Revealing Light From Darkness with Artist Mark Evans Episode #163

Aaron McHugh


Mark Evans carves into leather hides to reveal light from darkness. As a kid, he started drawing and his Archimedes moment came when a drop of blood stained his new Christmas present, a leather jacket. He pulled out his boyhood knives to scratch off the blood which revealed this discovery of a now eighteen year career. To tell his story, we drove our JoyBus to an empty dirt road and retraced his life, love and art.

Mark Evans Studio carving into leather hides to reveal the mythic (Photo @Mark Evans).

“Working in skin is a visceral experience. There’s something carnal, primal & evocative about leather that I’ve been working with for the last 18 years.” Mark Evans

The detail behind “Intrepid” revealing a mythical moment which births the still image for the etching (Photo @Mark Evans).

Mark would never say he is a photographer, “I’m an image maker”. He uses a camera to capture still images that distill down to carving into the flesh of a bull.

Mythic truths are not literal moments in their entirety. Mark hunts for resonance in his soul. Here in the JoyBus mobile podcast studio.

Zero margin, no control ALT delete, there is no eraser for carving into flesh. Stare into these images and allow this reality to land that as Mark and his team spend 300-400 hours on a piece, they cannot erase their mistakes. Every image is made on a knife’s edge.

Mark insistent on the perfect shot as he climbs a scraggly bush to capture an image of a dead tree.

The photos are the ingredients for the still necessary to create a mythic image that becomes the blueprint for every carving. Johnny Cash, Mohamed Ali, Tigers, George Washington, thoroughbred horses, polo players, foreign currency and now cowboys are all created by Mark and his team on wall size leather hides.

Zero mistakes with a surgeon’s scalpel is the aim. Mark’s largest creations take hundreds of hours to create in his London studio.

To really appreciate the full extend of Mark’s work, his Instagram account @MarkEvansArt tells the best story of his mythic pursuits of creating tangible realities of mythic truths.

Symmetrical, mythical, soulful, vivid, fierce, intimidating, transcendent (Photo @Mark Evans).

Mark believes you have to earn a shot. He shares a story about Richard Prince-a famous artist selling photos of the original Marlboro adverts as his original work. Mark believes in the necessity of being in the dirt and the muck-to work for it. After our interview, Mark spent ten days in Wyoming chasing cowboys to capture mythic moments like this shot below to serve as stills for his next big creation.

After our recording, Mark went and spent 10 days chasing cowboys in Wyoming. Capturing the perfect shots to create his next piece (Photo @Mark Evans).
Every great story has a beginning. Mark’s beginning was an image of Jimmy Hendricks on his blood stained leather jacket 18 years ago.

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