Cactus Gallery's 13th Birthday Bash!

I've been so luck to work with such a cool gallery - Cactus Gallery, in Los Angeles. I've only visited LA once, and at the time, I hadn't yet met the wonderful curator / gallery owner Sandra Mastoianni. Now, I've had the pleasure of being included in 3 of their group art shows - the first being the Day of the Dead themed show, the second was "Patterns," which ends March 3rd, and the third show, their celebration of being in business for 13 years! I contributed a piece of art that was cactus-inspired. There were a lot of prompts to help in my brainstorming before starting to paint, but I knew I wanted to feature cacti heavily, without the painting only being about cacti.

I chose to focus on the Mexican flag, which is represented as an eagle, holding a snake, and perched on a cactus. I've painted the Mexican flag several times before in family portraits, but it was great fun to "zoom in" on the meaning and the details.

I wanted to infuse a bit of humor. At first, I had just been painting the eagle flying and holding the snake, with the cacti underfoot. Then I thought to mimic the shape of the cacti with other snakes rising up to behold the "chosen one." And thus, the name of the piece was born!

This piece was sold before the show opened (???) which is so exciting! I'm thrilled that someone responded to my piece.

I'm trying to move into a more "American" influenced way of painting...allowing my subject matter to reflect all of the beautiful cultures that make up this country. I'm immensely proud to be American and I want to infuse my love for my country into my art. As I lived abroad, I was rubbing shoulders with countless other cultures. Some who hailed other countries informed me that "America has no culture. Just hamburgers and pizza, baseball and fat people." I was taken aback by this statement, and soon learned that most of the world views America in this way - lazy, stupid, self-centered, and loud. Of course, there are tons of Americans who exhibit these qualities...but so many more people who fight for a good life, who are motivated to follow (a new version of) the American dream, and who care deeply about others.

Marni Manning - Artist

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