Two months. That’s all that it took for artist Maryanna Hoggatt to produce nine paintings for her first solo show, Animal Battle, at Portland’s Pony Club. She quit her bar tending job and it was like opening the flood gates—the ideas kept pouring in and the work didn’t stop. Plus, each piece is incredibly detailed (painted with a brush as fine a thumb tac) and is about more than just animals in clothing.
The story is this: within the paintings, two animal armies go head to head, and in the end result in something great. Metaphorically, the Hearts and Stars army represents passion and imagination and the Eyes and Hands army represents the physical tools that we have at our disposal. The battle is within the mind, and result is the birth of an idea.
And the story won’t stop there! Maryanna hopes to continue developing it further, bringing in the real enemy: doubt. “Eventually I want them to start living off of the paper to become a physical thing,” she told us of her plans.
Although this was Maryanna’s first official show, it was clearly not her first her experience in the arts. If it were, fathoming completing the project in two months would be even more impossible.
She studied illustration at PNCA and has been creating beautifully whimsical works ever since—posters, fine art and commercial pieces. “Bottom line, I’m a narrative artist,” she explained to us, “I like to tell a story.”
She even utilized her experiences working at C Bar to tell a story in a zine series Adult Babysitting. “There were aspects of bar tending that I liked, like the wads of cash in my pocket,” she told us and laughed. She explained that all bars in Portland have a log book, in which you must record any issues that arise to protect yourself if something ends up happening.
“I wrote in it like a personal diary, so I have six years worth of log books. The most traumatic experiences are just burned into my head,” she explained. Those traumatic experiences were translated into relatable comics—the “anti tray” of carrying numerous glasses in one hand, and stating that “bartenders are magic” when they have to split a bill in five different ways between a pile of cash and credit cards.
Regardless if she’s telling a story based on truth or one from imagination, we can’t wait to see the works that Maryanna will produce next.
Maryanna is wearing the Baxter in Pinot Noir.
Photos by Collin Hughes