Mary & Fred Schepisi on ZF, activism through art and surviving lockdown.

American artist in her own right, Mary, became Mary Schepisi after she fell in love with and married Australian film director Fred Schepisi. Mary has had exhibitions all over the world, exploring many different concepts and mediums such as painting, needlework and collage. Fred is best known for his films such as Six Degrees of Separation (1993), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) and Roxanne (1987). He too has worked across the globe.

ZF: Mary, we really admire how you’ve managed to incorporate a lot of activism and political messaging into your art, can you talk about the story behind your embroidery pieces?

MS: Two series ago, I focussed on paintings involving flowers; very bright, very pretty flowers. People can paint flowers better than me, even abstract flowers. Or, you know, they can do them differently from me. I wanted to do something else, I didn’t want to do just flowers. So on many of them, I stitched the phrase ‘Seeking asylum is a human right’ in small text on the flowers. The buyers could take them off if they wanted… but I wanted it to be more than just a pretty flower.

MS: Years ago, I stitched a lot of ‘Don’t shoot’, which unfortunately is still relevant, especially now. A lot of the words that I use to keep coming back. ‘Changed the game’. ‘Right here, right now.’ I like to sell and give these little textile pieces to my friends, or I keep them with me. I have one called ‘Breathe Deeply, Say Nothing’, that’s like my mantra.

FS: Laughs not always.

ZF: Let’s talk about how you know Zetta Florence, what are your favourite products?

Mary recalls she and Fred working with our warehouse manager Steve

MS: As Fred’s a film director, he always has a script with him when he’s shooting. After Fred’s shoots I would take the pages, they were only a clip thing, and he (Steve) would make them into a beautiful leather-bound book.

ZF: What an honour! Housing Fred Schepisi’s scripts

MS: I use Zetta Florence‘s Mylar. These are the best to protect your art. I’ve been addicted to them for years.

You heard it here first – the BEST to protect your art.

Mary and Fred spent the lockdown in their house in Red Hill, where Mary had spent time focusing on her art. She told us about a new project she has started, printing her beautiful artwork onto gorgeous homewares such as tea towels, cushions and the invariably relevant face mask.

You can shop her vibrant and beautiful designs on her website here

We were lucky enough to talk to Mary recently when she came into our store to re-stock her beloved Mylar sleeves. She let us know about a new exhibition she currently has on, Nature’s Vitality

In her own words: “The work being shown here is all from a time during the lockdown and in between, inspired by my exposure and involvement with our vivid vineyard landscape in Red Hill. The works represent the beauty all around me in colour, energy, vibrancy and negative space”.

This is the first time Mary has taken prints from her original artworks, making it a very exciting opportunity for attendees to purchase Mary’s prints for their home.

The exhibition is running from July 10th – August 14th at the Chapman & Bailey contemporary art gallery in Abbotsford.

We want to thank Mary & Fred again for giving up their time to speak with us, we wish you both all the best in your future creative endeavours, and cannot wait to hear all about it in the future!

We will leave you with this funny moment of humility from the interview…

MS: “We showed it (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)) last year or the year before with, what’s his name?

FS: “Quentin Tarantino”

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