Monday, May 16, 2005

Bryan Mark

Bryan Mark
Bryan Mark

"I was born in Southern California in 1950. It was still a nice place to live back then. We lived about five miles from the place where they made the moon rockets.
My father was a paint salesman and my mother was a homemaker, bookkeeper and part time artist. I remember one of her projects was taking prints of Grandma Moses paintings on fabric and carefully stuffing the people and animals with cotton from behind so that they poked out from the surface. I thought they were so cool. She also made felt paintings of people in the bathroom with their butts showing. To this day I still like pictures of some peoples' butts.
Science fiction and the Red Scare were big. During the Cuban missile crisis my mother told me that if I ever saw a real bright flash of light that I should get down low behind something and wait till the blast went by and then come straight home. I'm sure that this kind of atmosphere contributed to my overall paranoia and sense of impending doom that I carry with me to this day.
I had an early inclination for art. I liked to paint war scenes and pirate ships. The girls in my class would come to me and say, "Can you paint a bunny for me? " Little did I know that Bunny Motifs would figure prominently in my later work. Once I made a fake time bomb with dynamite sticks and a real clock that you could wind up. I liked to put it under my bed at night and listen to it until I went to sleep.
I didn't fit in well at school. I still don't. I had a few friends. We thought all the popular people were idiots. We still do. College was better. I wanted to study art but that wasn't a real job so I studied architecture instead. I did just fine until the math got over my head. They say it's a brain thing.
The Hippie movement was right on, Hell no I didn't go! When I told them about the bomb under my bed they shouted at me and made me leave. I pretended that it hurt my feelings, but it didn't. I actually liked it.
Finally I made it to art school. At last I was with people some what like me, I could do my work and the parties were awesome. Probably the most important influence on me were the Chicano artists that I hung out with, (they are famous guys now). I lived with two of them in Echo Park. We used to draw like Banshees late into the night. (Banshees are Irish Mr. Deaths). My advisors at school liked my work, but they said I was an eccentric artist and I was on my own, but that was OK. Everything was OK then. It was beautiful man. It still is, if you don't watch the news.
I met my lovely wife in art school too. She is from Guam. She likes to draw children, cook, play the piano and speak foreign languages. I'm not sure why she tolerates me. We have a son and daughter. A lawyer and a nurse. A reaction I guess. We live on the Central Coast of California. A little bit out of town in a house that we built years ago. I wanted to live in town but the townspeople wouldn't have me. It's very beautiful here. I keep telling myself that. We are lucky if you consider the possibilities. I keep telling myself that too."



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