The artwork of Marie Kavadias meshes bright colors with dark backdrops to create a pop.
"It's primarily abstract, vivid [and] bold, utilizing oil and chalk pastel on paper," or occasionally on canvas, she said. "As an alternative medium, I do some sculptures and take photographs, [too]. I'm kind of known in circles as an emerging 'outsider, twice-gifted artist' who has beat the odds."
Kavadias has a learning disability, and has compensated with "[the] gifted side of my brain and visual abilities," she said. "When I was tested in school, they found I was in the 1 percent of the nation to do certain visual tasks, recognize patterns and abstract thinking. All these areas were in the highest levels, but in processing areas, such as reading, they were pretty low."
Kavadias, though, has always been hooked on art.
"My partner keeps pretty much every little doodle I [draw, which] makes me chuckle a little," she said. "You know how at restaurants they [often] have paper you can draw on while waiting [for food.] Well, she will tear it off before we leave."
Kavadias said her long-term art goal is to bring it to more communities and at-risk children. "It could just be improving a neighborhood with art, or a garden by painting a mural. I believe visual activities and encouragement are good for growth and development. I also want to get more of my art back into stores."
Her cards were previously sold at Borders and other retailers.
Kavadias has a loyal legion of Facebook followers and, she admitted, "I never thought that the artist page on Facebook would have such a following."
"I love the fact that people from all over the world have sent me notes and messages in all different languages to talk about my art," she said. "Not just my art, but once in a while I will get an email from someone and they will ask what I think of their work when they are just starting out. It's great to be that appreciated [by] so many people; I'm humbled."
Kavadias does at least four shows annually, and her work is showcased at many local venues to support the community, such as Ravenswood Artwalk. "I have coordinated a few shows, [such as,] Offbeat Destinations, a multimedia experience showcasing the work of five Chicago artists."
She also has exhibits at galleries in New York City, California and overseas.
Photos courtesy of Kavadias
Married to Teri S. Hutchison; they have been together for 21 years and had a civil union ceremony in 2011
Music, being creative
Favorite TV show
Big Bang Theory
Favorite color to use in art
Indigo Blue, "because it is dark, but still has some color."
Four people (living or dead) who you'd like to have dinner with
Princess Diana, Albert Einstein, Cate Blanchett and Johnny Depp
Best part of the job
"Being creative, expressing myself, [and] sharing it with others."
Worst part of the job
"The ups and downs. Sometimes you are starving; other times you will [be eating] steak."