Coming from a family of artists and artisans, the spark for creativity has been with Marcella Lally from an early age, being nurtured & ignited by a creative family.
“My grandfather was a ballet shoe maker for Klings shoes in Chicago. Growing up I watched my mom paint & experiment with different art projects. As a kid I would play in the creeks around our house & find pieces of natural clay there. I would use rocks & sticks as tools & create things like mushrooms & birds,” shares Lally. Recalling how she would take a box of crayons & a Bic lighter & melt the metallic gold & then silver crayons, drip by drip into the creek, later running down the stream to find the tiny bits as if she were panning for gold.
Artist Marcella Lally, is known to most people as Marcy. But she does sign her work Marcella T. Lally. “I like all the LLLLL’s,” she reveals.
A graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute with a bachelors degree in sculpture, Lally remembers something key from back in those days that it has stuck with her ever since. “I wasn’t limited to a certain kind of medium like ceramics, fiber or paint,” she shares. Adding how, “anything is possible with sculpture.”
“It [sculpture] kind of opened up the doors wide open for me,” Lally says. Going on to say that today, she works predominately in animal skulls - sustainably sourced - like cow, steer, deer, & elk. She uses mixed media ephemera, tchotchkes combined with handmade ceramics to adorn them.
Clay has been a constant source of inspiration for Lally. She explains how, “I love that it’s the earth in a raw form. I tend to use it when I sculpt to continue to represent earthen forms like flowers, branches, thorns, & leaves.” Lally works with anything that fits the need for what she’s trying to express at the time.
Lally remembers that Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Go into the arts.”
But, she says, “I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living.” Lally explains how art is a very human way of making a life more bearable. “Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.”
Lally beseeches you to,” “sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You’ll get an enormous reward. You’ll have created something. Besides that, your friends will think you’re fun & quirky too.”
She goes on to say that, seriously as an artist, it’s more than just a career & then you retire. It’s something that’ll be with you hopefully until you pass away. “I plan to keep creating until I croak off & die,” Lally laughs. “It’s something inside of me that I need to let out.”
For Lally, what’s surprising about her work process is that she’s very self deprecating, or her own worst critic. She shares that she “cusses a lot while making art & goes a little nuts tweaking & readjusting things.”
“It’s a bit of a balance act & very nerve wracking,” she explains. Adding that she’s a huge procrastinator; needing to make coffee several times & then water her plants & groom all their dead leaves off, maybe take a nap, apply lipstick, all before she starts working. Other times when she’s in a good flow, Lally starts working ASAP without even putting her purse down. But she says, “it’s not like it just happens. There are lulls & drags, burst & spurts.”
“Needless to say my plants are well taken care of & I am caffeinated,” Lally jokes.
For Lally, there’s a deep connection with the message of her art & her past. For many years, she worked on & off as a floral designer. She recounts how it was both beautiful & exhausting times, plus a way to make a living while going to school & afterward.
“The language of flowers is engrained into my psyche. It’s about how life is ephemeral & the seed represents rebirth — the circle life,” details Lally. Going on to say how, “there are many beautiful lessons just in the life of a flower. All of which can be related & translated to us as humans & animals that walk the earth. It’s nature at its best & most real from.”
‘Skulls are both beautiful & scary to me,” says Lally. But she uses them as a platform or carrier of the message, explaining how the style is memento mori (remember mortality). She’s taken it a step further by incorporating what she calls Tchotchke (a small bauble). These baubles are what she uses to relate to as humanity both fragile - broken - but not forgotten souvenirs in time.
Lally conveys how “a succinct way to describe my work is to say it’s about nature & the passage of time.”
- - -
Check out more from Marcy Lally & her art online by visiting her online (click here), or contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s also represented by LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans, & her work is featured on their website (click here).
You can see her work at several shows this year too. She’ll be at the Hobbs open studios October 13-14th, Veritable Art First Fridays on September 7 & October 5th (2010 Baltimore, Suite 303, CMO 64108), & the Hilliard Gallery Day Of The Dead Show November 2nd (1820 McGee St., KCMO 64108).
Marcy Lally’s studio is based out of Kansas City, MO:
The Hobbs building
1472 W 9th St.
Marcy Lally #408
The studio is open for open studios twice a year in the fall & spring or by appointment. Open studios this fall:
Friday, October 12th 6-10 PM
Saturday, October 13th 1-4 PM