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'Holding Fast to Joy' with Mary Streepy

(Photo Credit: Mary Streepy)

I've been following and admiring Mary Streepy's work for years now. I personally have a couple of pieces of hers in my collection of art and proudly display them with my records. That's how I think of Mary, she's an artist, a musician, a Renaissance woman, and a bit of an Austin legend in the making. I've been looking for ways to somehow highlight her work in this space for some time.

I finally reached out (cold) and discovered one of the most badass people I had ever met. We set up a time to chat about her work as an artist and some of the musicians she's worked with! Our conversation was vast and she has provided some great examples of her work. Check it out! Also, before you dig in, if you see anything you like, we've added ways to get ahold of Mary and links to her shop below so you can get her art as well!

1.) What inspired you to start a career in art and how long have you been doing it professionally?

"I went art school in Wichita, Kansas and I think probably halfway through being there I throughout that the college route wasn't for me. But they kept giving me money to be there. I kept making prints and I realized that I wanted to do more stuff of making stuff for bands. I moved to Austin after graduation I was doing merch for bands I was in. I taught myself how to screen print. I had always sold art since I was a kid. Screen printing had helped me start an Etsy shop and that paid for my art supplies. It has its ups and downs like anything but it's amazing but I do a lot of different types of art I'm doing an animation video for a band right now, painting trees, etc. It's fun because I'll do an art show and people will be like "You're the person that did all of these. I kinda always knew this is what I was going to do".

(Video Credit: Mary Streepy)

2.) Your style is so unique as it blends elements of the fantastic, color, realism, and the absurd. How did you progress to this style?

"I used to do a lot of more realistic things. Most artists start with a kind of "Can I draw a thing how it looks". I started drawing and painting like that. I was working on a drawing one time and I spilled ink on it and I started blowing it to get it off and I realized that I liked to blow ink on my pieces. I was also doing the tree pieces. I also realized my brain needs to realease this chaos. The small arts I didn't start doing until 2020. For some reason the small made the most sense for my visual language. I think people really like that size because it seems more precious or like a moment in time they can take with them. That came about because I didn't have a large space to work out of. I started doing them for myself more than anything and people just liked it. I just remember being really surprised at how fast they would sell. Just these kind of symbols and things start to happen out of my subconscious. You said "absurd" I think I like to have a sense of humor. It depends on what I'm going through when I'm making them. I had a string of sad ones that I made when I was going through a breakup. I noticed that people seem to be more connected to the sad ones than the happy ones which is interesting. I feel like I could never tap of the well."

(Video Credit: Mary Streepy)

3.) You have your hands in many things including painting, print work, pencils, just to name a few. How did you come to gravitate towards such a diverse template of art?

"I think it's just a nice way to shake up the brain a little and keep myself on my toes. I do like to sit and really draw and make it a realistic thing. I also kind of want to let people know that "Hey I'm choosing to make this stylistic thing." It's kind of fascinating doing the realistic nudes. It connects with people really easy because they're like "I know what this is and she did it really well". I like to bounce around different things and it keeps my brain active. For example the trees are really calming. I just go into a different zone as opposed to the small ones where I don't know where it's going. Screen printing is step by step, the creating of the image is one thing but the process is step by step and uses one part of your brain. That's why I do different processes. The animation is probably the toughest one because I know the least of how to do it, but it's been fun to challenge myself with that."

(Photo Credit: Mary Streepy)

4.) Who are some of your favorite musicians you have had the opportunity to work with?

"Courtney Barnett, I've done some posters for her. Silversun Pickups were really nice people I've done merch for. There's women musicians that would be a dream to work with. There was a band called Mandolin Orange that is now called Watchhouse that I've done merch for them. It's been a while since I've done music merch but I love to do it. I used to do work for Camp Cope for some of their tours. I do album covers for underground bands and I've done vinyl covers. I feel like I'm leaving people out."

(Video Credit: Mary Streepy)

5.) What is your favorite thing about the creative process?

"I just like being surprised where it ends up sometimes. I have this thing with not going backward. If I feel like I messed up something, I don't erase it I work with it until I like it. I love the feeling of making something and I get to a place of being like "Oh that's done." And it feels in line with universal magic, it feels synchronistic."

(Photo Credit: Mary Streepy)

6.) What do you enjoy most about working in Austin?

"There is just so much always going on here. I do some stuff at GoodDad Studios, it's a new space and it just opened in September. It's has this corporate vibe but it's all these artists because we weirded it out. I do a lot of my screen printing in my Shedio out back. I was in bands here as well, I was in one called Bumping Uglies and a rock band called QueQue. I had always wanted to move here because I had an Aunt that lives here."

(Photo Credit: Mary Streepy)

7.) What upcoming stuff do you have going on?

"Art show in Lockhart at the Lockhart House it's a house that art shows are done out of. I just did a bunch of t-shirts for Daniel Johnston's sister that are going for sale with his art in Houston.

Want to connect with Mary? For socials check out @creepstreeps and @streepyart on Instagram!

Interested in buying a piece? Mary's Etsy shop is

For more information on the upcoming Lockhart show at the LockART House in Lockhart TX, visit IG: @lockh.arthouse. Opening is Saturday, February 10, 2024 from 4pm-8pm and works will be available for purchase online after that. 

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