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Life & Work with Rebecca Marimutu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Marimutu.

Hi Rebecca, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I would say my first memory-making art would be painting on the backside of my mother’s headboard. That memory is cemented in my brain. I know a lot of artists say this but I have been playing with art for as long as I can remember.

I didn’t fully pursue it until I was an adult and more so for the last 4 years but I always was creating something. It’s a fundamental part of my life. So yeah, I went to undergrad for math and economics, minored in studio art, and went to grad school in 2018 for photographic and electronic media in which I decided to make paper sculptures.

Now I make work that uses portraits of myself as a landscape for abstraction and play.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Not smooth at all. As I said I studied Math and Economics as an undergrad but wanted to work in and pursue something in the arts.

At that time, I didn’t think I was talented enough to make art-making a profession in any way, so I wanted to do something in maybe arts administration – had no idea what that really was but it sounded like a fit. Since I didn’t have much formal training the jobs that I was/felt limited to were not, let’s say good for my mental health.

I struggled a lot with feeling like I didn’t belong. In 2017, I decided that I needed to center art in my life. Art has gotten me through every stressful and hard time in my life so I thought, hey let’s do this for 2 years, and if it doesn’t work out you can just go back to work and pay off those loans you just accrued. So I did, I got into MICA moved to Baltimore, and started making work.

During my time, I started working as a GTI ( TA) in Kottie Gaydos’s Black and White Photography class at MICA. I was so nervous because although I did a lot of black and white work as an undergrad I didn’t feel qualified because of my degree. Thinking back on it, I feel like degrees can be really limiting especially thinking about how I ‘decided’ what I was going to do when I didn’t even have a grasp on what the world was like and what I can make out of it for myself.

Anyways, turns out, I did know how to develop and process black and white film and I finally felt good about myself after work. That class, and working with Kottie made me want to pursue teaching as a career, which I am thankful to be able to do today.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
So, I used to say I was an interdisciplinary artist – which I defiantly vibe with still but, now I am trying to reclaim the title of photographer. I think I avoided it because it has a strict code of sorts. It can feel somewhat limiting in the way that photographs are expected to show up in spaces.

I want to reclaim the title of a photographer because I still believe what I am doing is photography, but just a little different. I started exploring different ways that photos can exist in grad school, by making work that doesn’t rely on cameras but refers more to the process of photographic media.

Now my work centers around using myself as a surface to allow me to manipulate destroy and abstract. I think that is the work that I am most known for. I am the proudest of the way that I am able to make work that is bad and still feel proud of myself for making it.

For a long time doubt prevented me from making, anything. I feel proud that I was able to move past that and explore topics and concepts that I want to address.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
I think the biggest resource I have is the friends and people I have met in Baltimore. I have learned so much from them and feel lucky to be able to talk honestly about things that I am thinking of and working through.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: @ebecca_ray and @rebeccamarimutu

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