Mark Bailey: Where Time Gets Fuzzy
Mark Bailey has the calm, serious, quiet nature of someone that only speaks when they have something intelligent or interesting to say. Which is always. He led me from room to room in his beautiful home. Every wall seems to house one of his paintings; each more masterful than the last. It was awe-inspiring. Yet, Mark paints in a tiny room at the top of this castle, on the floor. I asked him how he learned to paint like this and he told me simply, that whenever he saw someone doing something he wanted to do, he would make them teach him. As we looked out on to the lawn from the window with the diamond frame, I said, "Oh, look, you've even got gnomes out there." In his cool, unruffled voice he said, "Or, maybe they have me."
How long have you been making art?
Forever...but my present style only developed a few years ago, after having to re-learn the craft of painting subsequent to a major life change.
What part of the process gives you the most joy?
The part where time gets fuzzy and the little confusions of everyday experience resolve themselves, one after another. Like dominos falling because something is happening on the canvas.
What was the inspiration behind the historic portraits?
I wanted to sort of map out some of the personalities underneath how people consider and talk about consciousness, technology, and social change. So, I started painting these curious little portraits.
Why did you choose to paint Allen Dulles into your self portrait?
I used that particular self portrait as a way to trick myself into seeing things from a deliberately fictionalized perspective. I depicted an event that was plausible but never actually occurred as described, except in this depiction. It was an experiment in manufacturing reality. Allen Dulles perfected the manufacturing of reality, so his image is used as a device to point to the quasi real character of the painting.
Can you describe a moment in your life when your art led you somewhere unexpected.
One time I was so poor and hungry that I painted a begging sign on a stretched canvas and stood by the side of a freeway off ramp to ask passersby for food or money. The cops came right away and told me to "get out of town." I walked home, dejected. A day or two later, a friend was over and saw the sign I painted. He thought the begging sign was brilliant art, gave me something like forty bucks for it, and hung it on his wall. This was not expected.
You can find Mark this weekend at the Caffetto Arts and Craft Fair, on Sunday, August 3, 11am-6pm
He will be showing affordable odds and ends from around the studio and painting impressionistic portraits for $1/minute http://www.citypages.com/events/7th-annual-caffetto-arts-and-crafts-fair-3401237/
Mark is also hosting an avant garde open studio on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 7pm to midnight featuring his most recent paintings, photography by Lars Kommienezuspadt, video projection art, live music, and whatnot. People interested in attending this can connect with Mark via facebook or google +, or visit his website after Aug 4 when this event is 'officially' announced.
Photos & Copy created by Jennifer Sandquist