Make Art Every Day!

2019 Artist Interview - Mary Targonski

Added on by Meredith Keating.

For our fourth interview of the 2019 Delaware Fun-A-Day, we talk to Mary Targonski about photography, exhibiting in Delaware, and some art galleries you HAVE to check out. Thanks, Mary!

Be sure to check out our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for updates on the progress of our interviewees! And make sure you check your email (and this site) for important information on drop off, the event, and art pick up!

We like to know how people are connected to Delaware -  are you a resident, born and raised? What opportunities have you found here?

I moved to Delaware for work in my mid- twenties – I have lived here ever since – almost 40 years!

I have had no formal art education but I have seen and learned from so many great art shows through the different venues – The Delaware Contemporary, Delaware Art Museum, the Wilmington govt buildings, Brandywine and Philadelphia Art Museums, some of the local galleries like Colourworks and others that have come and gone such as the Susan Issacs gallery. Art on the Town has been a favorite too.

This is your THIRD year participating in DEFAD. Can you describe your favorite past Fun-A-Day project?   

SO MANY awesome artists and projects – it is impossible to pick a favorite but I will mention the one artist who made me cry last year, Yasmin Pedroza-Ocasio. Her theme was: I Love, Adore and Hate a Day – it was the drawing of a Bull and Matador. The Bull was dying but standing bravely and strongly. WAH – I am tearing up now!

This year's project involves digital illustration. This is different from the many works and mediums you've shown at exhibits before, so what made you excited to work on this craft for the exhibit?

I have always been attracted to doing “art” but felt that I did not draw well, which is why I started in photography –LOL - which was a technical struggle all its own. Recently, I have been dabbling with Illustrator and I thought that this would be a good impetus to practice. It does not work the way I think at all - but I like the look!   Although -- because of my early February Schedule, I have been leaning on good old Photoshop to get it done.

In past exhibits, you have shown a range of work that would be part of a theme or a story that is told through the elements of the art. Can you guide us on your thought process for creating these stories and how you come to understand them during the creation of your art?

Well there is not often a conscious thought process – I find it difficult to think ahead, because making art is an extremely right brain process for me.   

For instance, when I am photographing, I use a small mirrorless camera that fits in my hand and allows me to shoot more or less spontaneously.  When I see something that attracts me visually, I can think quickly of how to adjust the technical aspects and then shoot quickly from many angles or just once if that is all I got.  

Some days I am seeing photographs every minute – other times although my day maybe filled with beautiful moments and light, I am not called to try and make an image.  It just won’t be what I want.

It is later when I am in post processing and looking at images created in a span of time do I start to see similarities and themes that may tell me something.   

Interestingly I also notice this in my students work.   Looking at a semester long series of photographs – a style or attraction to certain design elements or way of organizing visual information seems to happen.   Could be the color red, triangle shapes, fractals, strong centers. It is fascinating.

The Choreographer Twala Tharp wrote a great book that describes this: “The Creative Habit – Learn it and Use it For Life.”   I think I may want to re-read it.

As a seasoned Delaware Fun-A-Day participant, what advice can you give our newcomers?

Fun-a Day for me, could be described as an art gym. It is a great venue to practice a new medium or develop a theme for another art show.

Pick your parameters – try to organize your materials and space.   And don’t worry about every day being a masterpiece - - stay amused and you could be amazed at what the muse delivers.

We heard you are an educator at multiple institutions. Currently, where are you teaching and what classes do you offer? 

I am currently teaching at Cecil College and Cab Calloway Summer Camp.  I teach Basic Photography as an art elective at Cecil. Cab Calloway is a range of camps for younger and older kids. We offer Basic, Portrait, Photoshop Techniques. We are not offering it this summer but we did a build your own Big Shot digital camera camp that was lots of fun for me because it included dissecting already broken lenses and cameras. For more info: https://cabsummer.org

We have been seeing your work at many exhibits around the area and beyond. So, we have to ask, what are your top 5 favorite exhibits that you've been a part of?

Ooooo – A question that is making me think! My Artistic AHDH gives me too many ideas and once I have made it – I kind of forget about it because something else is pushing it out of the way.  

BUT OK here goes:

1 & 2  Colourworks Gallery on Superfine Lane Shows. It is a gallery that is dedicated to showing Photography and I have seen some really wonderful exhibits there through the years. I started to work with them curating shows featuring some of the excellent work of our Cecil College students and faculty.

Curating could sometimes be described as being a nagging art mommy - - so I finally thought, why not direct some that energy to motivating myself? So, I started to include some of my work. It was satisfying to see it on the walls – plus the openings are fun parties and they serve sushi.

3. Science and Art at the Henry Gallery at Penn State Great Valley: I was asked to participate in this exhibit by an artist that I admire, Gina Bosworth. There were different mediums that loosely represented different branches of science, Physics, Meteorology, Psychology, Biology, and Horticulture. My science was Entomology. Everyone’s work was imaginative and worked well together. It took me way longer than I wanted to decide what science and what work and there was some panic because of the Caliber of artists, but in the end, I was happy with how my work meshed.

4. Milburn Stone Gallery – speaking of some panic – this show was an installation type exhibition that featured a mix of photographic images and scientific glass. This was my first solo show in a very long time and I wanted to use the space itself as part of the vibe. It was a different way of thinking for me. I wanted it to be minimalistic, spare and empty without feeling like it was lacking. t was somewhat industrial but also about the thin veil and working out grief.

5. Rehobeth Art League Photography Group Show:  Mostly because the caliber of work that explored the many dimensions of the medium in beautiful and technically adept ways and I have admired the juror’s work, Adilia Fish for many years.

We can see the expansive albums and portfolios that you have developed over the years in photography. What elements/skills of photography have you been able to carry over into other disciplines and use to your benefit? 

Knowing that - - Practice Makes Perfect - - and there is always something new to learn and struggle with – it is part of the process-- not what defines your self-esteem.    

Enjoying the Pleasure and Zen of not just looking but also seeing.   I can almost always be happy when I am feeling/doing this.

Anything else you'd like to share?

If you can – see this show multiple times with different people. One of my favorite things is to split up and look as much as you can and then gather back and discuss with each other your favorite things while looking at that particular work. You are always going to get some cool and different perspectives and catch some obvious things that you missed. Kids and non- artists can make this activity especially interesting.

It is also a unique opportunity to buy and support local artwork. I gave Tina Marabito’s - Vegetable Prints as Christmas gifts.

My daughter bought me two embroidery hoop pieces by Courtney Messina for Mother’s Day that I love!

Where can people see more of your work?

I will be curating and participating in a Photography Exhibit for the Wilmington June Art on the Town at Colourworks on Superfine lane. http://www.colourworks.com