biography

Mark H Campbell

Born in Norfolk, VA in 1968. BFA, painting and sculpture Rollins College. MFA, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Studied classical realistic oil painting 1992-96. Started using wood and stone in compositions in 1997. Collected internationally by museums, celebrities and businesses since 2000. 


2013 assumed Executive Direcotr role of Art With Elders, a program that provides art classes to isolated frail elders. Remains an instructor and director of the Art With Elders program at LAguna Honda Hospital since 1996.


Recent solo exhibition: 111 Minna Gallery 

Its in our nature

As a kid, I was inclined to inspect things increasingly more closely and often indulged a knack for making and building, as well as a guilty itch to open things up and take them apart. Just wishing to make beautiful and desired things, indulging in hands-on investigation of interesting materials, making an occassional social commentary, documenting obscure observations, probing my subconscious, they have all at one time or another stood in for a motivating creative catalyst. 


Frankly, looking back, most of my perceived creative inspiration and rationale now seem far too manufactured, especially in light of my 2 decades instructing and learning from thousands of elder artists within the Art With Elders program.


My elder artist friends in their wisdom demonstrate that there's no good practical reason to make art. Aesthetic objects serve no rational purpose. Anyone making art with any regularity is compelled intuitively and senselessly. The drive to make art is a priori, purpose is then glazed over that initial instinct.


With that in mind, reasons can be teased out or worse wholly synthesized but at the very least I suppose I continue to hope my creations may have certain desirable effects on others. The hope persists despite any solid evidence of its likelihood. Actually I avoid imbuing much of any thematic intentions knowing full well the rough odds for any actual personal fulfillment from a satisfactorily communicated effect. 


I can say, I make art for the same reasons I medidtate. Both activities I engage in almost equal measure and result in more or less the same feelings just before, during and after. My rewards are spasms of connectedness, awe, flow, curiosity and awareness. While these sensations are by by no means garunteed during these disciplines, both meditation and creativity increase the liklihood of their occurrence, intensity and regularity. Just like with any pleasurable experience it's encouraged by degrees of refinement, routine and sacrifice. It seems likely that if my works are crafted under these circumstance, the chances of positively affecting viewers are greater. 


To me our world seems a little more broken today than at other times in my limited memory. Meaning and truth appear to often surprisingly fall victim to uncompromising faith. Reliable nurturing sources of spirituality are harder to find. Too much of humanity reflexively moves away from, or even,  remains in a state of open hostility toward our natural environment. All the while, far too many take for granted just how reliant we are on nature and how tenuous is our grip on existence. 


We are by our very nature...Nature...


I have always craved access to nature or at least to facsimilies of it when direct interaction is unavailable. it feels good to me to be physically, spiritually or cognitively close to natural elements like sun, water, metal, and stone. As A young kid, most of my day was spent immersed in the outside; building forts, surfing, meandering or biking through woods or swimming. Now I may go most of my day awkwardly separated from it, wholly within man-made materials and phenomena. 


Although this feels like an ill-fated trend inclined to self-correct, I can imagine that others, like myself, seek out and surround ourselves with objects and aesthetic phenomena that reconnect us to nature in our ever more man-made reality. I imagine there is a possibility that we might continue to move away from our natural oriogingins. In that case, is it not then possible such nature -memorializing art objects may one day manifest as revered icons with uncommon psychological  and spiritual power?