After teaching high school history for years, Marianne Bernsen fell into a love of art at the age of 48.
Bernsen works with canvas, creating colorful and eclectic paper collages, floor cloths and necklaces — she currently has more than 100 unconventional necklaces made and ready to go to their perfect homes.
Beyond canvas, her necklaces may also incorporate rubber, wood and laminated paper.
“I like alternative. I like lightweight. Everything is one of a kind. I like (my art) to look very artistic and off-the-wall. People who buy my work are a little edgy,” she says, adding that she likes her art to be “outrageous and obnoxious.”
“I don’t think you should spend money on something no one notices,” she says. “The kind of person who likes my art knows they’re going to be noticed.”
Bernsen says she seeks balance, authenticity, charm and humor when she creates her art.
And though she doesn’t know exactly why she got into art, her art career kicked off when she spent a year and a half in Zimbabwe. She was inspired by fabric, textiles and the way people painted their homes in Africa.
When returning to her then-home in Minnesota, Bernsen says art took over, so she decided to get a studio and turned art into a full-time job.
“I just jumped in. I guess it was always in me,” says Bernsen, who is self-taught in the art she creates.
Now 78 years old, Bernsen, who moved to Tucson in 1993 seeking sunshine, serves customers from across the nation and does a lot of commission work.
“I have an aesthetic, and when someone sees a Bernsen piece, they say, ‘I knew that was you, Marianne,’” she says.
Contact reporter Gloria Knott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4235. On Twitter: @gloriaeknott