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Where yacht-makers go for their art

October 16th, 2018

By Angela Sartiano for The Journal Gazette

Mary Pat Wallen's work, like that of most other artists, can be found in multiple galleries and at shows across the country.

But unlike that of most other artists, her work doesn't just remain on land. It has found a place on the high seas as well.

Wallen, an artist in Warsaw, has created original works for four of the world's largest private yacht companies since 1987.

“I have been creating commissioned artwork for the largest yacht companies in the world for years,” Wallen says. “Private yacht clientele fill their yachts with commissioned pieces, and in return, my work is showcased in the international and national boat shows, as well as featured in many periodicals.”

Wallen says it's an honor to create artwork for the clients, most who can afford high-priced Picassos, but instead choose her work, she says.

“My work is meant to be in harmony with the surrounding environment,” Wallen said. “They are subdued and calming and provide the clients with a sense of escapism from the busy world of work.”

Wallen, who has a bachelor's degree in graphics and concentrated fine arts from the University of Saint Francis, was introduced to the yachting world through family.

Her sister is part of a design team for yacht companies and her uncle is involved with yachtmaker Bertram. After a while, her artwork became a part of the company's Italian lines. 

Her “gallery” for her artwork is at yacht shows, she says, where boating clients and companies in both the United States and abroad can see her work on the yachts that are displayed. In addition, she has some clients who come to her for her paintings.

And although she provides artwork for some of the swankiest boats in the world, Wallen says she personally doesn't like boating and has “a handful of times in my lifetime been on the boat.” “It's an ooh-la-la moment for me,” she says. “I'm grounded.”

The 54-year-old is a stay-at-home mom, caring for her special needs child. She has three other adult children. Wallen comes from a large family – 12 kids, all of whom desired attention, she says.

“I was born, raised and remain in a small town in northern Indiana. Coming from a family that consists of a dozen kids, I found that my artwork was the one thing that set me apart from the other siblings,” she says. “I can't remember not having the label of an artist when referred to within the family. Having said that, creating art was my way to stand out and eventually creating art became my way to cope with all that life threw my way. Like many people, challenges bring about unthinkable strengths. My life's journey is documented within the sculptures and panels that I create.”

Wallen says her commercial designer art is not her sole income.

She also creates figurative bronze sculptures, which are shown at some of the largest art shows in the country, she says. She explains how at first glance her elongated figures appear to be thin and frail, but have an inner strength and beauty that radiate from within.

“My sculptures are influenced by my own reflections of human struggles and the need to achieve balance,” she says. “By stretching the legs and body, my figures depict the great lengths humans can be stretched yet still maintain the power to overcome the odds and achieve the near impossible.”

Check out her website by clicking here.