Mari Gwenllian

2 September 2020

“Haiaaa, I’m Mari Gwenllian. I’m from the beautiful land of Aberystwyth but I currently live in Wales’ biggest smoke Cardiff. I’m an artist & business owner. I create bespoke string art maps, abstract paintings, and I work a lot with abstract nudes via prints and apparel that celebrate the female body in all its glory!

Being a creative woman is my whole life, I quit my part time hospitality job in December and since then I’ve been working on my brand, which has obviously gone a little differently than planned this year! As a woman in this industry I like to think that I’m doing my part by pushing real life figures and shapes and reminding people that the bodies we see every day in the media don’t represent the vast majority of us real life folk. I’m trying to remind people that their body is the most powerful and valuable thing that they have whatever it looks like and that that in itself is beautiful.

I’ve always wanted to work for myself, I’m stubborn and I hate having people tell me what to do. So that was definitely a driving force behind me setting up on my own. I studied photography in university and the mentality throughout the course is that you’re setting yourself up for self employment and so I think that has always been my plan. I’m super passionate about art, it makes me so happy and I absolutely love the fact that I turn up every day and just do what I feel like doing that day, I don’t see why you would ever turn that down!

I’ve only started spreading awareness about body confidence on my page quite recently. I’m so so SO glad that I have. I’ve had issues with my body image for such a long time and I’ve turned it all around in the past couple of years, now I love my body and I want absolutely everyone to experience that feeling. I can’t explain how much of a difference it makes to each and every single day of my life, I just want to spread that feeling as far as I can. I follow people on instagram that have made me feel this way and I think there’s a huge gap in the market for it in Welsh and I’ve just decided to fill that gap, it just so happens that it fits in with my nude art!

Wales is so small and everyone knows everyone so the fact that I’m spreading this body confidence message in Wales (in my underwear) means that I’m prepared for everyone to see this version of me, a very vulnerable and raw me – with my shit skin, my belly rolls and my hip dips all on display. By doing this I leave myself with nothing to hide, so when I meet someone new or bump into someone awkward then there’s a good chance they’ve seen my ‘flaws’ and it means that my brain isn’t overflowing with worry about what people think and I can get on with my day – I find that quite empowering..

I’d say my biggest challenge as a creative woman is not overusing pink.. I don’t think I’m doing very well on that front.

I’ve literally just moved into my first ever studio! I have a studio in Cathays now and I’m mega excited about it. I’m about to paint a wall pink (facepalm). So next for me is to make this little space as cool as I can! I’m very happy as I am so my plan is to continue as I am and grow and grow until I’m a millionaire and I’ve got the coolest studio in Cardiff and I’ve paid off mam’s mortgage, until then I’ll just fake it till I make it!”

Find Mari and HIWTI:

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