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Daily Inspiration: Meet Mary Bohn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Bohn.

Hi Mary, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Today, I am a scenic artist working in the film and entertainment industry painting props for photoshoots, like a slab faux marble bathtub for Kylie Jenner’s new cosmetic line launch on Instagram, to plastering and painting a backdrop for The (Dixie) Chicks for an interview with Billboard Magazine, (which also placed in their top 2020 photoshoots for the year!). More recently, I painted a series of canvas paintings that are going to be seen in Franklin’s penthouse in season five on the show “Snowfall”. My list goes on and this is how it started… I was born and grew up in a small town in Ohio. My first commissioned oil painting was requested at age sixteen, which this commissioned piece also won grand prize and first prize in a local county radio station art contest, and I have been professional since. My entrepreneurial spirit was encouraged at that time too, by my mother to put ads in the classifieds for artwork. The phone started to ring… In high school my M.O. was that of being the “artiste'” of the school, in charge of decorating committees, president of the art club, artist of the yearbook staff, etc. I loved designing, painting, and coordinating projects for events!

Onto art school and I majored in Commercial Art, Illustration & Design and entered the print and publishing world thereafter, but still retained my side of entrepreneurism. I created paintings, signs, anything artistic that anyone requested, had gallery showings and entered art competitions; I placed and won ribbons over the years.

From my graphic and computer work creating advertising and working constantly with account reps, an itch for advertising sales evolved. I entered the sales niche first in local advertising and then climbed to international sales servicing worldwide accounts traveling occasionally cross country from New York to California for shows or client appointments. I could sell them advertising, but I also could create their ad layouts, which thrilled them.

After about five years of sales, a gnawing feeling to get back into my world of messy colorful paints grew, so I took classes for faux and decorative painting. I sucked up everything around me like a sponge to learn and experiment in this new world of faux finishing. I created marble, wood, stone, brick, chipped plaster, distressed looks, metallic gilding, crackle effects, created textures with plasters, and painted murals. Anything to fool the eye and experimented on all different kinds of subject matter.

I entered Designer Showcase Home shows and “Homearama” and worked next to many interior decorators, builders and remodelers forming my network for business and exposing my level of artistry. Over time, a list of repeat customers formed and I developed a reputation. I also earned recognition for certain city projects, for now I had gravitated to more metropolitan areas. Through networking, I had developed relationships with restaurant designers. Through the years, I have had my hands into many city restaurant and bar projects and even an event venue mural. Always something challenging and stimulating! I had even gotten involved with furniture sales and decorating design along the path.

My move to the city of angels arose from watching a particular movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, one evening with my youngest who was in high school. The second DVD included showed how the film was created with many artists running around doing a lot of cool fun stuff, and I pointed at the TV and told my son that was what I would be doing someday!

In the six years following, certain life events happened that slowed the process down, but the universe worked its magic in its timely fashion with my vision, and I am now here doing exactly what I said I would be doing.

If anyone learns anything from reading this, I hope it is to follow your passion, have a vision and believe in yourself. It is feeling your way through quite often, but when a person or situation presents itself, ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” Someone might say no? So what, keep plugging on…What IF they say YES?! Imagine what might could happen then.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
All roads have bumps no matter how small or large. Just to make this major move and big change in my life, I had to first deal with a process of elimination downsizing from a large house with three children over twenty years in a pristine Midwest suburb to a one bedroom apartment in a West Coast urban area. Then it was the cross country trip adventure with what I did decide to keep, which had its challenges but is memorable in a great way.

My first initial obstacle was running into the predicament with the set construction companies that said before I moved, they couldn’t wait until I got here so I could start working with them, were now slow or had senior staff changes that decided they didn’t need help anymore. If sales taught me anything, it is life is about numbers, so I went through the list and applied my sales skills of calling and following up. It took some time, but I eventually started working.

Anything worth having is usually never easy; it takes tenacity and perseverance.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I work freelance and create magic with paint/plaster backdrops and props for set construction companies who acquire contracts for commercials, events, movies, shows, after parties, etc. What you see quite often on screen is not real; I am the one that does the specialty painting that makes a marble countertop or wood beams look real in a commercial with a kitchen. I am the one who takes pristine painted set walls and recreates them to look like concrete or distress them to look old and drippy. Time is always of the essence because the deadline is usually like yesterday, so I need to work fast! There is usually always a good amount of pressure involved also.

I am probably most proud of taking a plain slab MDF “bathtub” and painting it to look like real marble for Kylie Jenner’s Instagram launch of her new product line for both her personal and business IG pages. She has over 233 million followers!! Another well-known set construction company in the industry viewed the tub and matching backsplash and remarked it was one of the top three things they’ve ever seen painted!

I am also the artist that can paint something freehanded very artistically. I am known to be able handle any job that is given me, I’m dependable, I work hard, and my work is good. Your name then travels…To some companies, I am their specialty painter/artist and artist.

My years of experience and expertise set me apart from a lot of artists; there isn’t much I haven’t seen, messed with or touched, and I know a lot about construction.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Don’t get discouraged. If there is a hiccup along the way, it may be leading you somewhere you didn’t plan on for a reason. Follow it for it will unfold.

Pricing:

  • • $35 – $50 an hour (non-union) depending on the company, job type and time line
  • • $600 day rate based on a 10 hour day

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Kwaku Alston – Billboard Magazine, “The Chicks” shot shoot

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