We had the good fortune of connecting with Marc Dennis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marc, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Being an artist chose me rather than my choosing it. As a kid and even in high school I never believed that being an artist was a “real” career. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do as a profession after high school or if college was even the right move. I had always drawn and painted since the age of five and it just took over and the creative forces guided me. And I’ve never looked back.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I hold true to a very simple philosophy as an artist – to make paintings that “strike the eye and seduce the mind.” I take great care in preparing for a painting – spending lots of time thinking about my ideas and intentions. Art is a fifty-fifty spontaneous collaboration between artist and perceiver. After all, what is art without a viewer? In other words the making of art and the viewing of art is a two-part process – the first part is that the artist makes a work of art, which is half the equation, and the second part is the viewer, which is the other half. of the equation So, in essence I believe artists strive to not only create effective work, but to be appreciated for it. I think about my audience a lot. I don’t however make art for a particular audience in mind but I do strive to share my perspective on life in the most creatively effective means possible. Sometimes an idea for a painting comes to me in a moment of clarity while other times I may let my idea percolate for months. Artists need to be tough-skinned in order to best navigate criticism and rejection. I am fully aware there are those who will embrace and appreciate my paintings while others not so much. And such is life. Rejection is never a deterrent; in fact it’s a motivator. Making art is not easy, but what is if it’s fueled by passion? One must stay true to their game – true to their goals and objectives. So, what makes us tick? What makes me tick is how I can make sense of life’s manifestations in an image! That’s what my work is fundamentally about. I am known for my hyper-realistic paintings that celebrate the subversive potential of beauty and sexuality and explore the charged subjects of identity, pleasure and power. There are components of life I think a lot about. I’ve always been interested in transformative possibilities so I focus on merging various movements throughout the western art historical canon, with modern tropes in order to create fresh paintings rich with hype and narrative where elements of the Renaissance, Pre-Raphaelites, Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Disney intersect. In each painting are elements of both personal and public experiences.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
New York City is an intense, energized and crazy fun city. I am based in Brooklyn on the East River overlooking lower Manahttan, in a small hamlet nestled between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge called “dumbo,” which stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” an acronym evidently coined in the mid 90’s at a party in the area. My guest would mainly eat and drink at Superfine, a local restaurant in an industrial-chic open space with high ceilings and chill ambiance – and killer menu. Coffee at another local joint called Almar and morning and evening walks along the river’s edge are always a welcome respite from the city’s chaos. NYC is loaded with museums! Take your pick! Some of my favorites are the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum of Art, and The Frick! I think the Frick is my personal favorite. While in Manhattan visiting museums there are some really good places to grab a coffee, food and drink, such as Via Quadronno, Bowery Hotel, etc. I love too many to list! And often there are times when you just take a chance and it turns out to be awesome. There is nothing like the element of surprise in New York City!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shout out to my parents. They didn’t necessarily encourage me as a kid, after all they knew very little to nothing about art, but more importantly they never discouraged me. And it was super motivating as a kid to see my work when taped to the walls in our home. The bottom line is my parents appreciated my talent; and there is no greater force for a budding artist than being appreciated.
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