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MARK ROGERS: Portland, Oregon

I am an Oregonian, and have lived here my whole life. I was born in the Portland area, and I moved to Eugene to go to the U of O for college where I got a degree in Political Science. I played in punk bands, and worked at pizza shops for years until I started bartending. Around that time I decided to give the whole band thing up. I have always been into drawing, but when I was in my mid-twenties, I started drawing everyday with the intention of becoming a tattooer. Eventually I started painting and became completely obsessed. I suppose I found my calling.


                                                                          Exercising the demon

In what ways does your environment influence your work ? I used to live in the Eugene/Springfield area for about 15 years. Recently, my girlfriend and I moved to Portland, and it is actually startling how much more opportunities there are here for artists. I feel that where one lives radically affects their career. Also, I attend a ton of art shows and the experience of seeing paintings in real life as opposed to over the internet or in a book is immensely more educational, informative, and satisfying.

What is the best part about being an artist? Making art, using your creativity, and enjoying the process.

What is the worst? There really is no bad part about being an artist. Marketing and social media might be my least favorite part of being an artist, but it is hardly anything to complain about.

What inspires you? Folklore, the occult, UFOs, magic, fantasy novels, heavy metal, horror movies, and crazy people.



the_antidote_webHow would you describe the initial impulse to make a  new piece? It is kind of like something that I just have to do. I never have time between pieces. If I finish a painting one day, then the next day the process starts all over.

Are there some rituals you follow in your creative process and/or special tools you use for your work ? I keep a sketch book. It’s my most important tool.


How closely do you follow your original idea in the process of making a piece?  I’d say about 90%. I am a big planner.

Do you typically work on one piece at a time or have several going at once? Only one at a time, but I overlap ideas in my sketch book so I know what I am going to be working on after the current piece is finished.

How does the internet affect your work? It is a pretty nifty tool. I use reference photos from the internet, read blogs by my favorite artists, and I love reading Wikipedia.

How do you balance your personal life with your life as an artist? Barely. Between painting and all the other art related tasks, bartending part-time, and occasionally getting together with friends to see concerts, I feel like I have no down time. There is always something that needs to be done. I don’t think there really is a separation between personal life and life as an artist. Being an artist is a lifestyle.

How do you get through artist’s blocks? I don’t really get artist’s block. I draw in the mornings about 3-4 times a week at a local coffee shop, and I make sure I record my ideas every time I think of them. I am always on the lookout for new ideas. Usually I will have a list of paintings that I want to work on in the future. It hasn’t always been this way, but over the years, I think I have developed this part of my process so that it works nicely for me.



How do you deal with the disappointment when your work isn’t selling well? How do find the strength to continue? I don’t worry about that stuff because all I want to do is paint my next painting. I don’t worry about selling art, it just sort of magically happens.

What would you tell the younger you just starting out as an artist? I would tell myself to draw a ton and to stick with it.

What are your vices? Oh fuck! Chocolate, cheeseburgers, beer, coffee, wine, surfing craigslist, tequila, whiskey, watching UFO videos on youtube, heavy metal, kittens, thrift shopping. Jeez, I’m sure there are a few I am forgetting……

What kind of pets do you have? One giant cat named Lord Panther.

lord panther

What is the last wild animal you saw? A gang of 10 crows that live on my street.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                  Hawthorne Street, Portland, Oregon

I have been a bartender for years and every now and then there are nights where you are the only person in the whole bar. No patrons. It’s kind of a creepy feeling. Where is everyone? I wanted to examine that feeling a little in this painting (below). I decided to paint the bar as more of an altar to give the painting a more magical feeling, and to playfully toy with ideas about drinking and religion. It is an outdoor scene because wilderness and vulnerability are friends.
I’m not even sure what the character is selling, all I know is she is alone in the dark and waiting for someone or something to break up her slow night.

theslownight                                                                                                                    The Slow Night


Upcoming exhibitions:
Group Exhibition, “First of May” at AFRU Gallery, Portland, OR May 2014
Opens May 2nd @ 6:00 pm until June 1st
A Circus themed group show!                                                       

Solo Exhibition, “Land Unknown” at Good Gallery, Portland, OR June 2014
Opening Reception June 7th 7-10pm
2nd Thursday 6-9pm                                                                                          

Solo Exhibition “TBA” Screaming Sky Gallery, Portland, OR July 2016
Last Thursday art opening: Thursday June 30th – Sunday July 24th.                        


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  1. Enjoyed this a lot and love his work.

  2. Ellen

    These are wonderful! Particularly love “Exercising the Demon” and the two paintings underneath that. Like the sense of the magic being earth magic, it’s colors and beings created from pigments rather than computer, and looking like creatures you might see sprouting out of a stump or sharing their life with a local shaman. The inscrutable expressions on some of the beings are great. In the midst of it’s oddity and imaginative vision,your art seems feasible, a powerful quality to possess. Thank you!!!!

  3. this is the kind of art that bridges the viewer from the real to that which is mysterious and magical. irene, jay schuette and varo are others that seem to do this for me.

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