marissa frandsen

Marissa Frandsen in a chair of her own design. “The recession was a pivotal point for me,” she says. “My clients’ taste for luxury had not changed, and I saw an opportunity to offer custom furniture at competitive prices.” Photo by Ray Dunbar

Meet Marissa Frandsen. The fresh-faced California native, now a resident of North Carolina, is a creative multitasker: an interior decorator with a furniture design business and an artist with a penchant for moody abstract florals.

Flower: You grew up in a creative household with parents who worked in building and design, so those pursuits were natural for you. How did your art start to take off? Marissa (Mia) Frandsen: Art has been in my life for as long as I can remember, but it was always very private to me. I started to give my clients works after a project was completed. I did that with hesitation, but with hope that they would love them, and I was met with warmth and praise. At first, I didn’t know how to respond because art is a vulnerable place for me, but it has been so gratifying. I’m so thankful for each interior designer who has chosen my work in their design plan. It takes a team of talent to create a home.

How would you describe your artistic style? What materials do you use? My style has unfolded over time. I mix French marble dust into my paint— there is something about including a piece of France in my work that brings a smile. I paint with acrylic, later layering with oil, often transitioning from the brush to the palette knife.

What is it about florals that attracts you in your art? There is such magic behind the whole creation of flowers—how it takes a natural perfect storm for them to form. The days that create the blooms are not alike, and no two flowers are exactly alike. The end is always beauty.

marissa frandsen, mia malcolm studio

A work on paper titled After the Storm III (30 x 22 inches) by Marissa Frandsen

marissa frandsen, mia malcolm studio

Garden Gate No. 2 (48 x 36 inches) by Marissa Frandsen

marissa frandsen, mia malcolm studio

One of Marissa Frandsen’s larger pieces, All Bloom (60 x 48 inches)

marissa frandsen, mia malcolm studio

A piece from the Onward Rivers + Roads series (48 x 48 inches) by Marissa Frandsen

marissa frandsen, mia malcolm studio

Beautiful Chaos (48 x 48 inches) by Marissa Frandsen

What was the process like of attracting big retailers like Horchow and Leftbank Art to sell prints of your work? I became inspired to try after a discovery about my great-grandmother. She owned a dress shop in L.A. She drew the patterns and made the clothes, and she dressed the working woman of her day. To choose that path in her time was very brave. With that same idea of making my work accessible to more people, I had pieces photographed and printed on 5 x 7 watercolor paper as samples. I showed them to retail distributors, and they gave me a chance.

What’s next for Mia Malcolm Studio? I’d like to develop more products, which has been a very organic process. There’s a need, so I figure it out with my clients. We have welded up lighting designs and printed textiles. Creating for others is a joy. It’s as exciting as a blank canvas.

By Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Jeff Hammond

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