Marisa Rowsell is a St. John’s-based artist majoring in Folklore at Memorial University (MUN). Her favorite medium is acrylic painting, but she also works with textiles and wood. “I love making dream catchers, bracelets and little gift bags. I’ve been trained to use a ban saw and I love working with pneumatic tools on wood,” Marisa said.

Plus, she loves to cook and bake. “My specialty is anything with bread, including homemade pizza and pretzels,” she said. (Is there anything this girl can’t do?).

Learn more about Marisa and her artwork in the Q&A below:

What inspires you?

“Color inspires me. In a world and a popular culture with houses painted with grey and white walls, I’d choose bright pink. Maybe not bright pink but neon purple for sure. No, maybe turquoise. Hmm, maybe something pastel like a lavender purple or a baby blue. Color just makes me feel at home and I take the colors I see in my environment and in my imagination and splat them on the canvas.”

Marissa's Painting

Do you have any favorite artists?

“I’ve been inspired consciously and unconsciously by many artists. One very big inspiration of mine is definitely Vincent Van Gogh. His use of color and gestural brushstrokes inspired by the madness within him inspires me in my own painting and other art. Jackson Pollock and his paint blobs I will never forget when creating an abstract design.”

How would you describe your style?

“I want to say that my style is somewhat psychedelic. But, it’s actually more of me painting whatever is in my head. If I feel blue, I’ll paint blue. If I feel red, I’ll paint angry red brush strokes. If I feel happy, I’ll paint whatever color makes me happy. In my more abstract paintings, I work with the shapes I create. I respond to each shape as if it is a formation of something and a circle could become a bumble bee with a few bright yellow lines and a stinger of course. A curvy line tends to turn into a mountain but a straight line could be anything at all. Depending on the intended mood of the painting or artwork, I adjust the color, shape, materials and any other formal quality to emit that mood to the viewer. I also like things to match their surroundings so context plays a role as well.”

Muse Artist Marissa PaintingDo you find yourself drawn to certain subject matter?

“I like paintings that are non-traditional or even rule-breaking. I don’t love the traditional nude painting style and I don’t love to paint people at all. Painting people is like math to me. I’m good at math but I have to work at it. Objects are always very interesting to paint especially glass ones. Painting abstracted landscapes is like, well, art to me and comes much for easily and allows me to play with my work more. Impressionist paintings blow my mind and I admire how they embody the impression of something rather than being an exact replica of an exact image. Of course, realistic paintings are a talent of mine too and I enjoy doing them but working realistically is more technical and less freeing than working abstract.”

Muse Artist MarissaWhat makes a person an artist?

“Anyone can be an artist and I do believe that. In fact, it’s hard to say that something isn’t art. Everything, even nature, is created.

Training in proportion, color, and all the formal aspects can help and only practice helps this. Patience makes an artist as well. It is a process and although I consider myself a very impatient person I have to have patience in the process of any piece of work. Because of that, art is a meditative process for me and actually one of the only things that can calm my mind.

I would consider myself a mixture between a folk artist and an elite artist. I appreciate the serious portraits of the Renaissance but I also love to make crafty art like dream catchers and painted rocks. Art school focuses more on the elite side of the art world including much (too much) of European art history. I decided to switch to a Folklore program where I could study yes, the elite culture of the world but also study the folk culture. Folklore says the two spectrums are intertwined and the elite also have folklore. I wanted the best of both art worlds in my studies at MUN.”

You can view more of Marisa’s art on the Facebook group, Marisa’s Creations. If you are interested in purchasing or commissioning artwork, Marisa can be contacted on Facebook or via email (

To nominate a friend or fellow artist for the next Featured Artist column, email Natalie at


Natalie Dignam