This week, we are in conversation with Mári Dimitrouli. She is a talented artist and photographer renowned on social media as Marion Toy. Marion creates stunning conceptual art photographs that are brimming with creativity, colors and imagination. She has studied Graphic Design and has been working as an Art Director in advertising companies and art studios for the last 13 years. Her project Marion Toy is a one woman show. She handles everything right from concept, art direction, paper constructions(props), styling, hair & makeup, posing and photo shooting to editing.
Join us in our conversation with Mári Dimitrouli, the creative brain behind these surreal conceptual art images.
How did you get into conceptual art photography?
Marion Toy was created on January 2013 out of my need to experiment with colors, shapes and ideas. I actually had no clue I was building up a creative identity.. I was just having fun with this whole creative process. From that day on I decided to communicate my mood, my thoughts, my aesthetics as “Marion Toy” in front of my mint-green wall.
My goal is to produce visuals with original concepts and surreal aesthetics easily understandable from the viewers. Plus to put a smile on their faces : )
Please walk us through your creative process.
To be honest I don’t follow certain steps. Good organization is necessary in order to gather all the materials I need to construct my props, but other than that I tend to let the core idea of the concept evolve in my head. There were times where I needed 10 shots just to get it right and some other times when I had to go over it 5 or 6 times.
Good mental focus and patience is a PLUS when you’re going through this process.
What is the source of inspiration for your concepts?
I never really know what to answer to that question..and that is because I never realize exactly when I’m inspired by something, plus, the after-effect might come way later and in a very altered way. To be honest I have gathered a lot of ideas, pictures and memories in my head from the past years. It’s like a mosaic of things I’ve seen or imagined and I’m ready to alter in my very own creative way.
What is your go-to camera gear for concept art photography?
Mirrorless camera Sony Alpha6000 + External flashlamp.
I do use Adobe Photoshop while editing but only for slight correction purposes. 99% of my pictures include realistic handmade paper props. I started posting “making of” pics lately so that people know that the props are in fact real. I am constructing them with a lot of patience and plenty of joy.
What projects are you currentlyworking on?
I have an idea stuck in my head for quite sometime now..it’s a bit different from what I usually do but it will definitely have some touches of my basic creative style. It seems it’s going to be series. I am thinking of taking it outdoors this time.
What advice would you give to photographers embarking on conceptual art photography?
My advice to all young creatives in general: Try not to get stuck into technical stuff (not the right camera, don’t have the perfect lighting etc) because this will get you tired, then bored and you’ll probably quit your project. Have fun with what you’re doing, it’s the only way to succeed. People can sense “fun” through your work.
To get a sneak-peak into her work, visit: www.mariontoy.com