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aBout ART

That’s got to be pretty nasty medicine for a graduate of the Pratt Institute to swallow. Actually, a funny thing happened right after I graduated from Pratt Institute. I dropped by the Rolling Stone magazine offices in Manhattan to drop off my portfolio and I thought I was standing and talking with a receptionist. It was actually the deputy art director. I thought it odd that the receptionist was so eager to look at my work. She really pored over my portfolio and told me that she wished that I had been there a week earlier. I put two and two together and realized later that I had the right talent and I was talking to the right person – just at the wrong time. I wasn’t expecting an interview with Rolling Stone magazine just by walking through the door. You seem very focused. Do you think that in a lot of ways you’ve put your personal life on hold? I think of my work as my children. My mom shared a realization with me recently and said, “You know Mark, your name will live on through your work. Some people have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who carry on the name.” She said, “No matter what happens with you, your work will live on through the generations.” One painting, in particular, was a milestone in your career. Wishram Fisherman was a symbol of how one piece can really be a stepping stone to other things. I created that piece for a show at the Bonneville Power Administration called Celilo Falls: Echoes of Falling Water. The show was about the flooding of Celilo Falls during the building of The Dalles Dam in 1957. It hung in a prominent space at the BPA headquarters in Portland. Then I was invited to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, where it won an award. That piece was also integral in me being certified as a Chinook Tribal Artist. The scene was of a Wishram fisherman at Celilo Falls fishing in the traditional ways. The coloration was a Southwest palette of greens and reds and golds, but it was of a Northwest scene. So basically it carried over from the Northwest to the Southwest in theme and color. That piece really launched me into what I’m doing now. People can get very emotional when in the presence of your work. I didn’t expect the emotional impact on viewers to the point where one viewer was sobbing. I had to ask him if he was okay. The work was impacting people on a level where I didn’t expect it. I knew that my art was impacting me that way. I didn’t know that I would hit it with others on that personal of a level. What’s next? I want my work to continue to affect viewers and collectors in a profound way, worldwide. I know that the American Indian is respected by other cultures for longevity, wisdom, love for the land, and its people. My feelings on my life’s work can be summed up by a quote by Salvador Dalí: “There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.” I can’t think of a better note to end on. Thank you Mark. For more information visit Mark Shelton’s website: www.markdshelton.com

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Profile for ABOUT FACE Magazine

About Face Magazine - Issue 01  

Portland's interview Magazine - In this issue we interview China Forbes from the band Pink Martini, as well as Rachel Mara, fashion designer...

About Face Magazine - Issue 01  

Portland's interview Magazine - In this issue we interview China Forbes from the band Pink Martini, as well as Rachel Mara, fashion designer...

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