LUSH Artist Spotlight ft. Mary Hill

Our next LUSH artist is Nevadan artist, Mary Hill.  Her work is inspired by the writings and artwork of the late Frida Kahlo who wrote: “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly . . .”  Mary has worked in art and design for over twenty years, and has taught calligraphy, lettering, and journal arts to at-risk teens in Southern Nevada. Her calligraphy and book arts have been exhibited throughout the Southwest. She currently is a part-time design instructor at UNLV. Mary received her MFA in graphic design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2012.



Talk to us about what inspired the piece you created for the LUSH exhibit? 

So out of three poems written by Jeffery Bennington Grindley, I selected to design a hand-lettered poster based on his work entitled “Precious Metals” because it inspired a personal sense of dissonance. Thinking about the raw emotions of aging; relationships changing; loved ones in and out of our lives. I wanted to illustrate that tension with letter forms that were tight, yet loose with watery ink. Like eyes welled with tears.

Who or what influenced your most recent work? 

The lettering in this piece is influenced by the calligraphy of Sheila Waters. Specifically her study of Uncials and modernized Carolingian script – more on that may be found in her book Foundations of Calligraphy by Sheila Waters.

How important is design in the piece you created for LUSH? 

Designing for the voice of poetry – on the printed page – lies in the careful consideration of letter shapes composed within the parameters of the page/poster size. The design of “Precious Metals” is important because it aids in conveying a relevant message about a shared human experience. It’s a modern design of a contemporary poem, using calligraphic letter forms that span the centuries. I think that this contributes and elevates Mr.Grindley’s ideas.

What is the most important design element for you to follow and why? 

For me the most important design element begins with structure or ‘grid’ making (sometimes breaking)  – and that boils down to a method I use: Rule. Render. Refine. SO that means compose a page from top to bottom, side to side, and organize it with harmonious hierarchy.


Meet Mary Hill and our other amazing featured artists at our closing reception for LUSH: Art x Words, A Collaborative Exhibition on Friday, July 12th at 6pm to 9pm at Escape Studios inside of Arts Square. Please RSVP via Eventbrite.

By Chris Johnston
Published July 10, 2019