Colleen Mars


Colleen Mars is an ever-evolving visual artist based in Pittsburgh, PA. Working in various media, she is most commonly drawn to photography, painting, and drawing. Recently, she has been compelled to create sculptural and installation works that exaggerate the nuances of everyday situations. Colleen is inspired by psychedelic/pop art, feminism, fashion, existentialism, and dark romanticism. Although many of her works contain humorous elements, Colleen also creates more serious artwork. A more somber side of the emotional spectrum is explored in her work A Light That Never Goes Out. This photobook is a reflection on grief after an unexpected loss. Colleen follows her artistic instincts to process life events and create alternate universes for herself to live in. Sometimes she would rather exist in one of her paintings or photographs than in reality. She finds joy in the process of making and often creates surreal environments in her work. 

Artist Statement 
During the pandemic, I had a lot of trouble creating artwork. In such a complex, isolating time, I had no inspiration or motivation to make anything for nearly seven months. As a senior studio art major, this virtual year was not an ideal time for me to create new bodies of work. Eventually, I began to fear the blankness of a canvas. I knew I needed to take the leap and begin making things again. So, I bought a new set of paint markers and just started to draw. I set no rules for myself, and the outcome didn’t matter. I used small, 4” x 4” canvas panels to make the act of “arting” less intimidating. These efforts resulted in this series of tiny worlds filled with colorful characters: my project, Things That Scare Me. Some of these drawings are humorous, but they draw directly from some of my greatest anxieties. Once I found my creative voice again, I realized a need to make art that explored playful spontaneity and surreal encounters, exposing the nuances of human emotion. Although I am particularly drawn to bright colors and bold designs in my work, I may also use softer tones depending on the context. My resulting efforts address joy and loss, rage and anxiety, and the fragile boundaries between these emotions. 


A Light That Never Goes Out