Mary Chappell - Painting from the Ground up

Mary Chappell - Painting from the Ground up

Mary Chappell likes coffee. But she likes it in a different way than most.

Not only does she enjoy drinking it, she really likes painting with it.

A junior Specialized Ministries major, Mary has a love for theatre, music, and art. She is gifted artistically and has recently had an opportunity in the community to display her artwork - made completely from coffee - at a Starbucks in Dickson City, PA, near campus.Mary Chappelli

She is originally from Greely, PA, and describes it as "an adorably strange town that neighbors love to sit in their driveways counting cars and talking about how the weather affects their bones. I love it."

Planning to graduate in 2012, Mary is not sure what God has in store for her after college, but she is eager to serve Him with her passions and abilities.

Read more In the Spotlights here.

Insight Questions

What led you to BBC?
Honestly, it was purely on a whim that I came to BBC. One day I woke up in the middle of the night, decided I would go to BBC, and went back to sleep. I'm so grateful because five months ago I came to Christ during the beginning of my third semester here. God's plans are so amazing and perfect that for me to have thought I would be here right now and pursuing what I am now, I wouldn't have believed it.

What or who has been the most influential to you here at BBC?
There are a whole lot of influential people here at BBC but one that particular stands out is Andy Harkleroad. I took his class, Building a Biblical Lifestyle, when he was still teaching it. One of our assignments was to write out our testimonies. I was honest. I didn't know whether or not I had trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior. It was something I had been feeling so convicted about and I just didn't understand at all what it meant or how to know. He sat down with me and talked through everything, explained things to me, and helped me start to understanding things. I didn't fully understand everything until about five months ago, but he was the first person who ever asked me if I wanted to talk about it and helped explain things in a way that made sense.

What can you say about your family?
I grew up being the youngest of five. Before I could even remember, three of them were already married and out of the house. That left me and my one older brother to do stuff like making snow forts and falling through our kitchen ceiling. Something a lot of people don't know about my family is that my Dad has a terminal illness called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which causes the liver not to produce an enzyme that keeps the lung's elasticity. Growing up, it's always been a huge part of all of our lives. I just praise God that He cares for me and my family and has helped keep his health.

How has BBC helped you develop your talent?
BBC helped me start a life where I'm getting closer to God. And I'm absolutely certain that's why I've been improving with my artwork. I'd love to have a mentor to work with that's currently at BBC, because I'm lacking a car to get to one back home, but for right now it'll just be practice makes perfect.

What do you want to do after graduating?
I'm having a hard time determining what God wants me to do while I'm in college, let alone after I graduate. I'd love to get involved in some way with preventing human trafficking, or using my artwork as a ministry. Really, I just want God to use me whichever way he picks.

How do you want to use your artistic talent?
I want to use it any way I can to glorify God. After I committed my life to Christ and decided to use my artwork for Him, so many great things have been happening consistently. I know that for at least right now He wants me to use it for Him. I think it's absolutely amazing because all my life I always thought you had to be a missionary or a pastor to serve God, I never would have imagined I could paint for him.

When did you first become interested in art?
I've always been drawn to the idea of being an artist, but really, when you're five years old that's mostly just wishful thinking and tons of finger-painting. By the time I started to get serious about pursuing a career in something like my artwork I had already been in college for a semester.

What or who has helped you the most in developing your talent?
Certain individuals who pushed me to achieve something bigger then I had started out with. Those people who said to try something huge even if it meant messing up along the way. You learn monumental things by just trying that it makes you want to try it again and again learning new things every time. None of them know how influential and special they were/are in my life, but I'm sure I'll find a cool way of telling them someday.

Mary Chappelli You paint with coffee. Where/when did you get the idea to use coffee?
I spilled coffee all over my class notes in fine arts (which I think is ironic looking back on it). We were learning about one of my favorite artists (el greco) and with one fell swoop, coffee everywhere. I got back to the dorm and noticed a whimsical little swirl on the page. I took the idea home with me for spring break and spent time with it to get to the technique I use now for my painting.

How did you get involved with Starbucks?
I walked in, ordered my java, chatted with everyone, talked about the artwork on the wall, talked about my artwork, showed pictures, then got September booked for my artwork. And just recently for December as well. So hopefully many more, too!

Where else do you have artwork displayed?
I have a few older pieces in the Underground Cafe on campus, which are being replaced with newer, nicer paintings fairly soon. I also may or have two businesses having my artwork out for something First Friday in downtown Scranton, an event that brings out local artists to help promote their artwork as well as local businesses at the same time. On the first Friday of the month all the businesses who participate in this will have the art out on display with a formal event for people to come in and view the artwork and purchase it, as well. It's a really great opportunity to make connections and meet other artists in the area.

Learn more about the Specialized Ministries program here.

Contact info
About the artwork
If you are interested in buying or commissioning Mary for a piece of artwork, email her or call 570.470.5171.

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Posted on: 9/30/2010 7:14:22 PM

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