Artist Mary Anne Carter’s New Line is Bold, Funny, and Slyly Subversive

Plus—it’s got lots of glitter.

Mary Anne Carter is hard to miss: On the day she sat down with Seattle Weekly, her short crop of black hair was shellacked to her head with gel and flecked with chunky gold flakes of glitter. Her eyes were outlined in a dark slash of liquid eyeliner with meticulously drawn-on Twiggy lashes, and she sported a sequined coat, a leopard-print blouse, and a sparkly phone case.

It doesn’t end there. The 27-year-old artist and designer’s unique sense of style can be found in her line of hand-printed tanks, Ts, totes, and enamel pins under the name Jesus Mary Anne Joseph (jesusmary annejoseph.com). Her work, available at the boutique Rose Gold and online, features tongue-in-cheek feminist quips, like “It’s Not Just a Phase” and “This Bitch Face Does Not Rest.”

At the center of her line is screenprinting, a skill she started to hone at age 10, by way of an art class. These days she spends about 30 hours a week screenprinting at Pratt Institute and teaches a printing class for teens. She likes the medium for its practicality and its ease of reproduction. “Screen-printing isn’t always regarded as a fine art, and I’m OK with that,” she says. “I think art should be duplicated. Access is really important to me.”

The name of the line is a playful nod to Carter’s Catholic upbringing: Until fourth grade, she thought her Catholic school teachers were saying “Jesus Mary Anne Joseph.” That irreverent, slyly subversive sense of humor pervades much of her work.

Carter’s subtle, winking sensibility is also present in her “Femme” designs, which include an illustration of two broken-off nails on an otherwise manicured hand. Like a modern hanky code, the inside joke telegraphs its message only to those in the know. Says Carter, “I love that as a symbol because it’s recognizable only to people who are at least an ally, or understand what’s going on. So I can march that bag around my family, and nobody is thinking of it as a sex joke.”

Carter attributes her affinity for striking style to the port-wine birthmark on the left side of her face, which forced her to develop a preternatural level of confidence at an early age. She says, “I was asked what happened to my face so many times, several times a day. I quickly decided the best defense was a good offense, so I incorporated it into my look and never shied away from bold things.”

In addition to prints, Carter also carries a glitter hair gel called Holy Hairdo, which she proudly displays during our interview. As with screen-printing, Carter is attracted to glitter for its unassuming nature and its ability to spread easily. “I think glitter is cool because it’s relatively inexpensive and accessible, and eye-catching and dazzling,” she says. “We have wars over diamonds and precious gems, but since glitter is mass-produced and inexpensive, people don’t think of it as beautiful.”

“Just imagine a glitter factory for a moment,” she adds. “I hope that’s the afterlife!”

More in Arts & Culture

Alvvays brings its dreamy Canadian indie pop to the Capitol Hill Block Party Main Stage. Photo by Arden Wray
Capitol Hill Block Party 2018 Picks

Who to see at this year’s edition of Seattle’s urban music fest.

Kayla (Elsie Fisher) stays glued to her screens in ‘Eighth Grade.’ Photo by Linda Kallerus/A24
Embracing the Naturalistic Awkwardness of ‘Eighth Grade’

Writer/director Bo Burnham and star Elsie Fisher discuss making and living one of the year’s best films.

Illustration by Taylor Dow
Let It Linger

Between two eclipses, this is a week for rest.

The Midwestern tale of <em>Sweet Land</em> makes its West Coast premiere at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug
This Land Was Made for You and Me

Taproot’s ‘Sweet Land, the Musical’ doesn’t fully capture the mood of 1920s Minnesota farmland, but still manages to charm.

Golden Goal

On the Seventh Day takes an atypical sports movie approach while addressing immigrant issues.

Illustration by Taylor Dow
Meltdown and Remold

Pluto intensifies a solar eclipse in Cancer.

Young Feet and Old Steps

‘DANCE This’ connects young performers with their peers and their cultural traditions of movement.

Most Read