How did you get started and then develop your career?
Marc Anderson: As an art student in college, I got a summer job drawing caricatures at an amusement park and eventually drawing at county fairs around the Midwest. One summer a friend and I were drawing caricatures in Green Bay, Wisconsin, while the Door County Plein Air Event was going on next door. That being the first time I’d ever heard the term “plein air,” I was intrigued, to say the least. The following year, I took a plein air workshop with Mark Boedges near his studio in Vermont, and I was hooked! I began participating in every plein air event and paint out that I could.
Because I was painting basically every waking moment that I could spare, I had developed a sizable body of work in short order. While in search of a venue for these paintings, I started selling work at art fairs and festivals. Between plein air events and art fairs, I was eventually able to paint full time. As my painting skills grew, I began getting accepted into more prestigious shows and even picked up a few galleries to represent my work along the way.
How do you describe success?
When I was in college, my goal was pretty simple: do art for a living. Not a whole lot has changed since then, though the goals are a little more nuanced. Often I have to remind myself that I’ve already won. I’m painting for a living. Everything else is gravy. But then again, we’re artists specifically because we’re curious and always want to grow and learn. This requires redefining “success” on a regular basis.
Even how I would define a successful painting is constantly in flux. At a minimum, I want accurate drawing, values and color, and I want my edges and brushwork to service the intent of the painting. But beyond that, I have to ask, is it a good piece of art? Is it new and interesting? Will anyone care about this painting? How I answer those questions will vary from day to day. Artists are fickle people.
What is the best thing about being an artist?
I get to play with paint all day, every day. And that’s a career. It still blows my mind. At its core, painting is communicating ideas by putting pigment on a substrate. It’s both incredibly simple and has the potential to be infinitely complex. What fun! One day you really nail a painting; the next minute, you’re pulling your hair out because you feel like you completely forgot how to paint. This constant battle is the most engaging endeavor I’ve ever taken part in, and I love every second of it.
To see more of Marc’s work, visit: www.mandersongallery.com