bruce marion artist
Bruce Marion finds joy in exploration and variety. Over the course of his multi-decade career as a professional artist, he’s been an illustrator for everything from children’s games to corporate logos, an abstract artist, a landscape artist, and now a teacher. For Bruce, this is how he evolves, grows and learns––and as he says, it’s just in his nature not to be static.

Just looking at Bruce’s body of work, it’s easy to see he finds his joie de vivre in the act of creating something out of nothing. For him, the process is a journey through discovery, learning, teaching and connecting. And even after he’s completed a piece, he loves the idea that it then takes on a new story depending on the home it ends up in, who sees and who’s impacted by it.

Art is something Bruce knew was his calling even from a young age and his passion for it is still as vibrant today as it was when he began studying it as a child. Read on or watch the video below to learn more about Bruce and his journey as an artist.

When did you know art was your calling?

I kind of always knew. I loved art as a little kid. My dad loved art. He went to art school and he was really quite good. And when I was little and showed an interest in it, he’d show me how to do a little one-point perspective––he loved teaching me things and was always really supportive of art. So, I pretty much did know from a young age that art was probably going to be my thing. My parents were so cool. They put me in art class and at 9 years old I was in adult art classes.

What does your art journey look like?

I applied right out of high school to Art Center College Design, which is one of the top art schools in the world. It’s in Los Angeles and was near me and happened to be where my dad went. I graduated with honors and really enjoyed it. It was very intense, but the thing I loved about it was all the teachers there are professionals. They’re not professional teachers. They’re out working in the field as art directors or painters or artists. So I got to see the reality of the field. It was super cool and just very intense. A lot of late nights and what you’d imagine in any sort of intense program, like in law, except I was becoming an artist.

How has your work evolved?

There are some artists who like to focus in one area and do that their whole life. But the exciting thing, in life in general, for me is learning new things. When I realized that, I resisted it at first because, the professionals, when you’re getting started, say just do one thing. Just do what you know. That’s hammered in, in all sorts of areas. When I got out of art school I was an illustrator, so I created art for companies and I never could just keep myself in one area. It was not in my nature. My nature is to want to explore and learn and not in a fickle way. I would delve deep into areas, but I also felt like, why do I have to stop there?

As an illustrator and commercial artist, I illustrated a whole bunch of children’s games and packaging for Toys R Us. I probably did 15 or 20 different games there. I did magazine covers. I did things for high-tech companies. I designed logos for companies. I just had this really interesting array of clientele where I was bouncing between traditional art and digital art. And I love that learning.

My work in the show here––this is my 19th year here––has evolved so much. My first eight years, I was an abstract painter, which I learned so much from and was so thankful for doing that. Now, I’ve incorporated all that abstraction into more of a subject matter like my wolf or if I’m painting a horse or a landscape. I love the journey of learning. So my work is never going to be static. It’s not my nature.

What do you love most about creating art?

It’s like breathing to me. Sometimes I need a break after I’ve been doing a lot of work and just can’t look at it, but then there’s a point when this switch gets flipped where I’ve got to create something. It’s almost like eating or breathing to me. I love taking a blank canvas––or if it’s digital, a blank screen––and all of a sudden you make something that didn’t exist before. It has kind of a life of its own and people react to it in different ways. They see different things in it and it makes them smile or makes them think. It’s just so fun and so invigorating. The act of creating it is interesting. And then what happens with it after it’s created is also interesting. It kind of takes on its own journey that you really don’t even know what that journey is going to be–––where it’s going to wind up in someone’s home or who’s going to see it and who’s going to be affected by it in a certain way. It’s amazing.

What keeps you coming back to the Celebration of Fine Art?

This has been such a special place. It’s been a venue, first of all, of incredible growth for me because you’re here with people coming in from all over the country––all walks of life. You’re hanging out with a hundred of some of the best artists in the country. Sometimes I call it “artist summer camp”. And I can’t wait to come back and see my friends. We learn and sometimes we collaborate. It’s such a special place.

I’ve grown so much here. I’ve learned to just interact. A lot of us artists are sitting in our studio alone like hermits in there painting, painting, painting. And I sell in nine art galleries around the United States, which I love when they sell my work, but I don’t meet my collectors that way. And I don’t really get to see their reaction to my work. But this place creates a whole wonderful cycle of that. And then getting to work on-site and then share our process. People love watching that creation happen. It’s magic. It’s about human connection and sharing. And that’s what this place provides––that space to do that.