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originally published March 2008

A few years back I was looking for an artist so who I could commission to do three pieces for a production I was doing at the time. One of my cast members happened to know Mark Hearn and thus we were introduced. Of course art is always subjective, but when I saw what he had created I saw talent. As soon as we’d spoken about the work Hearn’s unassuming modesty impressed me even more. Here is a taste of what he’s been up to most recently.

How long have you been at this?
I’ve been drawing and painting since I could sit up but I didn’t really immerse myself in it until I was 31. My younger brother was killed in a work related accident that year and I found that painting was excellent therapy; it was the only thing that made me happy. Art works much better than drugs.

How did you learn?

I’m self taught but I kind of hate saying that because there is so much snobbery in the art world. People tend to dismiss you if you don’t have the initials after your name.

Why did you pick up this artistic discipline as opposed to another?
I’ve always been attracted to painting over any other art form. When I was in my twenties I was lucky enough to live in Europe for a few years and I’d spend countless hours at the National Gallery, the Tate and other galleries or museums. I was always drawn to the painting galleries and I would just wander around in awe and secretly be thinking to myself – I could do this!

What type of approach and style do you have?
I think my style is heavily influenced by art history and also what’s going on right now. There was a fabulous show at The Rooms just recently of modernist photographs from the 1930’s and 40’s that blew me away. Artists like Man Ray, Lee Miller, Cecil Beaton and others were part of the show and I found that really inspiring, so now I’m working on a series loosely based on those photos.

Where do you like to paint?
I just moved my studio to the third floor of my house which is awesome because it has massive windows with a spectacular view of the hill and the narrows. Maybe I’ll paint that sometime but I doubt it. Countless others have painted that same view and they have done way better than I ever could, I’m not really about land or seascapes.

What inspires you and where do you find that inspiration?
Everything inspires me but the realization of that inspiration can be completely different from the original inspiration, does that make any sense?

What happens when you get a concept and how does it get to the canvas?
When I do come up with a concept I get really excited about it but sometimes find it difficult to translate it because I tend to want to do everything. I find that I’m very bad at editing paintings, I believe that “more is more” and therefore a lot of my work comes out over the top. I could never be a minimalist artist.

What do you like to paint on?
I usually paint on canvas – the bigger the better. Recently I’ve found this excellent paper from France that I’ve started painting on and I’m loving it.

Who are artists that you admire?
This is one of my favorite questions! There are so many artists I respect and admire. Everyone from Caravaggio, Turner, Rembrandt, Sargent, to Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons. But I think my biggest influence is Andy Warhol. Locally I think Grant Boland and Greg Bennett are two of the most talented artists around today.

Where would you most like to see your artwork?
I love seeing my paintings in other people’s homes, they always look completely different to me when I walk into someone’s living room and I see my work on their walls. It’s a really cool feeling. But I also would love to have a painting at the AGO…who knows, maybe in the future.

Any upcoming shows or exhibitions?
I don’t have any solo shows planned for the near future but I might be taking part in some group shows which will be happening this spring. It’s a lot of work and you really have to set aside time to paint.

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August 2020
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