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Mary Tilley Zeman/Self-Taught Artist

Born in Jamaica(Queens), N.Y. October 1963

Current City: Greenville, S.C  

Phone: 770-596-2924  Website:

Artforms: Paintings, Sculpture, Phototgraphy, Collage, Fabric.

e-mail: B.A Journalism/Advertising, University of Georgia 1986


In 1997, I began to paint after I had brain surgery to remove a benign brain tumor from the right side of my brain.  I was recovering from surgery, and out of the blue, I called my mom and asked her to take me to buy some paint and brushes.  This was the first time I ever painted in my life.  While I was growing up, I was never exposed to art and just didn’t know anything about it, though I had always wanted to learn more.  I began painting on wood, paper, newspaper, anything I could find, then I started to paint on canvas.  When I went back to my job in television, people looked at my art on the walls of my cubicle, and some people encouraged me to go further with it.  I would work all day, then come home and paint at night, and looked forward to the time I would be painting.  In October of 2000, I decided to leave my job and make a go of being a full-time artist.  Each day, I learn something new about art, and I love making art.  The biggest compliment I can get is when adults look at my work and say, “that looks so childlike”.  On the surface, my work seems to be innocent and non-threatening, but if you look deeper, there are many times observations about everything, from life, death, religion, politics, pain, childhood, just about everything.  I never know what I’m going to paint, it just comes to me as I go.  I love to write poetry, also, but don’t do it as much as I used to..  My artistic influences are varied.  I like the work of Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Howard Finster, Andy Warhol, Alice Neal, Harry Teague, & many others.  I think art is everywhere, sometimes we just have to see.



  • Greenville Open Studios/South Carolina                2021         

  • Inman Park Festival/Atlanta                                      1998-2012

  • Fearrington Folk Art Show/North Carolina                  2006-2009

  • Who Fest Outsider Art Show/Atlanta                            2004-2005,2007-2009

  • Wesleyan School Art Show/Atlanta                               2005-2007, 2009

  • Folk Fest/Atlanta                                                          2001, 2003,2004, 2005-2007, 2009

  • Atlanta Merchandise Mart/Handcrafted                       2009

  • Travelers Rest Art Mission Show/South Carolina          2007-2008

  • Creative Arts Guild/Dalton, GA                                      2007-2008

  • Gilda’s Club Art Show/Atlanta, GA                                 2008

  • Work of Our Hands Art Show/Atlanta                            2005-2006,2008

  • Clairemont Elementary Art Show/Decatur,GA               2003-2005,2007(Birdhouse Design Winner 2005)

  • Market at the Works/Atlanta                                          2006-2007

  • Arts For Independence/Atlanta                                      2005-2006

  • Decatur Arts Festival/Decatur, GA                                  2001, 2004-2006

  • Spotlight on Southern Artists/Atlanta                             2002, 2004-2006

  • Raw Art Festival/London, England                                  2004

  • Virginia-Highland Summerfest/Atlanta                           2004(Tee Shirt Design Winner), 2005

  • Urban Market on Means Street/Atlanta                          2004

  • FinsterFest/Summerville, GA                                          2000-2003

  • House of Blues Folk Art Festival/Orlando                        2001-2002

  • Nordstrom’s/Atlanta (Versace in-store promotion)          2002

  • Roswell Arts Festival/Roswell, GA                                   2002-2003

  • MOCA GA/“Off the Wall” Show)Atlanta                             2002



As of January 2021, I am currently living and working in Greenville, South Carolina, and my home studio is open for visits. Feel free to contact me by appointment only for studio visits. 

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