Our walls have been graced by the talents of another amazing artist Maria Chamra. Here are some words from Maria:
Hi! I’m Maria Chamra, a contemporary realist painter based out of the Jersey shore. My distinctive personal style is a reflection of my playful, emotional, and nostalgic spirit. I’m inspired by destinations near and far, music that moves me, and love in all forms.
Some of my earliest memories consist of drawing pictures for family and friends. My grandmother often said she would worry I was getting into trouble whenever it would fall silent in the house. Without fail, I would be found in my own world - quietly sketching images on the living room floor. Not much has changed. Any spare time I have now is usually spent creating artwork way into the wee hours of the night.
Besides taking some art classes in high school and tuning into Bob Ross, I’ve really developed my style and skills on my own throughout the years. I’ve mostly worked in pencil, charcoal, and acrylic paint. My personal artwork has ranged in size from miniature canvases to murals - so I’m a bit of an extremist! A running theme in my artwork, no matter the medium, is my hyper-attention to detail.
About four years ago, I decided to test my patience and tiny brush skills with small stretched canvases measuring a mere 3x3 and 3x5 inches. These itty-bitty paintings are one-of-a-kind, handmade, and custom designed to put a smile on your face with the ability to fit in your pocket! I’ve been addicted to the challenges it bestows and the convenience of being able to take these on the go - not to mention they are so darn cute! I feel very fortunate to be trusted with encapsulating such personal experiences from each client’s life.
I’m very environmentally conscious and try to upcycle any medium I can get my paws on. This includes leather handbags, jackets, slate, wood, bone, terracotta pots, and even vintage prints and paintings that have been tossed aside and discarded. I enjoy breathing new life into each piece and especially love the idea of contrasting subject matters. Introducing an unexpected element or twist to a classic theme is my absolute favorite.
I’m relatively new to this field. It was a big jump and a bit daunting to go from super small canvases to full walls, but I’m always up for a challenge! Even at this large size, I draw and hand paint every aspect - no spray paint required. These have ranged from kids’ bedrooms to an Airbnb in Red Bank. Keep your eye out for my next one coming soon to Keyport!
GRAPHIC DESIGN + PRINTMAKING
My more recent venture has been the inclusion of graphic design and screen printing in my never-ending catalog and rotation of products. I’ve been trying my hand at transitioning my fine art skills into the digital world to design logos, apparel, and merchandise. My 9-5 job is printmaking for a mom-and-pop shop in Ocean Township called Epoch Print Shop. They have graciously shown me the ropes and I have become obsessed with absorbing all I can in this industry.
In addition to my commissioned work, I am also a traveling art instructor who provides guided classes for private party events as well as one-on-one instruction. I've collaborated with such establishments as Liberty Harley-Davidson, Wish Upon a Jar, Pino’s Gift Basket Shoppe and Wine Cellar, Dark City Brewing Co., and Young at Art Studio to host themed paint and sip events.
At the end of the day, I want to make you feel. I want the viewer to connect and be reminded of a specific moment in time. To transport you to your hometown hangout or a far-off destination. To relive that album you once had on repeat for an entire summer. To show off your favorite, red kicks. To capture your happiest memories on the tiniest of canvases or largest of murals. I hope to help others look a little bit closer at ordinary objects and surrounding environments to find beauty in all forms.
My artwork has been shown in exhibitions throughout New Jersey including “Journey” at Monmouth University, “BIG Art in Small Packages” at Brookdale Community College, and “Sanctuary” at 10PRL. I am a recipient of the Congressional Art Award, have been commercially published for The Keyport GardenWalk, and have been featured as a monthly demo artist for the East Rutherford Art Society. Additionally, I am an active member of Monmouth Arts, a leading, independent, arts advocacy organization for Monmouth County artists. You can find my creations online or in person at various punk rock flea markets.
Maria's work will be hanging through October. We look forward to the prospect of a salon event led by Maria in the coming weeks!