We had the good fortune of connecting with Mariah Fox Hausman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mariah Fox, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I consider risk taking essential to my creative practice and career. When I reflect, it’s been those “risky” moves that set me on the paths which turned out to be ultimately, really rewarding life choices. In fact, it’s hard for me to remember risks now that ended up to be “mistakes.” The funny thing is, I’ve always been the most cautious person in every way, and I worry a lot about making the right decision. So talking about myself as a a risk taker is a surprise to me! I suppose I follow my instincts when I take risks, and learning to trust those instincts has led me to good things. For example, after many productive years working in-house, I chose to go freelance in 2000. At the time, I was afraid to lose my benefits, and financial security. But I knew deep down that working for myself would be a huge reward. Sure, there were times that were hard, but the ability to make my own choices and be my own boss were payback. Probably, I’ve worked harder than ever as a freelancer, but it has opened up so many cool projects and possibilities for me: I really haven’t looked back–and certainly no regrets! There have been other times that I’ve left my comfort zone only to discover that I never would have grown otherwise. Like agreeing to partner with others on projects, taking on jobs that seemed difficult or unfamiliar technically, or even changing locations for a new position. It’s those times that you stress a lot about making a decision, and feel a really huge relief once you finally do it. Then you realize it was the right choice. I believe that in the end, it’s the risks that push you right to the precipice which help you grow wiser, stronger, and more creatively powerful.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Studying myself as an artist while earning my MFA at the University of Miami, I discovered that my own art was mostly about OTHER artists. I realized then, that what gets me inspired and motivated creatively is to pay tribute to others, and to really know deeply about artists who make things that I love to experience. I don’t really know if this sets me apart in some special way, but it definitely grounded me to come to that realization. From the many Bob Marley books I’ve designed and illustrated, to my writing and research about Jean-Michel Basquiat, and my Etsy shop that features famous figures including Jim Morrison: I choose to honor and remember those who have inspired social response and change. I find that it is an escape to get lost in what others have created, and to study what helped build them into who they were and are. It really excites me that my subject matter is a reservoir that will never dry up. With artists and art, there is always more to see, to listen to, to feel and to learn. Spending time figuring all this out was an indulgence to while earning an MFA, but it was also very, very hard. When you just want to create, it’s difficult to figure out why you create. But once you do, it opens up confidence that can never be taken from you. My brand, or myself, has been built through hard work, inspiration, passion and sometimes the depths of confusion. And if it hadn’t been for all that: I wouldn’t have the self direction and certainty that I possess today.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
My home base is down south, but my favorite place in Miami is South Beach. If money is no object, we rent a cute place on the sand, lounge around at the ocean all day and night, drink and eat great stuff. If there is reggae, I can always be found at those shows and festivals all over the state, and rarely miss a Marley appearance by any family member. When I was younger, we’d hit clubs… but now I’m happiest eating good things, chilling and taking in the great weather and views. The Perez Art Museum is stunning, and even though Wynwood has gotten crazy, it’s still fun to binge on art during Basel season. I also like cruising to the Everglades and the Gulf Goast to see the flora and fauna, and down to the Redlands to the strawberry farms like Knaus and Robert Is Here. I love ethnic food, and my favorites are often takeout, casual and unfussy…Lan Pan Asian, Tani Thai, Sango, Silver Spoon, The Big Cheese, Daily Bread, Roasters and Toasters and the hidden secret, Chef’s Kitchen.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am always indebted for the support of my family and friends. I am lucky that most of them are also my creative collaborators. Couldn’t do it without them. My parents, Gerry and Lorry Hausman taught me how to create books and run a successful book company. The Marley family, particularly my life-long friend Cedella, have been among my best, most positive supporters. Not only have we shared many good times, but we’ve created tons of great work together that many people have been able to enjoy internationally over the course of my career (nearly 30 years!) Lately, my boyfriend Al Díaz has been my best friend and collaborator. He picks me up when I’m down, makes me laugh, challenges me to think, and I never feel alone. Best of all, we do those things while creating really cool stuff! Last summer we did a public art installation along with photographer Curt Hoppe in NYC, and in 2018 we wrote and produced our first book together about the SAMO©… graffiti.
Hannah Hausman Louis Constant Duit Anais Savariau Mariah Fox