Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spotlight on Marie Ulmer: "Art Is Just Something I Have To Do ..."

Judith Zausner's Interview with Local Artist Marie Ulmer

Marie Ulmer is an amazing 92 year old artist living in Philadelphia. She is focused and talented and shares her life story in the Arts.
  Marie Ulmer Self-Portrait c.1941 gouache

When did you realize that you wanted to make Art?
As far as I can remember, I always wanted to make Art. I started out drawing myself and then created drawings of the neighborhood children
Where did you study art?
I studied at what is now called University of the Arts but was called School of Industrial Art when I went there. I chose that school because they had a variety of subjects that I was interested in. I graduated in 1941.
What kind of art did you specialize in?
I specialized in illustration and used watercolor and gouache
Did you work other places before your career at the Free Library?
I had various jobs before the library. During war time, it was hard to get a job so I worked at a few places including a drafting job for a couple of years. Then I was hired at the Free Library. They hired me to shelve books. Since they did not have an art department at the time, a boy and I started it. I became involve in setting exhibits, designing showcases, and making posters, brochures flyers, and leaflets. The work was very varied. I worked there for 31 years when I took retirement.
What kind of art do you especially enjoy?
I enjoy fantasy illustrations.
I understand that you may have an upcoming show.
Yes, the owner of the Bambi Gallery on 2nd Street is interested in my work. He’s planning to put together a show in cooperation with another gallery.* I have hundreds of pieces of work at home and have worked in many mediums including ceramics, weaving, painting, and jewelry making. I also have written poetry.
*(Bambi & Proximity Gallery presented Marie Ulmer “Tell All” at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, September 24, 2009.)
You have been retired for many years. Do you have some words of wisdom for keeping your passion for art alive?
Art is just something I have to do, it keeps me going, I always look forward to it.
Read more about Marie Ulmer and her art here and also in theartblog.
Judith Zausner is a CAAN Board Member, consultant, teacher, designer, writer, owner of Caring Crafts, Inc. and writes the Creativity Matters blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Judith for sharing this wonderful insight into Marie Ulmer. Marie joined my Beads in Clay class at the Lutheran Settlement House this past year and shared her prowess at making beads in clay with all the members of the class. When I asked her when she first made beads from ceramic clays, she said she did so in college and even brought in beads from that time period to incorporate into her new creations made in my class. What a Renaissance woman she is! I was so glad to see your article about her and her lifelong creative approach to life. I hope it encourages all who read it to embrace their own creativity and find out (as Tom Robbins has) that it is never too late to have a happy childhood.

    Barbara Hanselman


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