Briefly describe the work you do.
I make various formal arrangements and structures, usually site-specific, with materials I have accumulated over the years. Some of the materials include used watercolor sets, hairnets, shark teeth, and toothpaste. I work in a variety of presentation contexts including the wall, floor, ceiling, or outdoors. I also make paintings, video and do performance work. I am rather all over the place actually. I try to give my work a witty flavor.
At what point I your life did you want to become an artist?
My much older brother was an artist so I am sure my interests began with him. Later it became the typical foray into comicdom and MAD magazine as the culprit.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I grew up rather poorish, so that may have something to do with my low-scale hoarding habits. I do hate to throw away stuff! Humor and performance have always interested me. I was a theatre major in school before switching to art. I know I regard my current work as a sort of performance.
What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?
This does not apply to every work, but it is the interaction between the materials I use, the minimalist forms, and the contexts that I present the work in that contribute to the overall concept of the work. An oft-used material are the used watercolor pans and sets. I collect these from my wife who is an elementary school art teacher. The
context behind these is something that I love to play with- the fact that these items were once used in a different, more pedestrian context, and then I come along and appropriate them in some high-art context using Minimalist aesthetics. I often imagine that the same materials I am using were once used to paint a picture that is hanging on a proud parent’s refrigerator. I am always drawn to the underdog, and my own humble background gives me a sense that I want to elevate the common… whatever.
We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?
I think when you know exactly what you are going to do everyday it makes sense to get in there to make the donuts. I need soak-in time where I am just living. I wouldn’t call it waiting for inspiration though because, like I hinted, I hardly ever know what I am going to do, so I just go when I go and what gets made gets made.
What artists living or non-living influence your work?
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Willie Cole, Tom Friedman, Tony Feher and Andy Kaufman.
When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?
I read, do yoga, play with my dogs and hang out with my wife and good friends.
Mark Creegan is an artist and curator located in Jacksonville, Florida and teaches art at Florida State College. He works in various media and formats but is mostly involved in making arrangements and installations using materials such as hairnets, shark’s teeth, toothpaste, soap bubbles, and watercolor sets. Mark spent his adolescent years planning to become a writer for Mad Magazine and Saturday Night Live. In school, he spent more time drawing satirical cartoons of his teachers than studying. His main artistic influences include Monty Python and Andy Kaufman. He is known to make blanket statements about his work, but only because he is often cold.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.