Mariella Bilitsa uses “narrative from everyday life” as inspiration for her brightly coloured work

Whilst Mariella intends for her work to be “comical”, she also seeks to challenge and raise questions about Greek society. In one of her favourite pieces – The Man Who Washes the Clothes – she attests to using visual “stereotypes”: moustache, cigarette and yellow washing gloves. This, she hoped, would create an image that felt incongruous, but also one that “we must finally accept as a society.” One of her more “spontaneous” pieces – a “conservative” woman sipping on a traditional Greek coffee with a nude portrait of a woman behind her – Mariella sees as a “complete contrast” to the former. Through this work, Mariella wants to offer her viewers the freedom of interpretation. Is the painting a more free and uninhibited portrait of the subject, or is it a lover, proudly displayed on her wall? Naked or half-dressed women reoccur regularly in Mariella’s work, and she is unapologetic in her portrayal. Bodies are depicted in all shapes and sizes, often with luscious curves and pubic hair painted with brilliant abandon.
Mariella’s move to ceramic design was mutually inspired by lockdown boredom and a desire to see her “drawings on another material besides the canvas.” And, we’re sure she’s impressed with the result. The simplistic white plates and bowls are brought to life by her playful painting. Her everyday scenes fit in the circular boundaries perfectly and her uninhibited painting style translates well to the patchy, volatile glaze. Ceramic design has also presented Mariella with a more tactile medium, in which she finds such enjoyment because “it’s so malleable and at the same time so sensitive.” Passionate and deeply immersed in such varied forms of artistic expression, Mariella’s creative approach is one to be admired.

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