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Mark Bryan  San Luis Obispo, CA

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Mark

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been troubled by the state of things. Maybe it was all that talk about heaven in Sunday school. A perfect world, why isn’t it like that here” I feel ripped off. Even the animals didn’t eat each other in heaven. Imagine that.

Given this beautiful planet, our intelligence, talent and opposable thumbs, one would think that things for us would be a lot better than they are. I suppose I’ve carried a general disappointment in human nature for quite a while that makes itself apparent in most of my work. It seems to me that in terms of what we do to each other and to our environment, we really are fiddling while Rome burns. Perhaps we are either too smart or too dumb for our own good.

As a result of this perspective, satirical work is the logical direction for me. Humor allows for comment to be made without alienating the viewer. I believe it also shows a larger view and some affection and sympathy for the players in it.

In my paintings I see the world as a cosmic stage for human activity. I’m in the audience like a court reporter taking notes with my sketchbook and brushes, playing the critic, here to observe and make comment.

I usually begin a painting with a beautiful natural landscape, but can’t seem to leave it at that. Because of my need to make comment, I feel compelled to fill it up with depictions of absurd human activities and/or violent acts of revenge by Mother Nature. These depictions are full of symbolism, exaggeration and parody, much in the manner of political cartoons. I like to show men involved in their own tiny dramas while oblivious to greater and more powerful forces around them.

Most of my work in the past has had social, religious or political undertones and made comments in a symbolic and general way about the human predicament. It was not aimed at specific individuals or situations, but events in the world and the political direction of this country in the past few years have been alarming to me. I feel that it is a time for artists with a political bent to make stronger statements with a clearer message. I don’t know if this really has much effect on the situation, I hope so, but at least it has a therapeutic value for me and others of like mind seem happy to see their feelings made real visually. I have attempted to retain in the work the fun that can come from satire and parody and at the same time deal with these serious subjects.

Not all my work is satirical and colored with a cynical perspective. When I’ve had enough of social comment for a while, I change direction and create work that is just for fun or try to explore more positive aspects of our existence.

Apart from all the trouble we cause ourselves, I believe we are immersed in a powerful and beautiful mystery. The fact of our existence is a great riddle to me. Gauguin in his famous painting asks ” Whence do we Come” What are We” Whither are we going”” For me, those questions are always worth trying to answer.

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10 of 14 reactions displayed

"Great work! Thought provoking and fun. Anyone who has had kids can relate to the second painting."

"ha ha ha ha the monkey in the head is hilarious! :)"

"The picture is so weird and yet it works for this style. I like it a lot. And the coloring is superb."

"LOVE it"

"Wonderful work. Thank you!"

"Great man. Best i've seen in a long time. thanks for adding your voice to the world art conversation. it's worth hearing!"

"these are realy cool i see art on google all the time but this realy captured me"

"Mark your work has inspired me to, continue to explore the absurd contradictions of what this life is.and reach the fine line of where truth and reality dare to meet. Keep up the the mind challenging work."

"Great stuff!! How did you know what is going on inside my 18 month old's head? I like the knowing look... Awesome!"

"I just have 1 thing 2say 4 your painting,Are those Fling Monkeysfrom the (Wizord of Oz)But other then that itlooks preaty cool."

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