Artist’s new studio space and gallery open to public next month
There is nothing I love more than talking about buffalo. Seriously, it’s my favorite conversation starter when I’m visiting a new city or getting to know someone. It was a no-brainer when he had the chance to pick his thoughts on the exciting personal and professional endeavor he was embarking on.
I met Mark the same way I met everyone I know in this wonderful town: through someone else. We’re not six steps apart, but a friend of a friend is what holds us together. As I often say, this city is a small living room, and before you date someone new or move to a new part of town, you might want to be careful with them. [laughing, kind of].
Mark is married to my Pilates instructor, Sarah Griffin DiVincenzo, and together we had a shared studio space called Pilates Art Studio in the Five Points neighborhood of Buffalo. Sarah’s studio is right above her Remedy House, and she has a reformer class with her at least once a week before she goes to work. His one of Mark’s studio spaces was on his third floor of the building, and his other was on Niagara Street.
Some time ago, he saw Snyder’s studio space and decided to consolidate/rent out a location in the city. I met Mark at his new studio and sat down with him there to learn more about his life in the Buffalo and New York City/California art scenes, the significant commercial work he did around the city, and sometime the gallery and studio. We talked about plans to open. Also, talk with him about what inspires him, what the art of Buffalo and beyond means to him, how it enriches his life and expands his world. talked.
You are from Buffalo and take great pride in it, but have lived and traveled all over the world to practice your art. Please tell us how you started.
Raised in Buffalo, he began painting and sculpting at the age of four. I lived two doors down from Jackie Felix and that was the beginning of my art career. I walked over to her house and was in awe of Jackie’s studio. She was a huge influence on me, she had an interest in art and the creative process from an early age.
From there I started taking art classes and went to School 81, an excellent grammar school known for its art programs, crafts and music. In the past, the emphasis was on growing music and the arts, but now it seems more and more schools are cutting important programs like these. I was very lucky to have an education. From there I went to Buffalo State University and was lucky enough to study abroad in Siena, Italy.
Travel inspires me and my art. During my studies in Siena, I traveled all over Europe. Looking back, I was completely immersed in art, and it completely changed my life.
After college, I lived in New York and California. What was the art scene like in those cities when you lived there?
After school, I was fortunate enough to live in New York City and exhibit my work at an art studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. It really changed me. Learning from the City’s gallery owners and curators inspired me to create. It was kind of far away, but it taught me a lot.
California also inspired me, but in a different way because the two places are so different. I went to San Francisco and Santa Monica and lived there for about five years. When I returned to Buffalo as a fine artist, I encountered another local talent who brought me into my inner world. I painted at night and burned the midnight oil. That was when I was most inspired and the only time I allowed myself some spare time to create those pieces.
You have a new studio space in Snyder, NY. What made you look outside the city?
The reason for the new studio was simple. Family comes first and that’s the reality. I was trying to figure it out and wanted to do something when my other leases expired. was. I wanted to be close to my son’s school and Snyder’s new home. My hope was to find inspiration in our new settlement and drive that energy and love into our new studio space here.
What are your thoughts on this space? What would be different about it and what do you see for your future here?
This is a new endeavor and I’m hoping it’s similar in some ways to my old space, but I’m trying to breathe new life into it and try new things here. may be done in I would like to teach the skills necessary to restore churches and many old buildings around Buffalo, such as art restoration and architectural arts. If I teach these classes here, I want to make sure everything is oriented towards the professional world and teach local artists specific skills.
Some of my work will also be exhibited in the new studio. I want to be ready and ready for the gallery/studio opening next month. I hope it inspires people to come and me too to keep creating new projects.
Many of your works are in oil on canvas, and they are quite large. Why is it important to create art on such a large scale, and what do you hope the people who see it will get when they see it?
It all started when I started working in the Tri-Main Studio space on Main Street. I did a lot of work there, and it was a very large studio space, so it was natural to want to do something bigger. The bigger the studio, the more you want to make bigger pieces.
Your art is diverse, but you do a lot of large-scale oil paintings on canvas that naturally accentuate certain pops of color. Could you decorate it a little?
All this work of nature comes from my past. I grew up in the city of Buffalo and lived in places like here and New York as an adult. In a sense, it is an escape from the daily life of the city.
I am a true outdoorsman and have done serious hiking all my life. My family and I love water and enjoy the outdoors together. When I take a walk in nature, it is the perfect juxtaposition of my daily work and life.The perfect natural rhythm is in nature and I respond to it. I hope my art reflects the peace and tranquility I find in nature, either alone or with my family.
The colors I chose are muted and create a movement that is different from the color palette of that particular piece. Some nature scenes are brighter, while others use darker tones to enforce the emotion they want to convey. It’s all about my mood and where I am in my life.I like loose paintings compared to tight paintings.His paintings have a place. Loose painting gives movement and a whole new layer of color. Everyone can find something different in each of my pieces and that’s the great part for me.
For those of you who are not familiar with the tools you use to create as an artist, can you talk a little bit about the “fundamentals of painting”?
I use oil paint on canvas. The canvas used is a very thick canvas. It’s on the stretcher bar. The palette you use is important to create your mood. My previous work is much more escapist. I am definitely drawn to patterns and wind. I love how the movement happens and the beautiful formations that occur in nature that bring the oil to each canvas work I create.
Having a large piece activates the entire canvas. Then your mind goes elsewhere. I delve into what happens when I am inspired and what draws me in. My hope is to engage people as well.
In addition to all the fine art you produce, you have a real eye and passion for commercial/interior work, which is an entirely different endeavor for an artist.
In order to feed my passion as an artist, I “fell” into a more financially supportive inner world. In fact, I started doing interior architectural art in 1983. Hand painted wall finishes, designs, faux finishes and murals in hundreds of homes and restaurants. During this time, I amassed a large number of copyrights for gouache study paintings. These studies turned into large oil paintings that propelled me to the Chelsea art scene in New York. As a result, around 2001, I left the residential/commercial world for about ten years while working at the Sears/Peyton Gallery while maintaining a studio in New York, specifically Bushwick.
In 2011, I re-entered the world of architectural art for important reasons. My first job was the restoration of Hotel Lafayette. In collaboration with the Historical Commission, burl panels, marble panels and gilding have been recreated in various areas. Since then, I have worked on numerous historic restorations, including Our Lady of Victories, the Blessed Trinity, the Gold Dome, the Statler, and the main building where I now work and which I am very proud of. Another project I’m about to join is his project with SACRA led by my friend and UB Architect he Dennis Maher (Assembly House and SACRA). A workshop at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center where his students will create a very cool wall inspired by Charles Burchfield.
You grew up in Buffalo, lived an amazing life here, created beautiful art, and restored architectural gems around the city. What do you love about the Buffalo art scene and living here?
Local artists like Peter Stephens. Philip Burke also comes to mind. I have always followed his career and his work inspires me. In town galleries, Birchfield and Albright Knox are great. The Burchfield Penney Art Center really supports the local art scene and is great for its community. Rivalry Projects favorite gallery is beautiful and just started showcasing painters. It’s fun to go there and see what’s on display and get to know the artists behind the work on the walls.
As for this studio or anywhere I’ve been in the past, I look at these bare walls and see all the work in front of me. It will inspire you to be creative. I literally start measuring it to see what I want to draw next. Buffalo also shows me a lot of beauty when I spend time in nature with my family, go to the beach or explore new galleries and openings. .
The new studio space is located on Kensington Avenue in Snyder, NY. See his website for details on the October opening. Or contact Mark to purchase Mark’s artwork.