UI student’s Etsy shop startup to be spookily themed

UI senior Mackenzie Maurice finds herself using 6 instruments, paintbrush included.


Roman Slabach

Maurice playing piano, one of her several musical specialties.

Philip Runia, Arts Reporter

Students all over the U.S. find their own way to get into the Halloween spirit, and Mackenzie Maurice does so as well, homeowner’s style.

Her décor consists of paintings rendered by her that she bases on cheeky Halloween iconography. From iris-less eyeballs to skeletons with flower crowns, the UI senior paints images that are, to her, “pretty weird.”

The subject matter always varies, but her paintings typically revolve around bones, eyes, aliens, Ouija boards, cacti, and natural scenes.

“I am a very Halloween, creepy-centered person, and that shows a lot in my artwork,” said the 21-year-old. “I have this skeleton painting with it holding a coffee cup and it says, ‘Death Before Decaf.’ It’s in our kitchen; we love coffee.”

This painter’s acrylic work is done on canvas, with inexpensive brushes. They work just fine, however, enough to get the right amount of detail. If the brush happens to be too large, she will use a paint-dipped pencil to create finer lines. Maurice’s paintings center on detail, which is why she uses painting as a method to create art.

As a busy student, she is able to accomplish more, quickly and with more accuracy.

“It comes in short spurts,” Maurice said. “When I have time and feel creative enough to paint, I do. I usually knock out a few in that time frame because I don’t like to wait.”

In between paintings and during the majority of her day, the music education major works on memorizing songs to perform in her seminars. Her focus is voice, which differs greatly from her expression in painting. While both are fine art, they occupy completely different spaces in her mind.

On separate parts of the art spectrum, they differ in action and creation, despite her passion for both. The soprano also plays the piano, bassoon, cello, and percussion. An outstandingly versatile performer, Maurice took a liking to singing at age 7, and later sang in choir in middle school. The Halloween enthusiast demonstrated her talent by playing the score from Spirited Away, among other pieces.

Her haunted house forearm tattoo peeked out from her Haunted Mansion sweater as her ghost socks pumped the pedals of the piano. Her physical artform ignited itself in practice, and with painting, it has done the same. Her urge to paint returned recently upon prodding from her roommate.

“I decided I wanted to make art tailored to me instead of buying it,” Maurice said. “I can be proud of my work and have it hanging in my home.” The senior plans to continue working toward her degree while creating an Etsy shop to market her paintings for family, friends, and general customers. Already having sold six paintings in the past six months, Maurice is motivated to begin selling more, whether that be custom-made paintings or paintings she has lying around.

“There’s always new stuff I want to paint,” Maurice said. “I could also modify things I’ve done to fit customer needs, whatever they want. The hope is to only get better.” 

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