Tag Archives: Santa Fe

Feature: Mark Mann

Today the Collective is as proud as we are humbled in the presentation of the following feature. Looking back, we’ve had a greatly diverse range of Arts and Artists bring us to this point. Now, the texture of the fabric from which the LIFESTYLE is built gets only richer with the incorporation of Mark Mann‘s Reflection and Response artist feature.

Coming out of BK, hailing from Oklahoma City and Santa Fe; here is a Man as Eclectic Americana as the craft of his production. Check the interview and original artwork below!

Mark Mann

Reflection is self-awareness. We are continually considering our thoughts, experiences and the people that are significant in our lives. The process of reflection is vital to my understanding of who I am and is a guide to looking forward—staking out the future. My artistic interests are a response to these collective ideas…

-Mark Mann

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MM: I was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. During my college years, I found a second home in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was later drawn to the energy and diversity of New York City. I currently live and work in Brooklyn, although I sometimes feel like I still reside in all three– if that makes sense.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MM: To me reflection is self-awareness. We are continually considering our thoughts, experiences and the people that are significant in our lives. The process of reflection is vital to my understanding of who I am and is a guide to looking forward—staking out the future. My artistic interests are a response to these collective ideas and as a result, my work has focused primarily on family relationships and the American experience.

How do Median Family and Breakfast Special fit in with that definition?

Median Family

Title: Median Family
Artist: Mark Mann
Year: 2000

MM: In the most basic of terms, my artwork finds its origins in the sampling of Americana postcards from the mid 20th century. One image entitled Median Family comes to mind. It depicts a family of four caught between two points— where they are going and where they have been. There is an underlying insecurity in their position and posture, but at the same time they are bound together in a protective group. The curve of the road and lack of information adds an amount of tension I am drawn to in most of my works and it seems to be the perfect mixture of my suburban and city experiences.

Breakfast Special, The Mother Road

Title: Breakfast Special, The Mother Road
Artist: Mark Mann
Year: 2012

Another example is Breakfast Special, The Mother Road. An image created from the fading of newsprint that focuses on the idea of seeking comfort and diversion in one’s life. Highlighting the freedom and clarity gained from travel is the central element, but there is the presence of branding and commercialism that pervades this experience–even in the wide-open spaces of the American west. This contradiction is interesting to me.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Wish I Could Stay Longer

Title: Wish I Could Stay Longer
Artist: Mark Mann
Year: 2012

MM: Lately, my work involves experimenting with a variety of materials and alternatives to drawing. I’ve made it a priority to not get comfortable with past processes and continually take up new techniques. From invisible ink to white wine, I am searching for materials that conceptually reinforce the subjects they render.  In addition, I’m currently setting up a new studio space, so I look forward to working in a larger scale and “hands on” way that will be very different from my earlier computer-based imagery.

Who or what inspires you?

MM: Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to meet up with some other Brooklyn-based artists who are doing compelling work. I’m always inspired by their creative vision and there’s a camaraderie there I haven’t had since art school. I look for any opportunity to collaborate with them on a future curated show or event.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

MM: The Amsterdam-based magazine, Eyemazing, will include my recent artist feature in their “Best of Eyemazing Book” due out this year. The article and other works may be viewed at http://www.markmannmade.com

Shout out to…?

MM: The entire family. All the in-laws and out-laws. They have always been there for me and I’m thankful.

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Megan Branch

Live from the LIFESTYLE workbench…Feature No. 3 is here!! It’s hard to believe a month has already gone by since the debut of our feature series with Samuel Bostick, followed by The Know Nothings two weeks ago…

Today, we are PROUD to present the one and only Megan Branch, a woman with mad creative talent in acting, singing, dancing, photography, and writing…Reflection and Response to the fullest, in all contexts. Her drive and passion for her craft continue to inspire us in our own work.

She was featured singing the hook on Peter’s acoustic version of He’s Your Guy last month. Now, through the LIFESTYLE interview followed by an excerpt from a rant she created, we take a look at how Megan defines herself and her work. Digg!

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MB: I was born in Albuquerque but I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Right now I live in Brooklyn, New York.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MB: Reflection and Response in my life is the ability to be moved and changed by the world around you, whether it be a painting, a song, a piece of conversation you hear on the street, a beautiful sky, a delicious meal, a piece of text, a news article, anything that affects you and in turn changes you, inspires you enough to further create and respond. Now, that response also comes in many forms, like a LIFESTYLE blog, one line of poetry or a raw fit – to me reflection and response is when art in its many forms affects you in such a way it alters the way you view the world, it changes you, and you it. This change begins a conversation, a response, and in my opinion, makes the world better than it was before.

How does Ghost fit in with that definition?

MB: Ghost is an excerpt from a rant I wrote in my Chicano Teatro class my senior year of undergrad at the University of New Mexico. The title used to be called This is Why You Hate Me, needless to say I was very angry at the time, specifically with the person whom I’m addressing throughout the piece. Anger can definitely be inspiring and is almost necessary when writing a rant. But I think since I’ve revisited this piece recently I have found that I am less angry but still passionate when speaking to this person through my writing and have since edited the final paragraph with a different point of view. Reflection is beautiful in that way because I am recognizing that my work is growing and changing and morphing and through my response I can now make something new.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

MB: This rant inspired an image, which has inspired the opening scene of a one woman show I started writing this past summer. I am hoping to have it finished and start performing it within the next year. Stay tuned! I am also in the middle of rehearsal for Execution of Justice by Emily Mann at The New School for Drama where I am getting my MFA in Acting. The play opens in two weeks and I’m hella excited to be making my New York stage debut! haha.

Who or what inspires you?

MB: New York City is definitely an inspiration everyday. I see such crazy things here, such glimpses of humanity on the street or on the subway. New Mexico inspires me. That beautiful part of the country, my history, and the history of my family fuels everything I do. All of my family and friends that live there keep me pursuing my dreams. I see what my grandparents have done with their lives in order to give their children and their grandchildren opportunities they never had and I feel so moved to continue to create and educate myself on their behalf. Their love and support keeps me going. Education inspires me. I can’t seem to read enough or watch enough or see enough. My favorite playwright is Cherríe Moraga, her essays are also incredibly inspiring. She inspires me to continue to write and ask questions about who I am and my place in the world and meditate on those questions deeply. And Vicken my muse, lol, no but really, Vicken is MORE than inspiring.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

MB: THAT THE LIFESTYLE IS SICK! And KEEP IT GOING HOMIES!

Shout out to…?

MB: To my sister Sierra who just started seventh grade and is growing up way too fast, she’s so smart and amazing and I’m so proud of her.

To my beautiful mom Mary who battles Leukemia every day but is still living to tell the tale! She is such a fighter and surviver and the best mama. I love her so much.

To my homegirls; Mimosa Twocrow one of the most creative people I know, a sick make-up artist, and ill photgrapher, get out here to NYC ASAP. And Klarissa Gallegos you too! It’s time to make your restaurant idea a reality! Much love.

To my professor Leonard who assigned our teatro class to write a rant. And introduced me to so many incredible playwrights.

To Chris Leslie who directed me in my first play when I was eight. That theatre was my refuge and I don’t know what I would have done or who I would be without it.

To Ernie Badinsky the Polish Prince. One of the most creative people I have ever known. I will now make art in celebration of the incredible life he had.

To E, with who I can’t even begin to describe all of the life gifts you’ve given me, you taught me that being an angsty teen was okay and gave me outlets for it, to name a few Johnny Cash, Modest Mouse, and Quentin Tarantino.

To P-Mu who’s going hard in Spain and doing big things! Thanks for including me in your music Pete, it means a lot.

And to my cariño Vicken. One of the smartest and most beautiful people I know. Talk about making dreams a reality! Vicken DOES IT. He never neglects his own ideas and I always see them come into fruition. From the day I heard about the LIFESTYLE as just a random topic of conversation to the day I saw him and Peter launch it in our apartment. Vicken never fails at being 100% who he is and putting 100% in everything he does. Vicken is always Vicken no matter where he is or who he’s with and that teaches me so much. He is one of the most talented artists I know and inspires me to devote more to my art everyday. Te amo.

Ghost (excerpt)

“Invite that brown friend of yours over HERE” your mother said. She couldn’t remember my name – “she doesn’t come from anybody we know”, “what’s her last name?” “Yeah I’ve never heard of them.”

My brown skin blended in with the saltillo tiles and adobe. I felt her eyes pierce through my new transparent self.

The ‘Mexican Room’ as you called it, decorated with rugs and furniture and a collection of Mexican dolls smuggled across the border like immigrants in your father’s van. I snuggle up against them and sit with them on the shelf. Together we stare aimlessly at this odd family around us, forever missing our home, they were my camouflage, my friends, foreigners just like me.

When I discovered the ‘servant button’ built into the floor under the dining room table, placed ever so conveniently for the masters foot to beep, I buzzed it repeatedly, for minutes on end, you told me to stop but my finger pressed on, I hid under the dining room table…waiting for a ghost, my ghost to enter dressed as a maid.

“Get up!” she whispers. “Fly away!”. “Fly away” she yells! I grab her hand and we fly out of the window and up into the sky, we fly over your house and onto mine. As we fly my ancestors join me from Delia and Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Mora. We laugh as we fly over Los Sangre de Cristos and Las Sandías. We are free and together, juntos at last. Our laughs get louder and our whispers get stronger, you think it’s the wind and so we keep on laughing. I wave to my mom and my grandma below…I laugh harder and harder until my laugh wakes me up…I am met with the angry yell of your father telling me to stop.

Reflection and Response.

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