Mary Jean Canziani
Book Paintings Various Works About


Mary Jean Canziani received a BFA from Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY with a concentration in printmaking. Her first career was in visual merchandising, creating interior and window displays for major department stores and boutiques in New Jersey and NYC. For the past twenty years she has run her own decorative painting , business executing a myriad of faux finishing techniques and specialty plaster applications for residential and commercial clients. She returned to her personal art practice nine years ago and has since exhibited her work in the U.S. and in Europe. Mary Jean currently teaches adult studio art classes.


With technology, a new way of life has emerged at an astonishing speed.While many remarkable improvements are taking place I feel we are plowing full speed ahead without considering what is at risk of being lost. Are we evolved enough to manage our own creations?

In my current series I use books to symbolize the change occurring in the world today. To many, books are sacred and evoke a warm, nostalgic feeling- a reminder of things past. Using them as a “canvas” is a form of desecration intended to bring awareness to their value as well as the value of many other cherished things now in danger of disappearing.

Regarding technique, I prefer using vintage books because their linen covers mimic fine canvas and provide an ideal surface for paint. Creating art with repurposed materials addresses the issue of sustainability. In most cases, my ideas are driven by the books' titles. They allow me to comment on many social issues while engaging in word play and dark humor. Primates are a recurring source of imagery. They are a reminder of our base nature and show how much of human behavior continues to be instinctive rather than based on reason. I appropriate imagery from classic and contemporary art to pay homage to my art heroes.


Studying printmaking gave me a foundation in drawing and a willingness to experiment with new methods, techniques and materials. I have painted on cement walls, velvet, metal, Venetian plaster and created works on wood by incising and carving. Whatever surface or style, the underlying foundation of my work is that is a way for me to express my reactions to observing the world at large. Each surface renders a unique quality and provides a stimulating challenge in conquering a new “terrain.” I continually search for new surfaces and plan to revisit those pictured here.