For over a century, our region has been home to extraordinary artists. Local Arts Index highlights the work of individuals who continue our community’s rich creative legacy.
Meet painter Mark Weiss.
How Did You Become An Artist?
I have a psychology degree from Albany St. but my last class in college was an art history course that absolutely blew me away.
I took a job with some friends selling classical art posters at universities in the midwest and I bought myself an oil set and started copying the posters.
They were pretty successful and the urge to paint was growing rapidly. I got accepted to graduate program in psychology and had to decide whether to accept it or continue with this new love. I turned it down and entered the Art Students League in N.Y.C..
I took jobs at night and was in the bartenders union for 8 years in the city and for 38 years now I have been painting 9-5 every day.
What Kind Of Art Do You Make?
I had difficulty the first few years with my new path and visited an art therapist who turned me on to the technique of automatic drawing and painting, the technique that the surrealists and abstract expressionists employed. It has been the basis for all my art ever since.
In 1998, I had a fellowship to paint in Italy and I began to photograph my work in progress to show how a painting takes form using this technique. I published a book of this called channeling with paint.
The paintings (acrylic the first 18 years and oils the last 20) are filled with myth and psychology. They travel the vertical line going deep into our dark shadows and soar to spiritual realms where I try to give form to our demons and our divinities.
What’s Your Muse?
The question of muse is difficult. What calls me back to the easel every day for 38 years with little rewards beyond the canvas and the loneliness that comes with it. I think it comes from a deep desire to know.
To set myself up as medium and communicate with the invisible world. I’m still amazed at the magic of bringing something out of nowhere into form on the canvas. What is communicating with me , where is it coming from.We can never know but the words and images of artists can reveal our human darkness and also bring us closer to the divine.
In the last few years I’ve taken up photographing my work in progress again and have completed a couple hundred pieces.
I have been talking with projectionists. I hope to do a show of projections, where the paintings take form right before your eyes.
To see more visit markweisspaintings.
Local Arts Index is sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML by Maria Luisa, 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY