Astonishing, disturbing, hilarious and unexpected, the mischievous presence of Mark Spalding is always refreshing. I met him while in the sordid little burg of Savannah Georgia, where we lived in mutual disgust. One could always count on Mark to moon passing cars at the slightest provocation, at any time of day.
Now we live in New York, where his candor is no less of a boon to a weary, sardonic soul. He moved here a couple years before me, where he acquired a fleet of strange tattoos and spent time working in the fashion industry.
Generally, I shy away from emphasizing an artist’s persona, which only feeds the weird cult-of-personality/marketing monster that so often overshadows a creator’s work. But Mark’s growing collection of indelible ink is certainly part of his ouvre, and an accurate manifestation of his style. Mark’s drawings are always spontaneous, absurd and inspired — regardless of the level of care is put into their rendering. The most casual napkin scrawl can expose the full force of his subject’s ridiculousness and vulnerability, and illuminates the cumulative disaster to which we belong — a society that is gross, desperate and ultimately adorable, despite it’s attempts to appear otherwise.
Artist-statement-speak aside, visiting Mark’s website is highly recommended. His work should provide relief/inspiration to any contrarian — a bucket of scathing laughter that leaves one with a feeling of filthy tenderness. In the end, he sees you as you see yourself: wretched, struggling, perpetually on the verge, yet determined to pluck through the muck. Look out for Mark Spalding. And do send him money for drawings!