Illustrator Marianna Marx works from a studio above Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
Together, the three ladies have created a studio filled with inspiration, plants and personality.
“Cristina decorated most of the communal area; she has an enormous love for succulents and gardening so she made our studio into what it is,” Marianna says.
“Andria brought along the beautiful vintage landscape paintings. She found them in op-shops and hard rubbish.”
After an extensive search, Marianna moved into the studio in September 2014.
“I’d been looking for a space for quite a while, but the rent around here is so expensive and I wasn’t sure about it. So I mentioned it to a few ladies at the market and they just happened to have a space that was opening,” she says.
The lack of internet in the studio is conducive to Marianna’s work, which draws heavily from personal experiences and time spent outdoors.
“We don’t have the internet here – I don’t even have the internet at home. I stream it off my phone when I need it.”
Her day-to-day work rotates between illustrating original works, working on her first children’s book, teaching, and planning market stalls. Marianna is a regular at The Rose Street Artists’ Market where she sells her prints and cards.
“I’m always drawing but there will be lulls and I just try not to stress about it. Most of the ideas come when I’m feeling good, relaxed and calm. If life is chaotic and busy I feel like my energy is going elsewhere,” she says.
Marianna finds inspiration in solitude and escapism, and therefore benefits from rotating her time between the studio, her family home and her apartment.
“A lot of drawings come from just whatever’s going on at that time – whether it’s the light, or month or a direct observation of something that’s going on around me.”
“That one I drew when I’d just moved into my apartment and I felt very free and like I was moving onto the next chapter,” she says, describing one of her latest works.
Marianna’s whimsical, playful works are predominantly drawn with pencil and watercolour paints.
“I like to use pencils because I can take them with me anywhere,” she says.
“The first artists that I fell in love with were sketchers, so I’ve just always loved that spontaneous, loose style, and that they’re not permanent – you can always keep changing them.”
Elements of nature are often present in Marianna’s work, which she partly attributes to her parents being geologists.
“I’ve just always been really fascinated by nature and really inspired by the different seasons and the different feelings that each season evokes.”
Top rental styling tip? Treat your space like your own gallery by filling it with things that inspire and excite you. Decorating your walls with clippings from magazines, prints, pages from books and posters is a great way to make the space your own. Surround yourself with your favourite things and keep adding to it (or taking away) so it always feels fresh.
What are your most searched terms when looking for furniture and homewares online? I’m not much of an online shopper so I couldn't say! Maybe if I had internet in my studio I'd have a better answer for this one. Most of my furniture has come from markets and hand-me-downs from family and friends.
What are your favourite furniture and homewares stores? I could spend hours trawling through Reclaimed on Johnston Street, Collingwood. It’s like an entire flea market crammed into a small shop front. I also love the Mailing Road Antique Centre in Canterbury.
What’s the best thing about renting? Renting allows me to work among a really vibrant artistic community in an area I could never afford to buy. I like the idea of living and working in many different places throughout my life, so renting allows me to do this without being tied down to just one place.