When artists use a muse in their work, our inquisitive selves take over and curiosity implores us to ask questions - who are they? What is their relationship to the artist? Are they even real? By definition, muses are said to be an artist's inspiration and a driver for their creativity through formation of an intuitive, visceral, and complex relationship.
Some of the most historic art of all time features iconic muses - such as the Mona Lisa and Frida Khalo - to more modern pieces like Kiki de Montparnasse and Georgia O'Keeffe. There have also been many famous supermodels who have posed as art models - including Kate Moss and Adriana Lima.
Our featured artist Mark Demsteader is well known for working with models as his muse including A-Listers such as actress Emma Watson and fashion model Erin ‘O Connor. The collaboration with Emma Watson came about because she was a fan of his work, and was looking to purchase a piece for her 21st birthday. She told Vogue Magazine, “I grew up in Oxford and used to walk past a gallery on my way home from school that sold his work. I would stop and look at his pieces, and try and figure out how he did them for hours. I've always followed his work.”- the exhibition raised funds for CAMFED, a pan-African movement supporting girls to go to school. Reflecting on the work, Emma said "I am thrilled with how they have come out; they are beautiful. Mark is so talented - I wish I had a fraction of his skill!”.
Mark chooses to mainly work with professional models, enjoying the fact he has no relationship to them as he feels when you know someone you portray them completely differently, the models then become the subject, rather than part of the overall painting. On working with Erin O-Connor and Emma Watson, he said, “ I was interested in trying to capture them as normal people rather than celebrities, each one was interesting to do in a different way but I was trying to capture the person behind the image.”
In our studio chat with Mark ahead of his 2020 exhibition with us, we discussed his art career journey. He told us he took life drawing classes for 15 years and credits this for his form and technique, saying “I use photos as a reference point, but never to copy from. You can get a sense of form and basic information from a photograph, but then I always take my work further than the initial image”.
Mark concentrates on the hands, face and eyes - areas that people tend to be drawn to first and are sometimes the most expressive and telling parts of a person. He paints with such care and detail, depicting the model accurately however the narrative is up to the viewer - the ethereal paintings implore the viewer to create their own narrative about the subject, setting and story. As he uses a variety of models in his work, there is really something for everyone - some of his muses have sharper features, whereas others are softer - the brunettes blend with natural tones, yet blonde muses are bright and contrasting in a room.
This April, Mark Demsteader will be returning to Hancock Gallery with his first exhibition of 2023 - the third exclusive to the gallery. 'Elysium' will include new and original work that is simultaneously show stopping and compelling in equal measure. The works include his signature head and shoulder studies, both in his well known oil paintings and his more rare charcoal drawings, with starting prices of £3,000.00.
Hancock Gallery are proud to showcase 'Elysium' a new exhibition of work by Mark Demsteader. Don't miss the opportunity to add this to your portfolio and expand your collection - in gallery and online now.
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