Marley Van Peebles

Cat, 2021

Acrylic on fabric
20 in x 15 in

Alien 2, 2021

Cardboard/Acrylic Paint
30 in x 26 in

Bug, 2021

Acrylic on fabric
30 in x 20 in

Artist Statement

I have created this work for my thesis project at Parsons. While at Parsons, I continued to develop my painting practice using found materials combined with iconographic imagery of, what is best described as, anthropomorphic creatures.  Cardboard, wood and fabric are among the materials used to create what I call  ‘flat objects’.  Everyday objects such as used wood, food packaging or cardboard boxes, provide the ground for individual artworks  and are always linked to my everyday actions, like eating, sleeping, and creating.  Some of the materials are linked to these actions,  like bedsheets and pillow cases. The creatures depicted in my work are unidentifiable as any particular known type of creature. They might combine references to lions or dogs, sometimes bird parts or human-like eyes. As such, they carry an uncanny quality to them. Their often centralized composition gives them a mythological feel, as well. I remember as a child in Hawaii with my mother, being fascinated by mythical carvings. My father’s house also contained various masks and sculptures from the continent of Africa that would capture my imagination. Ancestral spirits in various shapes and forms.  It could be possible that there could be a connection to ancestral or mythical creatures. However, I am not aware of these connections ‘in the moment’ that I am creating. The notion of improvisation is a most important aspect to my process.  I create in the moment. This is important because of the way an artist’s work can be an expression of themselves, who they are, flowing in the moment of creation.


I use the term ‘flat object’ to refer to my use of salvaged materials to make ‘paintings’. While these pieces are categorized as paintings, they also retain the  object-ness of the found materials that are flat, but can also be bent and folded. Once I established this process, I learned that my Grandfather Melvin would also collect found objects and create artworks from them. Perhaps this way of creating melted into me without my being aware of it.  I do know that the process of collecting materials likely came about from seeing the way my father kept materials.  I’ve always been like my dad, finding things considered to have no value, and through my artistic process, elevating and transforming them. I feel like that’s why I do it, I think that’s what made painting a fun thing for me. I create works almost daily, I love going out to find something new to paint on and get a lot of satisfaction in the transformation that happens with my drawing and painting materials. I enjoy building a relationship with the found materials as they transform. My name and sometimes other words melt into the work. I find the whole process to be related to a search.. I find a connection with my pieces this way. My name signature is part of the artwork, the letters melt into the work. This is part of me caring about the work, to keep the work connected to me in a way. Sometimes I will paint the day and time of creation if it feels necessary. My audience is encouraged to use their own imagination when looking at the work, making their own meanings from it is encouraged.