Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcy Day Smith.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Growing up, I had an interest in art from a very young age. I was encouraged by my parents to draw every day, make my own Halloween costumes, take after-school painting classes, and enter every category for the crafts event at the county fair. After majoring in fine arts at UC Santa Cruz, I landed my dream job as an Art Buyer in advertising in Los Angeles. Six years later and ready for an adventure, I quit my job to travel with my boyfriend around the world. We bought used bicycles and spent two years riding them from Vietnam to Turkey. During the first year, we came up with the idea for MarcyMoji – an iMessage sticker app with hundreds of hand-painted emojis from the sketchbook I kept while traveling. We stopped in Bali for six months and I painted every day, finally launching the app in November of 2016. Since then, it has been downloaded half a million times and was featured in a global ad campaign by Apple. Along with MarcyMoji, I’ve started a greeting card line and work on commissions for small businesses – creating everything from branding work to animations. My dream is to illustrate a children’s book, design a book cover, and create a full line of branded products featuring my artwork,
Please tell us about your art.
My artwork has always been bright, colorful and fun. I remember being teased in college because I didn’t paint anything dark or depressing. In fact, someone once said during a critique that my work looked like “all unicorns and rainbows”. At the time it bummed me out because I thought I wasn’t thought-provoking enough, and no one would take me seriously as an artist. Now I realize that there’s enough depressing imagery out there in the world that we are bombarded with daily, so why not counteract it with something uplifting? When I began painting again while traveling, I started off turning ideas from my sketchbook into stickers for MarcyMoji. I thought about what people would want to send to their friends and family in a text message. I carried around 3-4 notebooks, a handful of paintbrushes and about 30 tubes of Japanese gouache.
At the end of the bike tour, we purchased an iPad with the money we’d earned from the app, and I’ve been painting on it ever since. In the last year or so, I’ve gradually started taking inspiration from my travels and painting more scenes. These days, I’m focusing on women doing adventurous things. As a woman who likes to bike, surf, camp, and hike I like to think that I’m always painting a version of myself. I’m not very political in my work, but painting women doing badass things is my way of injecting some female empowerment into the illustration world and hopefully, a little girl might see herself in those scenarios too.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
I think the biggest challenge facing artists today is the pressure to create artwork that will please everyone. In today’s world, social media is becoming increasingly important to landing jobs and legitimizing artists work. It can be a blessing and a curse. It can give an artist the ability to reach a wide audience with the click of a button, but the pressure to constantly create artwork that will get likes and engagement can really alter the creative process. I wish there wasn’t such an emphasis on having thousands of followers. All artists should feel empowered to try new things, use different mediums, play around with the process and see what comes out of it instead of getting stuck doing something that will please people online.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
People can see my work on Instagram @marcymoji or my website: www.marcydaypaints.com. People can support my work by checking out my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarcyMoji or downloading my iMessage sticker app on the iTunes App Store by searching: MarcyMoji.
Marcy Day Smith. Photo of me taken by Andrew Williams.