Meet the 2021 Wellington Advent Calendar artist

Mary Guo is the artist (and Wellington café fan) behind this year’s whimsical Wellington Advent Calendar illustrations

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This year’s Advent artist had barely even heard of Wellington before she moved here. Originally from China, Mary Guo didn’t spend much time researching her new home.

“I had heard that it's a small and windy city, and that's all. I thought – a windy city sounds quite picturesque, like something out of the movie, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I didn't expect it was this windy, LOL. But I don't regret moving here!”

Wellington is lucky Mary is so spontaneous. Since moving here, aside from working in the game and animation industry, Mary has worked on various illustration and comic projects. Many of these charmingly depict Wellington scenes, filled with the kind of animal characters you wished existed in reality.

For this year’s Wellington Advent Calendar, Mary has created 25 original art works featuring classic capital scenes and businesses. Different animals such as penguins, deer, gorillas, otters and rabbits take the place of your usual Wellington characters. Depicted enjoying ice-creams, sweet treats, shopping and more, each illustration unlocks a special deal to the business that is shown. A touch of Christmas magic is added for good measure.

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I was very excited when I received an invitation to draw this year's calendar. I particularly enjoyed placing cute animals in the scenes.

Mary Guo

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A self-confessed ”mega manga and comic fan”, Mary taught herself to draw and then worked as a game artist and illustrator for several years in China. “I learnt most of my skills on the job since I didn't study art in school or university. After coming to Wellington, I decided to study art at Weltec, helping me understand the traditional art theory and practice – woodcraft, sculpture, art framing and printing, how to organise an exhibition, and so forth.”

Mary loves the city’s friendly people, the mountains, the sea, and the cafés. She says Wellington inspires her to create art. “So, as you can imagine, I was very excited when I received an invitation to draw this year's calendar. I particularly enjoyed placing cute animals in the scenes, to let them wander around and have fun in the shops and different locations around Wellington."

Mary Guo

Want to view more of Mary's work?

Visit Mary's website or search up @totoroguo on Instagram.

You can also buy Mary's book, 'Lonely Artist' here. 

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