Tales from the Co-op: Mike Marks

From the series:  The Mountain Moves and I Stand Still , intaglio, chine collé, and stone relief

From the series: The Mountain Moves and I Stand Still, intaglio, chine collé, and stone relief

I moved to Minnesota in 2016 from Maine. I knew about Highpoint prior to that and was excited to become part of such an active print community. After resettling my studio practice, I was awarded a 2017/2018 Jerome Emerging Printmaker Residency at Highpoint which reinvigorated my work and has given me momentum ever since. Originally from West Virginia (with some serious Wisconsin family-roots!), I first discovered printmaking while attending the Cleveland Institute of Art. Even though print wasn't my exclusive focus then, I later returned to school to receive my MFA in printmaking from the University of Delaware in 2013.

For about the last ten years, my prints have been based on representing the pace of change to places I have a deep connection to: from the mountain-top-removal occurring in West Virginia, to retreating glaciers in Alaska, to climbing mountains and standing in trout streams. I view the landscape as a reservoir of mark-making from the geological to the man-made, and I try to echo the tension between these marks in my images using a mix of both representation and abstractions. I mostly work with intaglio, collograph, and relief techniques. The physicality of making these types of plates feels reminiscent to the way history is embedded in the landscape. I try to find parallels between this and the process of accumulating a history of mark-making into a plate's surface to create a print.

I feel fortunate to have arrived at Highpoint where I have found a community of supportive co-op and staff members that continue to push printmaking as a means of expression. I'm always discovering something new within my own work being in such a positive studio environment. I've moved around a lot in the past, but it feels exceptionally good to be producing work in the co-op knowing I'll have many additional productive years to come here.