We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa Olney and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marissa, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I think balance is the most challenging aspect in most lives and especially in the life of a creative. Historically, my work and life have always just merged into one swirling entity with no clear separation. It went on like this forever as far as I can remember. While one informs and inspires the other it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I began striving for a healthy splitting of my time. I began a consistent meditation practice 4 years ago which has definitely shifted my approach for the better; allowing more space and breath within the work and a concise focus. I feel like taking significant, mindful time away from the physical production of the work is crucial to your overall well being as well as the quality of the work. I’m pretty obsessive with making work but you can’t pour from an empty cup and your body and mind need rest. For example; I used to draw most of the day on my “off” days, when I traveled it was always with the intention of making work or tattooing. Now when I travel I carve out time solely for the hike, or exploring, and on my days off I try to get outside to the beach with my dog and move.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a visual artist working across mediums; Tattooing, painting, sculptural light and sound installation. I received my B.F.A from Pratt Institute in Painting and Meso-American art history, while simultaneously interning at Last Rites Tattoo Theatre and Last Rites Gallery and as Paul Booth’s assistant. I later went on to tattoo under Brooklyn Jaz , exhibit paintings and sculptures internationally and curate in NYC and Miami Basel. Eventually co-owning and operating World Money Gallery and Ethos and Iron tattoo studio with a team of incredibly talented Brooklyn based artists and visionaries; the concept was ‘No borders, all mediums, art is currency’ The idea came together while I was doing a painting commission in Merida in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. That was a very intense time in life with little to no sleep and copious amounts of coffee but it acted as a springboard for what I do now. I enjoy working from themes of mythology and the human experience.
I’ve learned when it comes to business it’s best to do everything in a formal way with contractual agreements , detailing expectations, obligations, and finances; a handshake is only nice in theory.

I have been living and working in Key West, Florida (roughly 90 miles north of Cuba) for the past 3 years ; my primary focus during this time has been tattooing. I tattoo alongside an incredibly talented crew at Southernmost Tattoo. I especially love working in a illustrative, detail oriented style rooted in classic themes of nature, storytelling and the human psyche. I’m currently incorporating energy, chakra and breath work within my tattooing practice for a more holistic mindful approach ; I’m looking forward to continuing on this path and seeing where it leads.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would absolutely have to take them to Krimsey’s Cajun kitchen for an amazing cajun vegan lunch, check out the La Brea Tar Pits and Musem and then Crossroads Kitchen for an innovative and visually stunning dinner. After that I’d have to jump in the car and head south toward Niland and to visit the offbeat splendor that is Slab City and Salvation mountain with a sunset cruise by the Salton Sea.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shoutout Josh Korda’s teachings and guided meditation classes. Korda is a teacher in NYC; founded and leads Dharmapunx NYC which is a secular Buddhist community. He’s a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and when the classes were in person (pre-covid) the energy was palpable. I attended one particular meditation on New Years Eve that was also part intention setting ceremony; absolutely beautiful. His classes are donation based and accessible to everyone, all lectures are online at www.dharmapunx.com A friend introduced me to Josh Korda’s classes back when I lived in New York and it’s changed the course of my life undoubtedly, highly recommend checking out they do..

Website: www.conchink..com

Instagram: @ethosandiron

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