Time changes everything. Its no secret, its universal law. No one and nothing can escape the change time brings. With 24-hour news cycles and an unquenchable thirst for “new”, everything around us seems to be evolving at a faster rate. Visual art mediums are evolving at an immeasurable rate and you can either ride the wave or get lost in it. MURRZ, a visual artist from Brooklyn, is a prime example of where visual art is and will continue to go. Her artwork combines childhood influences with exposure granted by today’s social platforms. While she is successful now, every success story has a start.
Mary Damian or MURRZ, grew up in a home of talented artists. “My very first drawing, when I was younger was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My brother, who is a year younger than me and my father, they’re a 1000% amazing artists.” said MURRZ. Like her father and brother, she had the desire to draw but maybe not the skill. Instead of bothering them to teach her, she watched. When she was assigned art projects as a child, she took them on herself. Her level of skill grew through her commitment to repetition.
Her childhood influences can be found throughout her work. If you follow MURRZ on instagram, @_murrz, you’ll see a Filipino flag in her bio. You’ll also see illustrations of Apo Whang-od. Her Asian American, more specifically Filipino, background is present in her work and sometimes at the forefront. My favorite illustration of hers is “Biggie the Pooh.” The machine gun funk songster meets the cuddly Winnie the Pooh to create Biggie the Pooh. That’s so Brooklyn to have Winnie the Pooh rocking a Coogi sweater.
“I am not a starving artist,” she says…art for me is how to express my feelings.” She isn’t starving because she has a career in project management/advertising. She has to balance having a full career in both. Starving artists have to make a ton of concessions because art is their only source of income. A full time job on top of a full time hustle is draining but its given MURRZ the space to create off pure inspiration instead of always worrying if the time she spends on drawing is worth it. She sometimes draws and gives away portraits to people that inspire her. Even though she sometimes draws for free, she’s still about her paper.
On murrz.bigcartel.com, there are prints, t-shirts, stickers, temporary tattoos all for sale. She was recently in Chicago for the Kultura Festival (she designed a dope tote bag). Her Instagram is full of photos of her work with a few selfies sprinkled in. There is an obvious push to keep the focus on her business. “If you ever see me in person, I would be so awkward…I have some type of barrier that makes me feel comfortable and I feel like Instagram gives me that barrier.” Sometimes she can be made uncomfortable by critiques and complaints about her post.
Right now MURRZ enjoys doing portraits and drawings inspired by the times. When explaining her personal work she said,“I ,personally, have not found my style yet.” She does mostly portraits or cartoon characters wearing crowns and Coogi sweaters but her other work takes on another tone. “My main thing is I’m a little bit dark. A lot of the art that I do that I don’t post is dark art.” Some things aren’t ready to be shared with everyone. As time passes, she’ll grow and her audience will grow with her. Its universal law.