Born 1961, New York
And so it goes…The story of a dreamer in focus, the “little man” larger than life, a metamorphosis of sorts, the juxtaposition of color that lives in the fiesta, echoes of music ranging from a bordello virus spilling into the backstreets of our minds, an ethereal world groove laced with American roots and the raw tap-tap of the dancer…and the word.
Before I touch upon the word it is necessary to address my subconscious instinct and the evolution of being a self-taught painter. Jean Dubuffet might refer to it as “art brut”, others would say “outsider art”, to me it is this… A word spawns an image, the image dances across the canvas to the beat of it’s own drummer and colors lead the way to new discovery.
My journey of discovery began some years ago within the confines of a chaotic environment. I was born in New York, the fifth child in a family of what came to be nine children. To some, being one in a large family might be overwhelming, for me it was truly an amazing experience and to this day I feel blessed to be so fortunate.
When I was a teenager, my family uplifted to a small town in New Mexico. The move was quite an adjustment, and at first New Mexico didn’t agree with me. Ironically, that changed when I moved away. Since then, the colors of “The Land Of Enchantment” have haunted me. My palette was born in New Mexico…it invokes the color of life; a photomontage of a primitive spirit.
The encouraging support of my parents and just the right dose of imagination allowed me to explore some of my wildest dreams no matter how crazy they seemed at the time. From cartoonist to theatrical dancer to music producer to painter with many odd jobs in between. I’ve come full circle after a long absence from the art world—my first true love.
This re-awakening to my first love started with a Bill Traylor painting I saw for the first time called “Runaway Goat Cart”. I’ll never forget it; Simple yet complex, raw yet graceful, child-like yet mature. It was a revelation for me and that day changed my life forever. You could say I felt the spirit move as the hair raised on my arms, tears fell from my eyes and a chill ran down my spine. Cliché, perhaps, but most definitely the truth.
The message was clear…It’s okay to paint from your inner child! Why not? The happiest times of my life were when I didn’t have a care in the world…pure and unblemished, wide-eyed and curious. “Real life” moved me into an illogical orbit that took me away from that innocence. Was that Bill Traylor sighting fate or chance? Probably both.
To find that inner child, I embarked upon a therapeutic adventure in painting…It was time. Fifteen years had passed since I last held a brush in my hand. All the other creative endeavors I had experienced left me with an insatiable appetite to bring the beauty of a musical landscape to life on canvas. Now it was time to start on the road to my release…but where would it come from? Since our consciousness is just a vehicle for our subconscious, one can never tell where this journey will lead.
Without looking, my muse came to me…Kitty. “In our garden of dreams whose beginning is at the surface of an infinite tenderness”. She inspired me to paint and became my muse, my love and my wife. Everything became brighter and more in focus than ever before. I finally let love in completely and was dying to express the way I felt. The canvas became my life-past, and present as well as a look into my secret world.
Three years after this adventure began, my wife and I gave birth to our son Finn…”The Little Man…breast fed for life in the wind and the spaces in between”. Now, as I strive to see life through his eyes, I feel compelled to dive deeper into my inner child, shed my adult skin one layer at a time and live in the moment. Everything around me appears new and exciting if only for a minute longer…oh, but what a wonderful minute! Is this reality or just a dream? Probably both.
Mark's love of art started early in his childhood, just after it was discovered that he was extremely nearsighted and legally blind.
His first correctional glasses offered Mark a new view of the world, inspiring his obsession with imagery and illustrations. His first works, which he began creating in the late 60's and into the 70's, consisted of many different mediums, including rubber stamp designs, ink illustrations, screen printing, decals, and mail art. He participated in local showings, and received recognition for his work in his home town of Akron, Ohio.
With DEVO, his most successful music project, Mark was able to showcase his artistic abilities on a larger scale, and to millions of people. Through their films, videos, costumes, LP covers, stage shows, and printed materials, Mark and DEVO forever altered commonly held preconceptions of how a rock band should function in popular culture.
During his downtime on early worldwide tours with DEVO, he began illustrating on postcards to send to his friends, which he still creates, and has been creating every day for over 30 years; A very obsessive habit which still yields anywhere from 1 to 25 new images per day. These cards were originally created as his personal diaries, and were never intended for public viewing. That all changed when Mark decided to share his postcard works in his critically acclaimed solo shows during the 80's & 90's, and then with his gallery tour in 2003 titled HOMEFRONT INVASION!. This marked the beginning of many solo shows to come.
Mark followed the 2003 tour with his BEAUTIFUL MUTANTS tour in 2004, which showcased his photographic symmetrical creations and 'corrected' imagery. The tour distributed many more of Mark's works throughout the world, and attracted more first-time gallery visitors & art buyers to his shows.
Mark's gallery tours since 2005 have featured new works from both his Postcard Diaries Prints and Beautiful Mutants photographs, giving each gallery a choice of either visual theme. See the latest tour dates for 2008 here.
I create because I have to; story telling under broken shards of glass amuses and placates the inner sprites. My work embodies the collective thought patterns of our society: fractured but connected, expressing the combat of individuality, encompassing desire, spirit and reason. I am mixed. Media: paper, words, glass, paint, discarded and found objects, glue and grout.
I started working with mosaics over 10 years ago when I was still working in my family’s winery. I made gifts for family and friends and while I enjoyed working with the various materials, the color and patterns, I felt something was lacking---I needed more. One night in my studio * ahem * laundry room, I set my wine glass on top of a magazine. When I turned my head to pick up the wine I noticed the word “explore” seemingly floating beneath the clear glass. Chance, destiny, does it even matter? A strange new excitement bubbled inside; I knew what I wanted to create. I would incorporate words into my art, and they would tell my stories.
The Materials & Process
I mainly cover old sash windowpanes, mannequin sculptures and furniture. Recently I have started working on wood boards. Truth is I will cover almost anything in glass and words if it’s not nailed down. I really enjoy using found objects, and I am a frequent ‘dumpster-diver’ and visitor to scrap yards --I like the idea of keeping things out of the landfills. I love glass, the feel the color and movement and I use a variety; stained, clear, dichrotic and mirror. I use oil pastels and or acrylics to paint out my piece first and then scrounge through magazines to clip out the words that will tell my stories. Each word is glued onto the hand cut glass and affixed to my ‘canvas’. I hand sand and grout the piece and then paint the grout. It is very much like traditional mosaic work but I have created my own twist through the incorporation of the word. When light shines from behind my windowpanes they become a different piece all together; I rather like the way the light can affect the piece.
JoeX2, is an urban artist. Previously limited to the underground subculture of municipal art, this past year he emerged with rapid fire in solo and group shows spanning from New York City to San Francisco. Learning the craft of fine art from his father, a painter and Trinidad native, Joe Joe’s talent is vastly displayed in his old school styles depicting everything from island flavor to cultural materialism.
Prior to being a visual voice of metropolitan expressionism, Joe Joe served as favorite of the entertainment trade with his work being seen regularly on the television shows CSI: NY, Everybody Hates Chris, and the music videos of P.Diddy, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Daddy Yankee. His work is also internationally publicized in magazines such as Mass Appeal, Vapors, Joints and Frank 151. With attention from industry heavyweights such as McDonalds and Telemundo in branding and advertising, his talent is limitless. He continues to prove his unique style and vision comfortably situated between the fast track of superstardom and starving artist.
His bodies of work include “Turnstyle”, a return to the roots of subway graffiti, “$treet Credit” a politically charged satire of issues affecting urban cultures set atop none other than plush black velvet, “Central Bookings” a highly stylized series of urban mug-shots ringing with tones of glamour-shots, and his latest signature patterned canvas in the series “Gridlock” and “Dope on a Rope”. His diversity is unique, his talent is limitless. Joe Joe currently resides in Los Angeles with his fiancé, Lucinda, and French bulldog, Bad Girl.
After observing a presentation many years ago by famed night photographer, Michael Kenna, I became intrigued by low light, long exposure, night photography. The Napa and San Francisco Bay area, where I currently reside, have provided me with a playground to enjoy night photography.
I often experience a great sense of anxiety when I place myself in locations that are not without risk. The balance between the risk and the possibility of capturing a magical photograph is exhilarating. Night photography has allowed me to create beautiful images and to be at one with myself and the silence that surrounds me.
The ability of the camera to capture light over an extended period of time through long exposure photography often results in images that the human eye and mind are unable to duplicate. It is this law of long exposure photography that makes the night come alive.