Mary Ann Farley is an artist, writer, musician and a merchant at Etsy (an international site of handmade goods). Currently, her online Etsy shop is filled with over 425 items that feature her iconic and whimsical female and animal characters (even fish!), which have evolved over the past 20 years from simple, self-taught drawings into a fully realized artistic vision that has been widely exhibited and collected.
Farley's artwork has appeared in the smallest of venues, like local bookstore exhibits, to international coffee-table books like Beatles Art: Fantastic New Artwork of the Fab Four (Boxigami Books), which features her painting "Eleanor Rigby" along with the works of 150 other artists from around the globe. Her work has been exhibited in both group and solo shows in New York and New Jersey, and has appeared on both of her CD covers.
Farley says her strongest influences are images of religious icons depicting female saints and the Virgin Mary, which, she says, "often convey women in strong, direct poses, as if they're carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, yet are quite capable of doing so. It's the mixture of love and pathos that moves me, and what I try to convey in my own work, whether my character is a bold aviator or a cutesy child."
For a long time, Farley's art existed side-by-side with her music, which flourished in the 1990s and early 2000s, culminating in the release of two seminal CDs -- the much-lauded Daddy's Little Girl (1997) and the acclaimed follow-up My Life of Crime (2002), both of which established her as one of the better-known and respected performers in New York's East Village.
Daddy’s Little Girl was a Critics’ Choice pick in Billboard magazine, which later that year included Farley in a cover story that featured New York’s ten best unsigned acts. The disc garnered widespread acclaim, as reviewers were drawn to the literary and lyrical influences in the songs, buoyed by strong Beatles-like melodies and Farley’s knack for lush arrangements yet restrained production. (She would later be chosen as Producer of the Year for My Life of Crime by Gannett’s The Courier-News.)
Her music career was cut short, however, soon after the release of My Life of Crime, due to complications of a longstanding and serious blood-clotting disorder. Farley endured two life-threatening complications between 2002 and 2004, and it wasn't until 2008 that she began her blog The Drawing Board as a means to document the challenges of illness and chronic pain.
Farley attributes the three-year effort (also cross-posted at Salon's blog site, which chose her essay "My Father, My Car and Michael Jackson" as an Editor's Pick) with restoring her creativity, and her Etsy shop was launched.
Farley is also a noted journalist, having worked for numerous business, communications and mainstream companies, such as Mediaweek, Rolling Stone, Capital Cities/ABC and daily newspapers in New Jersey. She also spent three years working as a full-time newspaper reporter, during which she won an award from the New Jersey Press Association for her news reporting.
She lives in Hoboken, NJ.