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Mark Grotjahn: One Artist – Two Opposite Art Forms
Mark Grotjahn’s contrasting bodies of work, the Face, and the Butterfly paintings — are two main milestones in his career until 2011 when he won a major award for his museum and gallery works. The former was distinguishable through their elaborate textures and primitive style, the point where planning met taking a leap of faith; the latter with their densely layered and nuanced monochromes. Like the artists before him, Mark Grotjahn distances himself from his influences by deconstructing the approach to how a piece of art is painted. Thus, his works are an homage to the art before and a greeting to the art that’s yet to come. Grotjahn is the recipient of the 2003 Penny Mccall Foundation Award and in 2011 he was given the amfAR’s Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against Aids.
Mark Grotjahn lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
The career of LA artist Mark Grotjahn has taken off in spectacular way over the last few years. His exceptional works but also his unconventional behavior keep surprising the art world.
MG: Let’s start from the beginning of your job as an artist: you finished your artistic education at Berkeley then opened a gallery in LA. Why didn’t you concentrate on being an artist only?
MGR: The gallery that we opened was not exactly a commercial space. At that time there were only a few galleries in LA that would give a solo show to a young artist. So, for a young artist, the only possibility would be a big group show. We thought we had a better eye than other galleries and we decided to organize straight up solo shows. We have always thought that we were artists in the first place so we created a beautiful space in which the artists could do the show and the public could see what artists were capable of doing, not just showing one or two small objects....