Artist Christie Marks presents a compelling portfolio of mixed media works that reflect impoverished environments and the human condition. See more by visiting her website.
I am a Bay Area mixed media artist inspired by everyday life. My imagery is raw and gritty, fueled by a sense of haunting beauty and empathy for what society regards as “otherness.” I seek to bridge the divide between my comfortable, middle class American lifestyle, and other realities of human experience.
I was born in California where I have lived all my life. Prior to launching my art career, I worked in retail merchandising and interior design.
My interest in art grew out of what I loved most about design—drawing, working with color, texture and unusual materials, and coming up with innovative design solutions.
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design from California State University, Fresno. After graduating, I lived in Fresno for four additional years before moving to the Bay Area in 2005. Once there, I made up for not attending an art school by renting a studio and taking every art class and workshop that I could find.
Living in Fresno influenced my art career more than anything. While there, I found myself drawn to its natural beauty, while also being aware of its agricultural heritage, diverse population and high rate of poverty.
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I came to cherish the raw beauty of local scenes often overlooked by modern society. I poured over the Depression era photographs of artists such as Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, feeling as if I could see the world through their eyes.
Throughout my career as an artist, I often return to subjects like the dilapidated shacks, forgotten trailers and haunting landscapes that captured my imagination in Fresno. My more recent work, much of it inspired by foreign travel, continues to stem from my fascination with and admiration of “otherness.”
My works consist of multiple layers combining abstract passages with realism. I think of the layers as a metaphor for humanity’s multi-faceted history, from ancient times up to today. My creative process involves layering original paintings, drawings and collage over a substrate of torn paper bags and newspapers from the subject matter’s location. The underlayer of bags augmented by warm neutral underpainting gives my portfolio a unified look.
As I work through the composition, I shift to oil paint and finally to cold wax varnish. The result is a piece with visual texture, luminosity and a look of age and mystery.
I exhibit my work at the Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, California and in exhibitions throughout the western United States.
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