Traci's Story

A silver lining emerged from the darkness when Traci Marlin lost her job and found herself with more time to dedicate to her beloved – but almost forgotten – pursuit of art. In 2022, Traci well and truly hit her straps, producing over 12 artwork commissions and solidifying her reputation as a talented portraiture artist and painter.  

“I’ve always been interested in art and got quite into it in high school, but then left it alone for 20 years. It wasn’t until I did a class on ‘drawing on the right side of your brain’ that I realised I could still draw! Afterwards, I was asked to draw portraits of loved ones for a number of people. When I lost my job, I decided I would just see how many artworks I could create in the space of a year.” 

Traci first connected with art when she was very sick as a child, finding solace in creating with the paints and pens her uncle bought her. Nowadays, she finds inspiration in the natural environment, with her style evolving from pencil portraits to encompass paintings of the world around her. 

“I find nature to be energising. I get inspiration from going on walks and seeing different patterns on bark, leaves and flowers. I have quite a busy brain and find myself needing to get out when there’s too much stimulus around. This past year I’ve gotten better at slowing down and stilling my thoughts. Creating art brings me peace.” 

Growing up in a family with a leaning towards alcoholism and mental illness, Traci didn’t realise anything was amiss until her late teen years.  

“It’s a funny thing when you’re brought up in a family without strong social ties – you don’t realise that you do things a little differently until you mix with others. I’ve never had a formal diagnosis but have dealt with a lot of social anxiety and other issues over the years, as have some of my family members.” 

“For me, it’s always been about learning to manage my challenges while growing from my experiences, learning from positive people and my faith. Getting to know myself and my triggers, and finding a way to work with them, has always been important for me.” 

"Yellow Blooms" by Traci Marlin on display at the 2022 Recovered Futures Art Exhibition.

Being involved in the Recovered Futures Art Exhibition evoked a sense of joy and camaraderie in Traci, who says the shared act of completing and exhibiting artwork is something to be proud of.  

“While I believe anyone can create their own art, not everyone can get to a point where they’re happy showing that art to the world. It was impressive to see so many people produce art that they were pleased with, while also being vulnerable and sharing their personal stories. It’s great to see people experimenting and doing things their own way – that is a wonderful achievement.” 

“From my perspective, I found it quite hard to find the right words to write as my bio and the right language to share my story. I didn’t want it to sound like a sob story. Eventually I said to myself, ‘come on Traci, this is you! Be bold and have confidence’. Even though I have been drawing and painting for many years, I’ve only now just been able to say, ‘I am an artist’. That feels good and I’m proud of who I am.” 

Traci’s journey to self-compassion and acceptance has been a lifelong endeavour, but she finally feels that she’s in a place where she can move forward with clarity and self-belief.  

“I’ve seen a lot of women diagnosed with mental illness, fight alcoholism, and come out the other side – they are quite inspirational. I think learning to accept who you are and not comparing yourself to anybody else is crucial. A lot of the time it comes down to self-love and using the gifts you have been given.” 

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