Marina Fini is a multi-media artist who challenges social constructs and empowers suppressed communities through her work. Following a spiritual liberation from her Los Angeles upbringing, she discovered her love for plexiglass and jewelry making— which eventually led her to fabricate large scale immersive installations and furniture. Challenging the stereotype of beauty, femininity and fashion, her installations, films and photography have an out-of-this-world dreamy feel and are vibrant with positive energy.
Don't miss her in-depth interview below.
Name Marina Fini
Age Just turned 27 although I still feel stuck being 22-23
Birthday November 26
Where are you originally from? Los Angeles— The Valley
Where do you currently live? Los Angeles
Preferred art medium Plexiglas, sculpture, photography & film.
Hobby or interest aside from art? I love dancing & smoking hookah. Working with crystals, collecting rare shoes, and I love eating vegan food! I'm a vegetarian but love the challenge of vegan food and how creative the food can get.
Guilty pleasures? Eating dessert all the time…It's my coping mechanism haha. Also watching Roswell & all the old 90’s shows.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Photographer Jean Paul Bourdier, Argentinian painter Leonora Fini, and Maya Deren, an experimental filmmaker. My mentor Sabine is one of my favorite artists— she’s a fabricator that worked on a ton of films from the 80s & 90s.
“I feel empowered to hustle non-stop to make my fantasy a reality”
Favorite movie? Susperia— it's an Italian horror film from the 70’s. American Beauty is a fave…I’m really into Tv shows lately more than film though, which is surprising, but I love getting sucked into watching the journey of a show. I love cheesy 90’s stuff like Clueless, Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion and shows like, Are You Afraid Of The Dark.
Favorite musician? Fiona Apple & Portishead— they really helped me out in some dark times.
What are 3 things you want to achieve? Helping others reach their potential with their craft. Spreading acceptance and color. Own a farm & rescue animals. Own cows and alpacas haha.
What is something you deeply love about yourself? That I’m really goofy— I try to find comedy wherever I go.
How has Instagram worked for you as an artist? Well, I feel like I wouldn't have been able to launch a lot of my projects and connect with as many beautiful people as I have. Business-wise it’s helped me sustain and grow my vision.
What is your definition of art? Anything. There are no limits. Everything is subjective. It can be anywhere and it can be anything.
“Meeting other women that didn’t give a fuck about having body hair and being expressive and doing things for themselves— it was a gradual shift of freedom for me. Taking classes about gender studies in school shifted my whole reality.”
Briefly describe the circumstances under which you grew up, and how did these circumstances influence your work? I grew up in Los Angeles— in the valley girl world. My whole reality of what I was supposed to look like and act like greatly shifted from when I was 18 to now; I used to be so concerned with being a certain size and looking a certain way in order to be accepted in high school. I experienced liberation from all this when I moved to Santa Cruz. Meeting other women that didn’t give a fuck about having body hair and being expressive and doing things for themselves— it was a gradual shift of freedom for me. Taking classes about gender studies in school shifted my whole reality. My dad works in television so I grew up on set and in a commercial Hollywood world, so these experiences in Santa Cruz broke down walls I had known my whole life, especially studying film. When I moved back to LA and was working on set for a lot of commercials, I had to stop because I felt like I was selling my soul! Afterwards I focused on my jewelry and hustling my own vision, and it’s been almost two years that I’ve been freelancing and working other jobs here and there. I feel empowered to hustle non-stop to make my fantasy a reality.
What would you say are your artwork’s main themes? Humor, optical illusions, color therapy, finding liberation, unity, outer body experience, celestial identity.
Have you had any struggle with mental illness and if so, would you like to share your experience with us? I’ve never been diagnosed, but i’ve definitely had depression; especially moving back to Los Angeles from Santa Cruz. I had to build a spiritual skin to fend off negative energy. My lowest point was when my relationship ended when I was 22— the worst abusive relationship of my life— I felt so depleted at how sexualized he made me feel— he kept hyper-sexualizing me because I was eight years younger than him. It took a long time to heal from the experience of dating a sociopath. Reiki and chakra crystal therapy have really helped me and also openly talking about my experience with others. I’m all about talking openly about mental health and therapy. I feel its so important for everyone to feel that they can express themselves and have access to mental health care; especially regarding men. I hate that men are made to look weak and judged for feeling emotional, everyone should be able to cry and feel things deeply without judgement. I wanna break down that barrier for sure.
Do you find yourself drawn to any addictive disorder? No, not really. The only thing I'm addicted to is working and eating chocolate.
Artists paths are normally non-linear. Can you recall for us what your path has been like? I studied film production and was always interested in the visual aspect of it, whether it is being behind the camera, and building sets or costumes. I minored in costume design and coincidentally came across plexiglass when my boyfriend back then showed me how to cut and work with it. The first few pairs of earrings that I made were the alien and flower earrings (two of the most popular styles on my store). Its funny because when I started doing it in 2012 it was becoming this big trend, but for me it has never really been a trend— I don't even really believe in trends because everything i’ve ever made and produced has been me forever. It’s never been a phase. Aliens and flowers are actually pretty symbolic and meaningful to me. Flowers take me back to connectivity with nature and female empowerment, and aliens to me represent that you are part of something that is different— where possibilities are endless. I have been selling jewelry for 6 years— through my Etsy store & through stores all over the world; my products are in 3 stores in Japan, 4 in Australia, a couple in LA, and 5 online retailers. It’s been a huge part of my income for a long time and I feel so grateful for the opportunities I've had. Fashion for me only goes so far though… I wanted to create an immersive experience; so the next natural step was making giant scaled pieces and furniture. Motelscape was my first real self-produced art show, at Art Basel 2015. It was a temporary installation in a motel room in Miami and it was all about creating commentary on Art Basel being an extremely bougie upscale exclusive art show. The hype of it is very fake to me. Motelscape was about creating a sort of anti-establishment of what the art world dictates. It was set in a motel room because of what can typically happen in a motel room — the exchange of drugs, sex— and art, in its own way, is an exchange. Art has become as capitalistic and exclusively suited for those that can afford to attend and purchase, and it is as much of a vice as anything else.
How would you describe your style as a filmmaker? Hyper color fantasy realism meets insanity...I love very colorful, campy and cute visuals but having the twist of horror or dark comedy involved as the story line. Sci-fi and psychological thrillers definitely hold most of my inspiration. I love things that are not supposed to be together or necessarily expected. My films are short narratives or music videos for the most part. I’m actually doing a lot of art direction and costuming for music videos these days which has been extremely fun. I helped build and create the sets and props for Clitopia with Signe Pierce for Dorian Electra— it was such a great experience working on that because we had such an awesome team.
“Art has become capitalistic and exclusively suited for those that can afford to attend and purchase, and it is as much of a vice as anything else”
Do you think your ethnicity, gender, and/or personal preferences drove you towards becoming an artist? The journey of being a woman and being suppressed has definitely activated concepts for me.
If you could change one thing in how the world works, what would it be? How we view each other as genders, mainly. Id like to help rid the concept all together
What is your opinion of the art world as it is right now? Is there anything you'd like to change? Having more resources and funding available to artists. A lot of artists are displaced into unsafe living, without being able to afford a decent life even if they work hard. In the Renaissance period artists were given money to do their work and thrive, and that needs to fucking come back. Artists are some of the most politically activated people in the world, and if we keep pushing them down, how are we going to create all the change we need to?
How do you think the internet aids/complements the art world? And how do you think it deteriorates it? It aids it in terms of connectivity and creative business opportunities. It deteriorates it because of instant gratification and people getting bored of things so quickly.
“Artists are some of the most politically activated people in the world, and if we keep pushing them down, how are we going to create all the change we need to? ”
Did you feel there were a lack of opportunities for you to express your creativity and emerge as an artist? If so, what would you propose to change this? My high school had a film program which is how I got to film, but other schools in general have a lot of financial setbacks and the art programs are the first to go. Maintaining art in schools is essential.
What draws you towards your particular art medium, plexiglass? The visual electricity I get from it and the intensity of color.
Your sets are incredibly involved; from the neon sets, to costume to lighting, how do you put all of this together? I’m a very fast worker. I come up with ideas last minute and bring them to fruition. I can’t always plan in advance because of financial circumstances so when an opportunity arises I just take it. I definitely work well under pressure.
What is Godessphere? Godessphere is a concept I came up with in October in collaboration with Emily Meehan and Sarah Weiss. The idea was to create a pop-up strip club where queer bodies and all women are celebrated— a place of experimentation with female dominance. Regularly strip clubs are run by men for men. Even with the voyeur of men, strip clubs are a place of worship of women in way, and we wanted to really emphasize that. Sex work is really this sort of female dominance over men in a way. So Godessphere is meant to be a place of worship to the femme energy that is constantly supressed but secretly worshiped. A woman can be sexualized for herself, for her own energy, not just for the viewing pleasure of a man.
“Godessphere is meant to be a place of worship to the femme energy that is constantly suppressed but secretly worshiped.”
“A woman can be sexualized for herself, for her own energy, not just for the viewing pleasure of a man.”
You were going to set up Godessphere at Art Basel Miami and it got shut down more than twice. What can you tell us about this experience? Well me and Emily rented a van and drove cross country to Miami to set it up. The article about Godessphere in The Miami Times went viral in the Miami district and too many people found out, and as the news spread, the city kept coming after us.The comedy of it all was installing at the initial location all night and getting shut down in the morning because the city thought we were setting up a real strip club! After that we reinstalled a second location… at this point I was feeling pretty vulnerable to the whole thing and felt like giving up. Dorian ended up helping us find a new venue— I just kind of go into shock mode when this shit happens. So we reinstalled everything within 7 hours so it would open that Saturday night. The owner of the second venue made us take down the installation on Sunday, even though it was supposed to be put on that night as well, because someone did graffiti outside on some table of the building which had nothing to do with us… so we just got that one night. I felt pretty emotional towards the whole thing because I involved so many people, even flew them out, just to see the project unfulfilled— It really just felt like “the man” was getting us down. Miami isn’t as liberal and cool as I thought. Even though it didn’t live up to the fullest fantasy of Godessphere, we feel very activated politically and socially to keep the show and our dreams alive so we’re working towards setting up the show in LA at some point this year.
What are the main obstacles you have had to overcome as an artist? Being a woman. Self-funding every project. Working extra hard to make extra money on the side. Overcoming people telling me NO and telling me I cant do multiple mediums.
“Flowers take me back to connectivity with nature and female empowerment, and aliens to me represent that you are part of something that is different— where possibilities are endless”
What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have to keep the creative juices flowing? Definitely seeking out nature or going on road trips. I need to escape LA a lot to maintain clarity. Meditating. Connecting…
What project are you currently working on? Since June i’ve been working on creating healing installations with color; a multi-room installation on the seven chakras, where each room will have crystals that help balance chakras and provide clarity. I've been very into the concept of merging chakra healing and color therapy with reiki energy work— creating physical spaces that are calming and rejuvenating (currently my home is also my studio and my showroom where my friends can come experiment with my latest work and hang out). So i’m working on putting together this show called “The Chakra Rooms” in LA that can hopefully be up for a few months. I just think Los Angeles has such an intense, aggressive energy. After living in the forest and nature for so many years and moving back— I realized how draining the energy in LA is. I feel it is necessary to bring about healing therapy and metaphysical energy work here. I spent a few months becoming reiki certified, so I'm working on infusing reiki into objects like my jewelry and sculptures. I want to take some classes on color therapy in the near future. I love school and learning. As my spiritual work progresses, I find the need to create greater depth in my work; it can’t just be aesthetically pleasing… it needs to have soul and a life.
Anything else you’d like to add? STAY ACTIVATED and don’t give up, anything is possible. Don't let the man get you down, keep going.
“As my spiritual work progresses, I find the need to create greater depth in my work; it can’t just be aesthetically pleasing… it needs to have soul and a life”