Marilyn Groch said art chose her from a young age.
Marilyn Groch likes inanimate things — as a still life artist, they're the lifeblood of what she does.
“In my world, objects sort of talk to each other,” Groch said, laughing. “I like the relationship of juxtaposing one thing next to the other.”
She has gravitated toward art since she was a young girl, watching Jon Gnagy's "Learn to Draw" series on TV, pencils and paper at the ready. Later as a seventh-grader in Southern California, her art teacher was supportive of Groch and encouraged her to pursue art. It was then, Groch said, that she began to really consider art as a career.
Groch graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University, and later with a master in fine arts from Otis College of Art and Design. Groch said it's somewhat unusual that she's a primarily still life artist, since others will do the occasional still life painting or drawing throughout their career, but for her, it's what she loves to do — from close-up of soups, nailpolishes to sunglass stands.
She's found the best way to come up with ideas for her work is to go about her life and let herself be open to ideas.
“It’s not divine intervention or anything, but it’s like, I wait for that moment when I see something and it suddenly, it’s like bam,” Groch said.
Groch has learned to follow those "lightbulb moment" leads. One of them was her idea to do a close-up of soup, which she jokingly called her "soup without borders" collection. Groch said she probably came up with the idea while she was cooking for her own family and she looked down at the pot and saw a field of soup.
For paintings like that, scale is an important factor.
“When you see something that is very small and you blow it up to something that’s quite large, the impact is different," Groch said.
She said as an artist, it's important to have fun when painting, because it'll show up in the work if you do or don't. She considers herself a realist painting, but said she still works in abstraction as well, especially in larger pieces where she has to work on small portions at a time. When she pulls back from those artworks, it's realism, but as she gets closer, she's thinking specifically about color, shape and form.
“I kind of feel like I have the best of both worlds," Groch said.
Art means everything to her.
“I can’t even imagine a world or a culture without art because it makes us reach for our better selves and think about things we normally wouldn’t think about or look at things in a different way than we’ve normally looked at the them,” Groch said.
She encourages anyone that inclines in that direction to follow their passion like she did.
“You don’t want to have that kind of regret when you’re older," Groch said. "So, if it gives you joy and it makes you happy, and it’s something you think you could do with your life, then do it. Absolutely do it.”