A Conversation with Gabriel Mark (this year's Britt poster artist)
Posted Aug 19, 2008 at 04:20 PM in General, Behind The Scenes
Gabriel Mark doesn’t look like what I expected; he doesn’t have any visible tattoos, no long hair, and no paint under his fingernails. When I met with him to find out more about his inspiration for this year’s Britt fine arts poster, he looked like a typical young professional, dressed in khakis and a polo. He is kind, personable and has a warm smile. Yet, there is nothing typical about Gabriel Mark.
At 32, Mark has caught the eye of collectors and galleries worldwide, with several public murals and paintings housed in numerous collections. He recently finished a commission to paint pirate scenes for Big Kenny, of the country music duo Big & Rich, who wanted pirate paintings for his Nashville home.
He dropped by the Britt Festivals offices recently to chat with me about his inspiration for the Britt fine arts poster he painted titled “The Gift of Spring.”
Mark: The history of Jacksonville and Britt was what really inspired me.
Britt: Who is the woman in the picture?
Mark: I asked my wife, Naomi, to model for me. It isn’t a portrait, but I painted the woman in my wife’s likeness.
Britt: Tell us about the dress your wife is wearing in the painting.
Mark: Anne Wilton, who is a member of the Belles & Beaus Old West Victorian Society of Jacksonville, helped us create a costume for Naomi to wear that looks like it dates back to the 1800’s.
Britt: How many sittings did it take to complete the painting?
Mark: I used photographs and sketches mostly. But photographs do not show color accurately, so I had her complete a couple sittings so I could get the color just right.
Britt: Does the tree that she is resting on really exist?
Mark: Yes. It is above the Britt pavilion. If you to walk up Fir Street (the street that runs beside the pavilion), you would see the tree on the left as you approach the top of the hill.
Britt: How long did it take you to complete the painting?
Mark: I painted it off and on over a period of six months.
Britt: Overall, was your wife pleased with the painting?
Mark: Yes, I think she likes it.
Britt: If you were to paint another Britt fine arts poster, what would you paint?
Mark: A bar scene.
Britt: Why a bar scene?
Mark: Well, I am currently working on some paintings of bar scenes and that is what I am really into right now.
Britt: Were your artist friends jealous that you painted the Britt poster this year?
Britt: Would you say that you name is more recognized in the Rogue Valley after being the artist of the Britt fine arts poster?
Mark: Yes. Even more than me, my wife is more recognized now.
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