Meet Marisa Keris - Artist in Residence


Can you describe your work for us in 7 words or less

Emotional, romantic, atmospheric, psychological, layered, figurative, earthy.

Being an artist can be a challenging profession, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d tell myself to just keep moving forward, keep creating, and to get out of my own way. In the past I have spent too much time worrying about what to make, and some things you just have to work through to find your way. Painting is especially discovered and uncovered by “just doing it”. You have the rest of the painting’s life to analyze and critique it.


What are you listening to at the moment?

Charles Bradley, Bonnie Raitt, Ryan Adams, a few Philly and Muscle Shoals soul standards– all the moody stuff.

What do you look at for inspiration?

Colors that come from nature, but also the unexpected discoveries that come from being outdoors. Time spent traveling, lots of walking, and looking at the ordinary until it’s seen in a new light. Beautiful little moments in real life that are like little paintings.

What artists inspire you most?

Giorgio Morandi, Antonio López García, Kaye Donachie, Cecily Brown, Balthus, Hanneline Rogeberg, Lisa Yuskavage.


Who would be a dream artist to collaborate with?

William Kentridge has used drawing to crossover into opera, tapestry, animation, and public art– the man’s a master. I think it’s Kentridge’s devotion to drawing that all else unfolds. I wish I could have been part of the group that helped to create Triumphs and Laments, the power washed and stenciled mural created in 2016 along the Tiber River in Rome. It’s so specific to the place and was beautifully executed.

What’s something that you learned early in your career that you feel made you a better artist?

 My foundational training from the Rhode Island School of Design continues to make me a better artist and observer. Work ethic, technique, a deep love of drawing from nature, and rigorous color theory, are the base for everything I’m making today. I also see how it’s shaping my approach to teaching. I’m always trying to question, learn, improve, and grow.



Why did you apply to become a resident at Jasper Studios? And what did you hope to achieve during the residency program?

After graduating from Tyler School of Art with my MFA in Painting I took a few months working outside a studio. I was craving a private space to paint, meet other artists, and show my work. I’m inspired by Philadelphia, its history, diversity and landscape. I’ve been attracted to Philadelphia for a long time, and Jasper Studios’ reuse of a beautiful old space makes that dream accessible to artists. I’m very influenced by my environment, and as a painter I’m enjoying the process of working in this studio to discover new work.

Marisa Keris