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Art To Lift The Soul

story By Carla Edstrom

If you have walked into The Painted Mermaid in Southport or browsed the Boiling Spring Lakes Neighbors Market, chances are you have come across one of artist Margo Flynn’s brightly painted fish, or engaging big-eyed mermaids. Her work stands out with bright expressions that are sure to make you smile. Often using repurposed and reclaimed items such as wood or book pages to paint on, Flynn has created art her entire life. “Making art it is as necessary as breathing to me, it’s what makes me happiest,” she said.

Flynn started drawing as a child doodling on notebooks. “No surface was safe from my pen or pencil! The walls, the school books, the school notebooks, my clothes even my skin all got scribbled on,” she said. “My first encounter with art as a child was when I found a reddish-brown piece of chalk and drew an image of a person on a rough grey concrete wall,” said Flynn. “The image was the same as the way many children draw people with a very large head and garden rake hands. Maybe he was legless because for the life of me I cannot remember giving him legs! But to this day, I can still see that image in my head and it still makes me smile,” she said. “Well after that masterpiece, I was hooked for life.”

A native of Ireland, Flynn came to the States and fell in love with our beautiful state in particular. “I was born and raised in Ireland and a romantic notion got me moving to the US. I love the guy who got me to move - I even married him. But I did not like New York where we were living at that time, “ she said. “We came to North Carolina on vacation and fell in love with the beautiful coastline, the majestic mountains, the climate, but most of all with the warm, friendly people here. So, 12 years ago we moved here and I still love this place, especially Southport!”

Flynn’s work is carefree and happy in every way. It’s hard to look at a fish with big red-painted lips and not smile. She has lovingly captured the expression of each and every creature she paints. “I love to see people learn how to be creative and I believe that anyone can draw,” she said. “Remember as a child the practice you had to put in so you could learn how to draw your letters. Well, anyone who can write is already able to draw. I believe they just have to believe in themselves,” she said. “I used to exhibit at a professional level many years ago but life and work got in the way of my art. Now I am back to being creative and hope to make art until I fall down dead! People these days say my art makes them smile and that makes my soul happy.”

The world around us is a consistent inspiration for artists, with the changing seasons and our beautiful coastline. “I find inspiration all around me; outdoors in nature and indoors on the internet. I love to travel and see new places and I try and visit art galleries when I can,” said Flynn. “I went to art college in Ireland many, many moons ago but I must say that over the past few years I have learned more from YouTube than I ever did at art college,” she said. “I am very much a multidisciplinary artist, which means I am all over the place with my art. I create art in many ways and with multiple mediums,” she said. “I like to recycle as much as possible and make many of my art pieces from recycled wood and found objects. I can often be found out in the yard going at full speed with my power tools working out an idea on a scrap of wood or indoors well after midnight up to my eyeballs in paint and art mediums making a happy mess.”

“Before the pandemic, I used to sell my art through local stores, markets, and festivals. But all this has come to a halt over the past months, which is very sad. It’s a hard time for artists right now,” said Flynn. “Really it’s a hard time for everyone in these strange days. However, The Neighbors Market in Boiling Spring Lakes is now up and running again on the first Saturday of each month so I take part in that, and it is great! I hope to take part in the Christmas markets on Oak Island and Southport this year if they are still going ahead.”

Find Flynn’s work at the Painted Mermaid and watch for her at the BSL Neighbors Market, which is held on some Saturday mornings next to The Office Coffee and Wine Bar. More information can also be seen here at In Calabash, find her work at Jewelry by Wendy, or contact her through her Facebook page, or email at

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