Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Artist Interview: Mark Warren

What is your name: 
Mark Warren

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: 
All together I completed about 2 years at RISD but the painting department was so awful I couldn't stay. Google Richard Merkin. He was the teacher for my sophomore year and then they moved him to what would have been my junior year.That ended my formal art education.

What is the style of your pieces:
This is a question I always hate and I imagine most artists don't really know how to answer.

What is the medium in which you work: 
Mostly oil paint though of course I draw and do watercolors.

What started you on your path as an artist:
As a child I could draw pretty well. As I neared the end of High School I figured being an illustrator would be my easiest course. I quickly became excited at RISD with the romance of becoming a "Painter" A lot of my work deals with that misconception. 

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life: 
It brought me a focus and a sense of continuity. I feel that all these years I have been looking for something and that I still haven't, and maybe never will, find it.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in: 
I don't think this is a genre but I think the real art of this and last century is film. Otherwise I really wish I could paint 18th or 19th century maritime battle scenes. I am not kidding.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like: 
Since I haven't shown since the mid-nineties I would be pressed for an answer. It is only in the past year I have started to look to show but have not garnered any interest. I didn't want to develop in the public eye and now I am a little lost.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:
Oh yes. My friends and family find it somewhat humorous that in the heat or dead of winter I work in a t-shirt and grey gym shorts. Lately I have been wearing a blue hoody on especially cold days as my studio is only heated to about 60 degrees.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?
I don't really know a lot of artists and the people I do know don't really have a very strong concept of what I do or more importantly why. The first question is "what do you paint?" and the second is always "Do you ever sell any of them?".

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:
 Ahh, such an easy question. Almost everyday I have a turkey on whole wheat with avocado and lettuce and tomato.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they:
In the past I have been a great destroyer of my own work. Lately I have learned to be more accepting of my lack of perfection. Now I disown nothing. I feel satisfied that whatever I do, though not reaching my own ideals, is really the best I can do. I think gradually this is loosening me up and making my work better. As I age I feel I am understanding myself more and more.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead: 
I am a real art history aficionado with a collection of art books somewhere around a thousand volumes. I could cop out and give a list but I think I would have to say Max Beckmann. I love his emotional abstraction of space and his ability to cross many genres including the use of literary and mythological subject matter in a contemporary manner that never falls into cheap nostalgia.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person:
I think the greatest artist of all time is Michelangelo. I could easily say the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel but as incredible as they are I can understand how they were made;
but the sculptures are beyond comprehension. The Pieta in the Vatican and the Moses in Rome are incredible evocations of flesh in marble but I would have to choose the grandeur, grace and technical achievement of the David. How better to evoke the story of the giant killer then by making us tiny and thus understanding how David himself felt.  

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work: 
I have two dogs, Opie and Lulu, and they hate being in my studio, so I would have to classify them as uninterested.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us: 
None. They are hard to come by.              

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