both! I’ve adapted a much better sleep schedule because I was staying up until 2-4am a lot in 2020. I feel my best when I have a full nights sleep and balance my schedule to-dos.
Brand you love?
Life hack of all life hacks?
Using a toothbrush to hold my hair in a bun when I’m washing my face and can’t find any hair ties
Most played song right now?
Tomorrow’s Dust by Tame Impala
Favorite current read?
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Podcast that brings you the most value?
Sex, Death & Money
If you could grab lunch with one person, who would it be?
Rihanna (my birthday twin)
Favorite Sweet Reason flavor?
I love the Grapefruit!