The Catharsis and Chrysalis of an Artist
Description: The multilayer approach of Mark’s art is grounded in emotion. In awe. In inspiration.
Mark discovered his love for art as a young child when his mom enrolled him in art classes. Through her unwavering support and her own passion for artistic expression, his mom and his grandmother, “Gram”, inspired Mark. They were planting seeds of artistic love and authentic self-expression that began sprouting, and would never truly leave his heart. “Gram” called him “Marky”, and Marky was an artist at his core. He was regularly eager to duplicate what he learned in art class later at home. He nurtured his gift and found joy in his budding creativity. But Marky’s love for art seemed to slowly lose its spark as he got older. He continued convincing himself that making money from art was nearly impossible … until he believed his own words so much that he chose another path.
Childhood “Marky” and his artistic expression appeared to slowly be buried beneath adult Mark’s seemingly more logical passions, such as entrepreneurship, sales, and corporate America. However, he recently realized his artistic passion was never actually buried. It was only encased. Other passions of organization, structure, travel, business, and a partiality to perfectionism were simply spinning and weaving themselves to create this encasing. But there was never a burial. It was a preparation for a future chrysalis.
Art’s temporary replacement
As a child, his parents lovingly teased that Mark had expensive taste. This expensive taste combined with serendipity led Mark into marketing and advertising. His brother’s roommate was pursuing marketing and advertising, so Mark’s brother relayed, “You like art, Mark, so you may like marketing”. This in-passing comment would spur an early and successful career in sales, marketing, and advertising. Mark’s entrepreneurial strengths were honed from an early age, with a paper route, middle school sales of Jolly Ranchers between classes, and a lawn mowing business his junior year of high school that would grow to 35 clients — creating the need to hire his very first employee as a junior in college!
While his partiality to earn money led Mark to choose sales in the business world, he soon developed the insight that his heart lay in branding. He loved the connection and creativity of branding, so he found himself leaving corporate America to become an entrepreneur in order to find meaning in his work. This path culminated with Mark becoming a Life Balance Strategist. Mark literally started crying during his first Life Balance workshop because of an overwhelming feeling that he could change someone’s life that day. He gained so much more than the perks of corporate life. He found meaning and fulfillment. A sense of empowerment through creativity and authentic connection.
As he built his business, Mark met a woman in his Life Balance workshop who created art that inspired him. He felt something stirring within. This was a landmark moment. He picked up a paintbrush and reconnected with his encased passion. He mostly dabbled with painting, creating a piece here and there, but he was finding himself again. Everyday, he decided to begin with a blank canvas. Then, one day in a personal coaching session, Mark was prompted by his coach to “find mini miracles and record them”. He would record his mini miracles on canvas in words. Then one day, in 2014, he decided to paint over these records of mini miracles strewn about the canvas. This practice of hiding meaning is essential to his current subliminal works. It would take time for Mark’s concept of Subliminal Story Art to emerge, but it did. It emerged as a catharsis of perfection to imperfection. As a radical embracing of his full self. As his purest form of self-expression in all its rawness and beauty and structure and chaos. Completing his first painting was a huge step for Mark in reconnecting with himself as an artist. Soon, friends visiting Mark’s home were moved by his first piece and would say, “Wow. I would buy that”! After a few instances of hearing these words, art started to feel different for Mark: “It felt different, effortless, free, inspiring, liberating. All of the feelings that I was looking to experience in my existing business”. Mark continued to paint, gaining confidence with each new piece.
THE TURNING POINT
A piece called “Sunset through the Clouds” marks another turning point. It was Mark’s birthday, 2019. On this day, Mark left out a canvas. He asked everyone to sign it. There were some blank spaces. But the canvas was mostly covered in loved ones’ personal expressions. It would be tucked away until 2020. The pandemic began, pushing large swaths of the world’s population into quarantine. And something opened and arose from within Mark. He was inspired to find the tucked away canvas, and found it covered in dust, just waiting to come alive. In that moment, Mark painted over every single signature. Splashing bright colors in a painter’s dance of hues. Brushing asymmetrical lines. What was stirring within for years – the mixing and flowing of every passion and every collected experience – would emerge as a kaleidoscope of full self-expression. He noticed everything in life is equivalent to the meaning you give to it. “It’s like I was painting what we’re facing right now”, alluding to COVID-19 and our feeling of separation from others. “The isolation. The feeling of how the pandemic is affecting our connection with others. And people noticed.” Noticed the meaning. The passion.
The emotion that bursts through every color and texture, until you can almost see and feel it with your full Self, in all its essence.
Emotion embedded in art
“Isn’t there always emotion?”, he asks rhetorically. The multilayer approach of Mark’s art is grounded in emotion. In awe. In inspiration. From the California salt flats, and modern Tokyo architecture with its clean and precise beauty, to ancient Rome, romantic Italy, or the palm roofs in the Ecuadorian Amazon, many places Mark has traveled inspire his work as much as his honed business acumen. And he brings all of these pieces of himself to every art piece. However, traits associated with his business acumen, such as meticulous organization, perfectionism, and detail-exhaustive approaches that Mark implemented in his business endeavors, were not merely a reflection of a put-together, former people-pleasing, successful businessman.
It was reflective of something deeper: an everyday battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While Mark was thriving at work, he struggled with experiences associated with his mental health condition throughout his college years. While on his own journey with recovery, he holds that it is an integral piece of his entire story that further elucidates who he is as an artist. “I was wrong and vilified it”, he says, about perfectionism. Mark shares how he realized that anything perfect actually lies in all the imperfections, and that’s where his love for perfectionism now resides. As part of his unified emergence and reemergence, he found who he was an artist. And as a whole person. Slowly, he grew, and is still growing, into what he’s always been. He brings his whole self into his art, because he was never “just a businessman” or “just an artist”, or “just” any of his other labels.
He’s still a businessman with sharp acumen and a love for branding. He still experiences deep, appreciative emotion observing cleanliness, straight lines, and precision. He’s still an entrepreneur, a
traveler, a time-creation coach focusing on client organization, and, like all of us, a composition of every thought, emotion, inspiration, and connection we’ve experienced. For Mark, Subliminal Story Art represents the amalgamation of all that makes him – him. He’s embracing all the pieces of himself and expressing them through his art. “I’m a ridiculously organized artist”, he laughs. “I hope to help and inspire other artists. To create and exist … is the world”. Perhaps, in other words: Mark found his own Home Story. He hopes to connect with you to find your Home Story and express it with you.
Visit Mark’s Instagram for a collection of several works:
If you like, reach out to connect with Mark! firstname.lastname@example.org