Mark Preston, Richmond, VA Member Since June 2008 Artist Statement
Thank you for visiting my website, and for your interest in my artwork. I’d like to take a minute to tell you a little about my background, and artistic experiences.
I grew up in Pennsylvania, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Penn State University in 1994. Before moving to Richmond in 2000, I worked as a graphic artist in San Francisco, California, and also as an illustrator in San Diego. It was in San Diego that I had an opportunity to experiment with oil pastels and came to appreciate the painterly qualities they offered, such as color, texture, and ease of manipulation.
After moving to Richmond in 2000, and spending the last ten years focused on my graphic/web design career, I began to feel artistically hungry to create with traditional art mediums. It was here that I made the decision to work with oil pastels instead of oil paints. I made the change primarily because I did not have the studio space to work in oil paint, and I was not about to let anything more stand in my way of creating. So, in 2003, I began with small, simple drawings so I could finish pieces, and not have them interfere with my professional career. As I continued to use pastels I fell in love with the brilliant colors, texture, and the rapid nature in which I was able to complete drawings… unlike the time needed to complete oil paintings.
About the art The compositions I chose in my early works were that of people in situations that “to me”, captured the classically romantic side of Richmond; wine, dancing, horses, and cigars.
Since 2003, I have expanded my subjects to incorporate much more impressionistic and cubist works, as in “Tuscany Abstract”, and “Opening Night”. I’ve also learned to use layering and stroke work to help increase the depth and texture of my work. The texture helps draw the viewer into each scene, and help them become intimate with the moment captured in the composition.
The main goal of my work is to capture a scene that invites the viewer into a moment between two people or an individual in a state of reflection. My artistic influences are Picasso, Degas, Monet, and Cézanne, and Van Gogh.
All original pieces are drawn on acid-free drawing paper with pencil, and brushed in with black oil pastel and turpentine, before oil pastels are applied.
Artist Accomplishments Solo Exhibits: • Featured Artist at Cornerstone Architects, Richmond First Friday, September 2004 • Featured Artist at the Visual Art Studio, Richmond First Friday, February & March 2006 • The Steward School, December 5, 2007 thru January 18, 2008
Selected into juried shows: • 2006 Alexandria Fine Arts Festival (Howard Alan Events) • 2006 Bethlehem, PA Musikfest • 2007 Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts • 2007 Arts in the Park
Awards: • Best in Show -- The Crossroads Art Center, June All-Media Show 2004 • Judges Choice Award -- Bon Air Artist Association, Art Affair 2006 & 2007