[INTERVIEW] 10 Questions With Mark Wolfe of Mark Wolfe Design | Shouts & Hollers
Q: As an artist, a graphic designer, web designer, and photographer does art as work and art as hobby intersect, or do you you see them as two separate things?
A: Art and design have always been what I am about and what I choose to do every day, all the time. I employ two types of photography, commercial and fine art. The commercial side complements my graphic work and the fine art allows me to try different things through photography. I’m able to not only lay out a publication, print ad or website, but I’m also able to fill these in with my own photography and design abilities. My graphic design background helps in composing subjects and understanding the workings and theory behind my art and a means to promote, direct and utilize it in a positive way.
Q: Do you consider yourself more of a commercial artist, or as artist making art for the sake of making art?
A: Both. I believe the lines between fine art and commercial art have been dissipated by the pop art movement in the fifties and sixties with Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton and Roy Lichtenstein. Today we have Tim Biskup, Yoshito Nara, Takashi Murakami, Robert Williams and Mark Ryden. I am amazed at how many talented designers have fine art leanings and musical abilities. I believe that graphic design is an excellent form of self expression. Many graphic design campaigns are featured as modern art. Art and design are natural cousins and work well together. Art for art’s sake, as the saying goes, needs no justification. I’m just doing what I’ve always wanted to do and I’m very blessed to able to have been received so well across artistic borders and venues.
Q: What is art?
A: The concept of art has transcended traditional meanings and views. Art is no longer institutionalized or trapped in any one classification thanks to viral artists, street artists and of course lowbrow art. Art is now in disarray; Duchamp saw it that fortunately! Art is now the exploration into the subconscience and the exploration as to how our environment can sometimes surround us and overtake the individual.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: As a designer I am influenced by the early work of Milton Glaser. His work allowed me to explore the exact field I felt I wanted to be in. Later I was introduced to Neville Brody, David Carson and Paul Rand. Rand influenced my love of corporate identity and Carson gave me my love of typography. Glaser joined those two worlds perfectly. Glaser is the perfect designer. As far as photography goes I started with Steiglitz and Takashi Amano. I love newer works by Noah Kalina, Michael Williams and my friend Debbie Hill. For my fine art such as pastels and illustration no one has influenced me more than José Posada.
Q: Do you have any shows coming up?
A: I will in the spring. I’m concentrating on some commissions now. I hope to feature more work in the near future. I’m hoping to do more collaborative work with my partner and muse, Amy Williams. She always inspires me to grow more as a visual artist!
Q: How do you choose what goes into a show?
A: It’s an eclectic approach. I never limit myself that way. Usually I choose what work will best fit in the environment meant to be reflected or theme chosen as the focus of the exhibition.
Q: How was the experience of working with East End Main Street on HallowEast, and ArtMares?
A: Pleasure and pain. Seriously, a lot of work went into both. I’m very pleased how each were excepted by the public and the artists locally. Ultimately it was a testing ground for what I could do and how something like these two exhibitions, which have never been done here in Charleston, would be embraced by our population. The volunteers and supporters of East End Main Street were super human and very dedicated to making this first ever type of event work and it showed! There are certainly things I will do different next year, but as a whole I’m very proud of what we accomplished. Positive repercussions are still being felt today and so many more artists and individuals want to be part of them in 2010.
Q: Do you have anything special planned for FestivALL this year?
A: I hope it will make it. It is another photography exhibit exploring the relation of animals to people. It should be fun to see.
Q: Do you have a website?
A: Not only do I have a main website for MWD, but I also design them, remember. I am available on these sites as well:
Q: How has social media changed your business?
A: It’s been a major shot in the arm! I am such an introvert and don’t ever enter award shows as a principle so my ability for exposure has been very limited. Until now. Social networking allows me to concentrate on doing what I love and having so many more people from all over the world know what that is and show such support for it. I’m overwhelmed by online communities and the means of communication and sharing they offer. It’s the way I connect with the outside world and keep everyone up to date (and minute) with who I am and what I’m doing. There’s been nothing to compare to how social media tools have grown awareness in MWD. It’s only getting bigger. I’m currently the third highest followed person in WV on Twitter with currently 7,000 + followers and my social media sites are gaining numbers every hour! Social media is the only way any business is going to succeed now. Traditional media campaigns and print are out of style and not as influential as they once were. Stay away from social media at your own risk these days if you want to grow your business or awareness to the public at large.
Q: What’s in the future for Mark Wolfe and Mark Wolfe Design?
A: Right now things are pretty good with MWD. There is so much growing competition now from smaller shops and other sole proprietors, but I have a solid following and loyal clients. I will continue to stay low key and just under the radar as I have since I started. It’s what I like. I have an iPhone app coming out soon and I will continue to lecture and offer more classes on social networking, which has become a specialty of mine. The sky’s the limit really and I’m going to enjoy the ride.
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I was featured in an online magazine this week, http://shoutsandhollers.com/. Thanks guys!