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Meet the Artist

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Andrew Laker | The Republic
Marilyn Brackney creates her next work, a doll in a soap box racer, at her home studio in Columbus.
Andrew Laker | The Republic Marilyn Brackney creates her next work, a doll in a soap box racer, at her home studio in Columbus.

Earth without art is eh.

That’s what a friend recently told Marilyn Brackney, a longtime art teacher, artist and fan of imagination, which she sees as the seed to wonderful art.

“Imagination is a fragile gift,” Brackney said. “And I think all children are creative. But as childhood progresses, adults discourage young people from using this precious gift. A child who grows into adolescence with his or her imagination intact is very fortunate.”

Brackney’s artistic imagination once birthed the creation “Trashasaurus Rex,” a dinosaur model made with trash she collected. It now keeps watch over a children’s museum in Rocky Mount, N.C. The former public school art teacher still teaches children in semi-private art classes in her studio on Flatrock Drive. (She and husband Larry’s daughter, Susan Brackney, also is an artist and writer).

Among her most recent art projects are what she lovingly calls “found art dolls.” That is, dolls constructed of whatever she can find. In recent years, she also has created pictures out of clothes dryer lint.

She is the creator and producer of Columbus Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show, an annual event featuring artists from all over the Midwest. This year, the show will be Nov. 17 at The Commons.

What type of art do you consider your specialty?

Although I enjoy experimenting with a variety of materials, my favorite techniques include drawing, marbling, printmaking and working with mixed media. I especially like drawing historic architecture.

What drew you to art?

To me, making art is as essential as breathing, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I think I’ve always been an artist. From my first childhood drawings on foggy windowpanes to work created much later on canvas or sculpted in stone, art has always been an essential part of who I am.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything. I love the challenge of creating something from elements that, at first, seem unrelated, but in the end, it shows that everything is connected. Making art is fun.

What do you hope people take away from your work?

I think my drawings and paintings help people see the built environment in a new way, and I hope they encourage them to appreciate and preserve our older architecture. Sometimes, my work is controversial, and it makes people think. That’s one of the purposes of art.

What has influenced your artistic style over the years?

When I began making art as a child, I was greatly influenced by “old-time” radio shows such as “The Green Hornet” and “Inner Sanctum.” I think listening to radio shows helped lay the groundwork for my imagination. ... I’ve never really been inspired by famous artists or tried to emulate anyone’s work. I just create what I like.

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