Meet Mari Andrew

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In just a matter of a decade, Mari Andrew has experienced life changes that dramatically shifted how she viewed her creative and career aspirations. Finding joy in her talent of art and illustration, she has combined her life’s material with her skill to produce her first book, which she never expected to achieve so soon. While many may find it stressful to post on Instagram, Mari found a career. So, she picked up her watercolors and got to work.
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Jumpsuit: Amu; Necklace: Yoruk; Glasses:    Oliver Peoples

Jumpsuit: Amu; Necklace: Yoruk; Glasses: Oliver Peoples


When I was 22, I lived in Chile. My job teaching English was just a few hours a week and this was the era before smartphones, so I had a lot of free time to wander, read, and journal. I kept a blog to keep track of my adventures and wrote in it almost every day. I fell in love with personal essay writing, which was fueled by my youthful energy and new experiences I was having. I now consider my illustrations to be mini-essays. They're pretty similar to what I write. There are plenty of extended metaphors while I try to make meaning of the things that have happened to me, but also on the human experience, in general.


I had a million different jobs in my twenties, which I now see as a gift because I have endless material for my art and writing. I got my start in illustration when I was 28. I started an Instagram account for fun as a place to keep daily doodles. Two years into it, a whole new path has been opened for me. I'm just wandering down it in awe and enchantment, like, "Wow, this was available to me all this time?"

Since then, I've gotten a book deal and been able to do interesting projects like illustrations for an app and work commissioned by companies. It's all been so surprising and most certainly the result of a lot of uncertainty and experimentation in my younger years. If you don't know exactly what you want to do in your early twenties, then it's a great opportunity to play around and follow your curiosity.

Top, Jeans, & Necklace, Madewell
My favorite moment in my work day is when I actually make art, which is such a small part of my job lately! Drawing feels spiritual, like I’m connecting to something larger than me or connecting to my childhood self. I can be really silly and loose when I’m actually drawing and painting, unlike when I’m on emailing or sending invoices. I love getting a little messy with the paints, and there is no better feeling for me than coloring in a Venn diagram.
— on her favorite part of her job
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I've always wanted to write a book, but figured it would happen much later in life. When I was 28, my father died at the same time that I had a tough breakup, and all of a sudden I had too much to say to keep it to myself. My mind erupted with creativity over the next year, and I couldn't afford to not tell this story. I emailed many, many agents and almost gave up before one finally wrote me back. A couple of months later, I had a book deal. It was a long, difficult, and tear-filled process that looks from the outside like an overnight success.

My book is a collection of essays and illustrations about the journey of my twenties and the process of creating the adult I am today. I put so much love and care into it, and no matter how it sells, it's my greatest accomplishment. To aspiring writers, I advise you to not water down your style. I was rejected a million times because my writing was "too personal." I considered making more accessible, marketable work, like puns about coffee. Then I realized I can't live without telling my personal stories. Ultimately, that's what made my career, and that's what's in the book.  If you have something to say, someone somewhere will appreciate it, and probably needs it!  


Six months ago, my hands were paralyzed with a super weird autoimmune disease. Actually, most of my body was paralyzed, so my mind became really wild and sharp, and I drew so many illustrations in my head that are slowly coming out now. I was in the hospital for one month and I think it produced a year's worth of drawings. It's incredible how the mind really picks up the slack when the body feels so weak. It made me realize that my identity is as a writer and artist.

Top: Amu; Necklace: Susan Alexandra; Glasses:    Oliver Peoples

Top: Amu; Necklace: Susan Alexandra; Glasses: Oliver Peoples

I really enjoyed all the simple but meaningful advice in “How to Live a Good Life.” Some wisdom I think about a lot is to spend time only with people who allow you to exhale with radiant ease. What a feeling to feel! I’m very social but careful to spend time just with people who let me exhale.
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Top: Amu; Necklace: Susan Alexandra; Glasses:    Oliver Peoples

Top: Amu; Necklace: Susan Alexandra; Glasses: Oliver Peoples

On Shopping and Personal Style

I don't have a specific style, but everything I own is very special to me and has a beautiful story to go with it, either about the place where I got it, the person who sold it to me, or the day I bought it. They say it's better to spend your money on experiences rather than items, but all my items represent or evoke my experiences! I love shopping online at Lettie Gooch based in DC, Mini by Luna in Lisbon, or Alhambra in Seattle. In New York, I shop at Theory of Gaia. I always buy clothes when I travel. I never go a day without adorning myself with jewelry made by my beloved friend, Susan Alexandra. I feel transformed when I wear her beautiful art.

On Her beauty routine

I have such sensitive skin. Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to soothe a crying baby and I'm screaming at it, "What do you want?!" It usually wants Clinique products. I've tried it all and always go back to Clinique with the 3-Step Skin Care system, Smart Custom-Repair Serum, Exfoliant Scrub, and Redness Solutions. It makes me feel squeaky clean and satin soft.

I started wearing makeup at 26, so I'm still finding my evening groove, but here's what works for me every day: a bit of Tarte concealer for my eyes, NARS Orgasm and Benefit Hoola Bronzer on my cheeks, Maybelline Great Lash mascara in Royal Blue, and a swipe of Laura Mercier Kohl eye pencil if there's a chance of running into cute single guys. I never leave the house without color on my lips, and I adore these cheap lip stains by Revlon Just Bitten. I have every single one. It's like drawing with a marker on your lips. What's typically in my makeup bag is: Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, Benefit's High Beam Liquid Highlighter and NARS Women's Shimmer Eyeshadow & Han Skincare Eye Shadow

My beauty tip is to emphasize, rather than downplay, anything you're insecure about.  I'm self-conscious of the shape of my eyes. They're quite narrow and disappear when I smile. I use eyeliner to exaggerate their shape and make them even more narrow. That makes me really appreciate them!

Top: Amu; Necklace: Susan Alexandra; Glasses: Oliver Peoples

Top: Amu; Necklace: Susan Alexandra; Glasses: Oliver Peoples

Mari's Favorite books

How To Live A Good Life by Jonathan Fields

Hello NY: An Illustrated Love Letter to the Five Boroughs by Julia Rothman

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

MARI'S Favorite Movies

Gimme the Loot; 2 Days in New York; Caramel; Please Give

MARI'S favorite places

Galeria is my favorite little refuge in the city. It's like a quick trip to Rio and they have the best açai bowl in NYC

Anthony Aiden Opticians for glasses and really nice people

September for buying wine in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere

Cervo's for dates with my best friend

Tompkins Square Park for a relaxing, hopeful morning among the trees

Peridance for samba, Broadway jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and tap dance classes

Aire Ancient Baths for emotional healing and divine revelations, plus a great massage

Sunset Sail for my favorite New York experience

Dress: OSKLEN; Necklace: Yoruk; Bag: Assembly New York

Dress: OSKLEN; Necklace: Yoruk; Bag: Assembly New York