Mark Rogers is a self-taught artist currently living in Portland, Oregon. Through his paintings he creates magical narratives by way of fantastic and surreal imagery. His solo show, “Power From Beyond” will be on display at the gallery throughout the month of March. Pony Club had the pleasure of interviewing Mark about his artistic endeavors.

How would you best describe you style of picture making?
I would describe my style as a weird mismatch of medieval Dutch,
fairytale illustration, and folk art.

What media do you work in and what attracts you to working with these set of tools?
I love oil painting, and it is my preferred media to work in!! I love it for many reasons. There is a smell associated with oil paints that I find comforting, it is a very old medium, and it seems to respond to what I am thinking and trying to achieve a lot more that other types of media. When you are working with oils it really feels like you are mixing potions and performing a magical ceremony.

What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?
I paint on wood and I use Liquin Fine Detail for my painting medium.  I use pretty inexpensive brushes and paint, and my most important tool is my sketch book. My favorite paint is raw umber. When drawing I use 2H, HB, and 2B pencils as well as black and white charcoal.

Can you share your creative process, from the initial concept to the finished product?
Here is my process:
-I work out an idea in my sketch book, and create a thumbnail drawing.
-Then, I gather reference material and make a drawing that is roughly half the size of the painting that I will be working on.
-Next, I photograph the drawing, enlarge it in the computer, and made a large poster/print out that I can use to create a charcoal transfer to get my drawing onto the wood panel I will be painting on.
-I seal the drawing on the panel with spray fix, and I prime the panel with 3 coats of clear matte medium.
-Finally, I am ready to paint. I first create an under-painting with raw umber and titanium white, and then I follow that with a few color layers and glazing. Done!

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?
I have many influences. Some of my favorite artists are Albrecht Durer, Bosch, Van Eyck, James Gurney, Boris Vallejo, Mark Ryden, Arthur Rackham and Edward Gorey. There are tons of other artists whom I admire and am always learning from. I have countless art heroes. I take my inspiration from the paranormal, folklore, fantasy fiction, conspiracy theories, dreams, mysterious happenings, you name it! I always feel inspired.

The narrative seems to play a major role in your art making process. Is the narrative conceived well before the image is fleshed out or does it happen more spontaneously?
Yeah, narratives really do play a part in my art making process. Before I got serious about painting I wrote fiction. So I think that has had an impact with my art making. The narrative is conceived loosely while I am drawing in my sketchbook. I will usually know what I am going to draw before I begin, and while creating the thumbnail sketches, the story unfolds before my eyes. By the time I start painting, I already have almost every detail planned out.

Can you give us a little back story on the inspiration for
your show “Power From Beyond”?

Sure, I decided to paint about aliens because I feel that they are the modern folklore of this age. I have totally been interested and terrified of them since I was a little kid. I am big on UFOlogy and watch all the conspiracy theory documentaries. I totally love that stuff. I actually saw a UFO in 2009. Anyway, Power From Beyond was a series of paintings based on the loose idea of an alternative fictional history where the Puritans and Pilgrims were visited by the Gray race of aliens. …Both of these peoples being “aliens” from another land invading someone else’s world. I like the idea of pairing religious people with extraterrestrials. It’s a tiny bit humorous, a little creepy, and it indulges my need to explore Ancient Astronaut theory in a practical way.

I also want to say that this isn’t just a one off show about Aliens: it is just
the beginning…

If you were able to go on a date with Neytiri from Avatar or Leeloo From the Fifth Element, who would it be and why?
Most definitely Leeloo from the Fifth Element. She seems the most artsy of the two.

Check out more of Mark’s work at www.markrogersart.com