We are excited to debut a new mini series of collaborations between global artists and Recess. This month, we partnered with Marleigh Culver to create 150 limited edition pickleball paddle sets.
Meet the Artist
Marleigh Culver is an artist and independent designer living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Her work is playful, tropical, and full of color. She was so kind to welcome our team into her dreamy home studio to learn more about her creative process.
Tell us about yourself. How did you become a full time artist?
I’m originally from Virginia born into a culturally-rich family. I am so grateful and love where I came from and the privilege to have the space to be creative and learn how to be a hard-working person. My parents are very curious and were young parents so they’ve taught me lots of life lessons as well as sharing their really cool taste in lots of areas. Since graduating college I’ve worked different jobs or freelanced while working full-time to save up to make space for my art practice. I went freelance in 2019 and although the past two years I have had to take on more design work to pay bills, I’m getting in the rhythm of creating more paintings and artwork in my weekly routine.
What inspires your artwork?
Ever since I was young I have been connected to artists. It feels like magic in a way. I like to concentrate on form and the subtleties and romanticism in it as well as pushing the impact with considered color palettes. I translate emotional responses into my work. I wish I could paint realistically or story-tell better in my work, but I know what I do feels right for me and it produces a reaction from many people that I love to experience. Everything inspires my work, like art from the Art Nouveau era to the then influenced Pysch-art movement. I love color-field painting, sculptures, anything with lots of color and flatness and anything oversized. Nature always makes its way into my work, it’s my thank you to existence on earth.
Tell us more about the inspiration behind the Recess x Marleigh Culver pickleball paddles. How did you land on the colors, patterns, and shapes?
I love these colors I chose, there are in my normal rotation and these paddles are in this specific year of a family of shapes and colors. I also like the trickiness of bright colored paddles to be a distraction for opponent play. The Recess team was great to work with and very open to the options I presented, which was many, because I can’t help myself when mocking up product collaborations.
What is your favorite medium?
I just love acrylic paint. I’d love to get back into oil paint someday but I like how immediate and less involved acrylic is and that it gives me flexibility to manipulate how I want to emulate certain textures. I absolutely love music as well although I’m not a musician. I just love how paint can absorb you when it’s overwhelming and flat. Being wrapped in color is my favorite thing.
What other artists inspire you?
I was researching for something when I can across this piece which made me slightly panic. I know I work in a style that is not the most unique but it also is pretty easy to point out who made what, so when I saw a photo of this one painting I thought it would be by a newer artist. Turns out it was from the late ‘60s/early ‘70s and by Donald Sultan. I recently saw his work in a museum in Virginia while visiting my hometown and it was super inspiring. I think it’s easy to see others as competition but I also find the energy of being on the same wavelength decades apart very cool. I also love Andy Warhol, his drawings, color, screenprinting techniques. And of course Helen Frankenthaler always because her color and forms made with her unique technique. I wish I made work like hers but I find it so sacred I’m afraid to explore that style without being too close to what she developed.
What is your current favorite color?
Funnily I am very very into a lilac-y magenta type color. Pink is owning me at the moment, not sure why but it just feels the most energetic to me at the moment. Also I love pink since it really stands out to other colors for me. Like you look at white+blue+purple to make periwinkle or green+white+yellow to make a sort of muted neon/chartreuse color but something about pink is really powerful and on its own level.
How do you overcome a creative block?
If I’m being totally honest, since I work in design and painting, I am not always overwhelmed with painting creative blocks. Which is good but sometimes I wish I could paint all day but its hard when I don’t have a proper studio and limited time. When I do feel blocks I will just zone out, listen to music, play video games, go out and have fun with friends. Living life and having fun is a great unblocker. I think also just keep a rotation of interests is very important, the more you explore in different mediums and outputs the more focused you get in your favorite way to exist and express yourself.
Shop Recess x Marleigh Culver pickleball paddles
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Marleigh Culver Paddle Set$185
"The design and paddle quality are truly top notch"