Illustrator, Animator & Graphic Designer
Mariah Plakas is an American illustrator, animator, and graphic designer who explores ideas of remembrance. Her digital drawings and gifs explore the nostalgic qualities behind consumerist objects and the memories associated with them. Plakas studied at Adelphi University, where she graduated with a BFA in Studio Art and double minored in Graphic Design and Art History. After receiving a grant from Adelphi’s Study Abroad Program, she studied Renaissance Art History in Florence, Italy. Plakas participated in Walt Whitman’s 200th Bicentennial Celebration and created a 50+ page sketchbook of illustrations dedicated to his poetry. Plakas’ artworks have been in nine different exhibitions. Her series, “Memorabilia,” was featured in the Digital Zine, “Artist Spotlight 01” by FOURALL Magazine. Upon graduation, she was given the Conger Goodyear Award for Studio Art. Plakas currently resides and works in Long Island, New York.
After losing my grandfather to dementia, I started recording my childhood memories through my artwork. The subject of my drawings are mass produced items near the center of each page, surrounded by a solid colored background. These items are drawn with iPad Procreate and became the spokesperson for my memories. The simplicity and graphic qualities of each piece is to not tie the memory down to one place or another. It is also to keep the memory isolated, and the lonely feeling of remembering something that someone else has forgotten. This piece was completed in 2020.
Popsicles is a branch of Memorabilia in concept and style. This series allowed me to hone in on a very specific memory of getting character ice cream pops with my family and friends. Through the interaction of social media, my friends reached out to me and took part in my art by listing which characters from their childhood they wanted to see next. This action caused each popsicle to not be just memories of my own anymore, but rather they are a collection of other people’s memories with or without me. This piece was made with iPad Procreate and was completed in 2021.
“We’ll have a two week spring break and be back in the studios in no time,” was the last thing that my senior thesis classmates said to each other the second week of March in 2020. Boy were we wrong. My senior year of undergrad was virtual for the rest of the year, every in person event was cancelled, we could not see people outside of those whom we lived with, and nine family members of mine got Covid and passed away with no funerals; I fell into this hole that I could not dig myself out of. I found it incredibly difficult to do simple things that I normally wouldn’t think twice about. A year later into the Pandemic, I have learned that it is nice to have little accomplishments. I drew some of them in this comic with iPad Procreate.
“Hourly Comic Day” is an internet drawing challenge that takes place annually on February first, in which participants are encouraged to draw one comic for every hour that they are awake. This is my Hourly Comic for 2021, made with iPad Procreate. The very left hand side is the title page, and the rest of the comic is meant to be read in chronological order from 9am to 12am.
Red Light, Green Light
I was 10 minutes away from my house when I got into my first car accident on April 2nd, 2021. I was at a red light when the car behind me rolled into my car as soon as the light turned green. Thankfully, myself, the other driver, their dog, and my car were okay. That night, I went home and drew this comic with iPad Procreate.