An Interview with Mary Kuper


Mary Kuper is a talented illustrator whose prints are intricately detailed, and inspired by her love of narrative and theatre. In her garden window pieces she has captured a moment of energy, the birds about to drift into and out of the picture plane making the composition spring to life.

An interview with mary kuper“The artist has the possibility of being delighted with very little that is valued in our society- if you can be happy with a piece of paper and a pencil, you aren’t a good model for consumerism. Maybe just by finding fulfilment in an interior life we show there are other ways of being.” – Mary Kuper

What does Art mean to you?

When I am not engaged in making work, even if that is only thinking about making work, I am aware that I am all over the place, either manic or detached, too much energy and no focus. So looking at and making work is very centring. I am very glad I have this anchor.


When did you first become interested in art and why?

I remember making things out of sweet papers, shiny wrappers, before I ever really thought about drawing. My mother used to make little goblets out of these, and I thought it was really miraculous. She also made petunias into trumpets by taking out the stamens and pinching the base of the flower. She was a clever woman and not particularly handy, but for me these were her most significant talents when I was a child.


How would you describe your style?

It is pretty traditional. I like crafting something.  I enjoy sketching and quick drawings as well, but engraving is labour intensive and like the way I can become completely absorbed  in a square inch of lino .


What Inspires you?

Almost anything can become inspiring if you get caught in the challenge of conveying it. I am very into faces at the moment, but have always loved drawing gardens and plants, and also telling stories and communicating ideas – I make work about language, which becomes visually concrete even when the ideas are quite abstract. I enjoy making figurative work.


What journey do you take to produce your work?

Drawing is usually the starting point- I like to find somewhere to go that starts me working.  I like to walk around and look at things rather than sit at home. It can be an effort to get to that point.


How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?

I need to settle down to work and get going by about 9. It is hard to start if I leave it too late in the day, and I do think that it is good advice to stop something the day before at a point that you want to return to.