As part of our recurring series of interviews, The Power of Her, featuring remarkable women, we are proud to present to you an interview with Maria Fondler-Grossbaum, an artist and owner of Abyssimo Studio.
Coming from an artistic background, Maria has been painting for as long as she remembers herself. A successful painter and graphic artist, she found Abyssimo Studio last year, when she turned 42 and realized that she wanted to teach and pass on the knowledge of a special artistic technique she developed. Her project was met with instant success, but shortly after, Maria has discovered a lump and was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The nightmare that followed, months of intense chemo have depleted her of energy and health, but creativity flowed and during short breaks between chemo sessions she kept on creating, teaching and keeping Abyssimо studio going. Maria is one of the most upbeat, positive and optimistic human beings we’ve ever met. An artistic and rebellious soul, she inspired us with her courage and power to continue her craft despite all odds. Maria’s current motto? “Fuck Cancer!”.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR ART AND A UNIQUE STYLE OF PAINTING
I have an academic background and I love classical ways in art, although I never saw myself following this direction. I always wanted to go beyond rules and borders and create something between painting and sculpting, something like a sculpted wall art or sculpted painting with a rich texture. Also, in my creations I like incorporating various elements and materials that attract light and intensify colours and texture. For example, I like using pieces of glass, rhinestones, natural amethysts and quartz and other decorative elements.
I truly hope that my style is unique. What can I say about my art? It is simple. Art and creativity is just another approach to becoming happier. Since childhood I’ve noticed that colours, forms and shapes hypnotized me and when I create, the quality of my life gets richer and more interesting and, as a result, I’m happier. I don’t know exactly how it happens and I am not the only one who experiences it – many other people testify that creativity in any form makes them happier. I think it happens because at the moment of creating something it is necessary to focus on yourself in order to understand what exactly you want to express. This element of self-knowledge is essential and very important in art process because when you understand yourself you become self-sufficient and don’t depend on circumstances anymore. You are a source of joy and that is this sacred self-fulfilment. Here is my divine formula of happiness:
self-understanding + self-expression = self-sufficiency = happiness! And no rules or limits, of course!
WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION?
Nature, Nature and Nature. My studio is filled with interesting natural objects. Porcupine quills, fossils, stones, feathers, wood and shells are incorporated into art pieces, enriching the visual and intellectual experience.
Another great source of inspiration is my students. Some time ago I opened an online school because many people who wanted to learn from me live far away and, luckily, with internet I now have access to anyone in the world! Teaching has given me a sense of purpose and an experience of joy and fulfillment.
I believe we all have innate gifts and talents that, when unlocked, can truly impact the quality of life for others… and there’s nothing more rewarding or fulfilling than that.
BATTLING CANCER IS A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE. HOW DID IT AFFECT YOU AND YOUR ART?
True. When I discovered that I’m diagnosed with breast cancer I was shocked. The only thing that really helped me to stay positive and emotionally balanced is creating. I also have a great support from my family, friends and my students, I’m very lucky this way! Thank you guys!
I didn’t find that my art style significantly changed since I’m having my cancer treatments, but I think it became more dramatic in colours. I also really enjoy experimenting with new materials now. What really changed though after discovering that I have cancer, is a desire to be more connected to my students. I want to create more online courses for them and share everything that I know.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE GOING THROUGH A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE?
Stick to what you like to do the most and stay productive. Work is the best therapy. Also surround yourself with people you love.
HOW DID YOU LIKE WORKING WITH Daria @ Kissed by Light studio?
Ohhh I did enjoy it a lot. Daria is an amazing friend with a talent. She is my inspiration and support. I gave her a total creative freedom knowing that she knows what she is doing. Et Voila, look how beautiful she made me!
I believe that a true photographer needs to be a little bit of a psychologist and must understand people’s nature. Daria is very gifted that way! She is a true photographer!
Our darling Maria, thank you for being our muse. Your inner power and creativity have inspired us. We wish you all the strength in the world to go through the next steps and have a fast recovery.
Maria believes that anyone can learn art and become an artists. Many of her classes are available here: Abyssimo School.
Follow her art and join her army of devoted students here: Abyssimo Open Studio.
Maria’s art is also available for purchase: Abyssimo Store.
Photography by Daria Perev, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Model Maria Fondler-Grossbaum
Styling & Make-Up Collaboration of model and photographer