Marion Street Art Materials (or simply "Marion Street" as we say) is
the ongoing fusion of a color wizard's expertise and a young
apprentice's dreamish intrigues. Their shared passion for materials
manifest in an expanding line of oil paints, oil mediums and drawing
inks. Marion Street formed as a sister business to Mount Vision Pastel
Company, a pastel manufacturing operation helmed and masterminded by
Karl Kelly. By the above analogy, Karl is the color wizard. Seth Ellis, the apprentice, came to work for Karl as an
assistant in early 2013. By late 2013, the two were playing with
refining their own linseed oil and in 2014, Karl purchased a 3-roll mill
to begin producing a line of oil paint.
Realizing a demand for oil-bound fluorescent colors, Marion
Street ultimately aims to produce colors beyond the expected palette
Perhaps the story is best told by their individual accounts.
( Karl Kelly )
When I moved to New
York from Chicago after grad school, I was hired as a paint maker at
Williamsburg Art Materials, a position I held seven years. Since making
the first batch twenty-two years ago, I have been fascinated and
intrigued with the process, watching different pigments react to mixing
with oil, some colors becoming intensely mud-like and others like
jelly. The technical jargon in Ralph Mayer’s The Artists Handbook
became comprehensible, even useful, as I developed color formulas with
a cache of pigments from around the world.
Combining paint making with my printmaking and
painting studies at the Museum School in Boston and the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago, I began researching pastel recipes to
translate the vivid color and density of pigments in pastel. Mount
Vision Pastel Company began in fall 2000, on the top floor of an old
general store in Mount Vision, New York and now sells its beloved and
affordable pastels throughout the US, Canada, Australia and England.
Responding to the call to make paint again, now I focus
on unusual and unexpected colors such as fluorescents, phosphorescent
hues and subtle earth and white mixtures. With Seth Ellis, I am
launching Marion Street Art Materials, a small line of oil paints, inks
and mediums that provide unusual, compelling artist-grade materials at
reasonable prices. If you want to paint beyond the expected palette
range and you like dealing directly with the people who make your
paint, visit us at Marion Street.
( Seth Ellis )
met Karl in 2011 while working at the USF based printmaking atelier,
Graphicstudio. My name is Seth Ellis. I make up half of operations here
at Marion Street. My formative training is in dark room photography
(RIP) but my sense of art broadened while attending college in
Brooklyn, NY. While in Brooklyn my aspirations were realigned toward
painting and printmaking but also was solidified for me the inexorable
link between art and its materials. I've involved myself with
materials ever since.
Involvement in paint-making was an aspiration of mine as soon as I
realized the superiority of "hand-made" or small-batch paint. Not to be
overly dreamy but crossing paths with Karl seemed destined. After
coming to work for Karl and hearing his tales of paint-making in New
York, the path to develop our own color line seemed all but paved.