Photos and work by Marlena Fleck


Marlena Fleck is a young Miami visual artist and a YoungArts Alumni PULSE exhibition artist. To mark the occasion Fleck collaborated with Theory on a limited edition t-shirt inspired by one of her paintings.

Please describe your process. 
I do blind contours of spaces around me with black pen and color them abstractly either digitally or using colored pencil and acrylic paint. Lately, I’ve been doing more printing with traditional inkjet printers and silk-screening on fabrics. After the printing is done I sew pieces together in different patterns with a sewing machine.

Your work seems to have recurring patterns – either in color or in fabrication – can you tell us a little about this?
I’ve always been very appreciative of interesting color palettes and really enjoy seeing what colors look good together. I always try to do swatches in preparation of a new piece to experiment and create new moods with different colors. As for patterns, I love the idea of repetition and how it really symbolizes the repetition of our daily lives. There’s something comforting about patterns that I find really interesting.

What are some things that have inspired you as of late? I’m very inspired by traditional pattern and textile designers such as Anni Albers and more commercial work made by companies like Marimekko and Ikea. I’ve found that I’m really inspired by film and cinematography as well and color palettes and set design in films.

You have made work across many mediums – do you have a preferred method?
Not really. I love breaking the boundaries of stereotypical mediums and challenging myself by doing a little bit of everything within a piece.

How has being part of YoungArts affected you?
YoungArts has allowed me to display my work at various venues and has given me access to professional design commission opportunities. I now see a place for myself in the art world. I don’t know where I’ll be but through the programs that YoungArts has provided I can’t imagine myself in a profession that doesn’t accommodate or appreciate my skills. YoungArts Week also opened my eyes to new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration within the contemporary art world. I’m such a fan of all of the different aspects of the arts, whether that is dance or filmmaking, and I now know that it’s possible to combine them and push my art farther.

Talk to us about what’s next –
I’m really exited to combine my textiles and patterns with film and animation. I want to use figures in front of green screens and think about the idea of virtual space with my designs. I’d like to incorporate music and dance as well and possibly create a music video. 
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