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Mark Yanowsky ArtworkMark Yanowsky Bio

Painting on found wood, with each piece having qualities of texture, decay and grain is always an organic and intuitive process. The experience is much like surfing for me. The pursuit of a beautiful line in a changing environment is exhilarating. Add to it the power of color, shape and texture and I’ll stay at it for hours.

How did this happen? Where’d I get this idea?

I think I’d have to point to the fact that my father was a mechanic his whole life and I grew up around piles of random tools, machinery and broken “projects”. I always like playing around in the garage to inspire aimless construction. They call this “assemblage” now. This background, along with a love of drawing, has led me to seek different media to make paintings.

Lately, I have been enjoying the texture and decay of fences, barn wood and oxidizing metals. The process of using the reclaimed wood involves hunting for it in the landfill or elsewhere then cleaning repeatedly until the piece can be painted on. The surface quality serves to suggest a landscape. I hope this art evokes the idea of new life and reworking the possible. From the landfill to the wall, this journey is very satisfying. The atmospheric aspect to these landscapes points to the momentary reality they represent. When we see a beautiful scene, it is in flux, it is moving and it is alive.

I have been making art my whole life, but didn’t get serious until the birth of my first son 12 years ago. I wanted to be sure as I became a father that I was living the life I really wanted, to be an example of the importance of living by one’s ideals. As a teacher for 18 years, I have tried to live by my ideals before anything else. I have always had to keep experimenting, intellectually and with materials, in order to keep the students (and myself!) moving in a positive direction.

I have lived in Santa Cruz and the larger bay area my whole life. This place defines me and how I approach the world. The ocean, in particular, has taught me a lot about impermanence and the fluidity of experience.

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