Joshua Tree based “artographer,” Louise Marler’s photographic + text works create strong imagery with pop colors that evoke a vintage vibe. Her work embraces the nostalgic feelings conjured by our collective analog past.
Vintage cameras, typewriters, radios and televisions are her best-known series. The images fill the frame – oversized, simplified and colorized in such a way as they become less physical object, and more playful statement. These machines, which once defined modernity, now conjure a collective familiarity and sentimental aesthetic – which Marler captures with grace and wit.
Louise is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and now splits her time between her desert home in Joshua Tree and the midwestern Gateway City. Growing up, her family collected, repaired and sold typewriters. She notes that these machines became a part of her visual expression naturally – “My career is rooted in our family typewriter business with a letter shop in back, early direct mail. Mass communication, publishing, tools-of-the-trade – the original pop art.” While her degree was in Business Administration, a choice she now appreciates, she is a self-taught artist and proud of the accomplishment. A curator she worked with once said, “Everyone else is from the ‘school of’… but, LA Marler is totally original.” She notes, “Growing up in the later third of the 20th century meant knowing analog media, broadcast and publishing. Now with the digital era, all that integrity, fact-checking and control is democratized, for better or worse. My art is about this, developed by this, is part of this.”
Louise acquired technical expertise through work and school and she has always had a strong drive to master fine art printing. In college she took art classes, and later learned on the job working for printers and publishers. She also studied art and design in “museums, galleries, magazines and books.”
After leaving a job as part of the newspaper union at a daily St. Louis paper, she decided to go West – and she drove her Chevy Cavalier down Route 66 “listening to Depeche Mode.” Once in LA, she rented an apartment and landed a job as a manager at an international magazine.
With the determination of a pioneer, she had made it to the West Coast. She found the joy of paying her own way, indeed the freedom of designing her own lifestyle. She describes that time as “a new era of being a thirdphase feminist.” Later on, she successfully created and sold a commercial printing company, and scored an art studio in a Santa Monica Airport hanger. It was there that she combined her range of mechanical and digital techniques – and developed her unique practice of large format mixed media, and limited- edition prints. Eventually, she added painting and pencil to her photos, and is constantly experimenting with new techniques.