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Mars Tokyo (aka Sally Mericle)

(1952– )

Mars Tokyo (aka Sally Mericle)

Sally Diane Mericle was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to William Mericle, an Italian American metallurgical engineer, and Virginia Mericle, a housewife. Raised primarily in Peoria, Illinois, Sally was a child savant at drawing precise figures as early as age two. Her art making was much encouraged by her mother and many others in her early life. She has since produced her work under her preferred art name, Mars Tokyo, which she says came to her in a dream.

Some of Sally's key memories from childhood include exploring the woods behind her house, drawing rolls and rolls of tiny figures on adding machine tape, and sewing miniature fashions for her Barbie dolls. Later at Bradley University, Sally concentrated on general studies while pursuing her art on her own. "I am 100 percent self-taught as an artist" she proclaims. Sally was able to make a living also as a self-taught graphic designer and college teacher for nine years. In 1995, she traveled to China to attend and present at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women.

Sally was diagnosed with major depression following a suicide attempt at age 21 and has battled depression for decades. She says she keeps diaries, in part, as a way to express herself, especially after undergoing electroconvulsive therapy treatments in 2007. Sally wishes viewers of her work to know, "My stories presented in my 'theaters' are ones of personal rejection, alienation, and pain. They often reflect a life dealing with major depression. But throughout them, there is also a great beauty and hope, because there is that in life." She has been happily married to a local reporter for 26 years, and together they have one son. Sally's best advice is, "Even if everyone tells you to give up, you should keep doing what you love-especially making art. Don't ever stop."

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