Artist Interviews 2023

Mark Acetelli  
By Julia Siedenburg

Marc Acetelli, a local Los Angeles artist that creates gorgeous abstract distorted landscape and silhouette artworks with the help of oil colors. There is a fantastical atmosphere present in his work. A world that invites you to emerge and let yourself go. Due to its calming presence, it can bring the viewer into an almost meditative state. I found his work to be very heartwarming and pleasant and was right away drawn to it when I came across it at a recent art fair. I knew there and then that I had to invite Mark to an interview so we could learn more about his motivation and the process behind his great pieces. So please enjoy, dear reader!

You are a local Los Angeles artist. How is life as an artist different in this town and would you describe the way art is perceived here in general?

There is an openness, embrace, and enthusiasm in this town for artists and creatives. It’s part of the fabric of people’s lives that intertwines in everything we do and experience.

The ‘Absence and Presence’ series was what caught my attention and my heart immediately upon seeing it. The combination between those amazing silhouettes, bursts of colors, and carefully crafted textures make these images so mysterious and inviting. What was the inspiration behind this series and what is the feeling and/or message you like to give to the people with it?

Over the years the series has taken on many incarnations, but I feel the core is about the human condition, which encompasses the fragility and vulnerability of life. All the joys and the sorrows that life brings. We are all mortal and for me, the series reminds us to live to our fullest potential and not take life for granted.

Your beautifully distorted landscape images remind me of someone looking through a fogged-up window of a car. There is still movement and life that can be felt even through the stillness. How do you choose your locations for that series?

I try to hike almost every morning before I go into the studio, so I think some of that vastness and solitude I experience makes its way into the paintings. I also spent some time in Italy with the family last summer I think that also had a big part in the new series. The architecture, the landscapes, and the deep artistic history all find a place in my work.

Most of your pieces are created with oil. What brought you to focus on using that?

For me it’s a more organic and vibrant medium, oil and crushed pigment, that’s it. The rest is up to me, it’s like being a shaman or alchemist. There’s a certain mystery to it that intrigued me. I taught myself how to use the medium. I had to relearn how to paint. What worked with acrylics didn’t necessarily transfer to oils. I did a lot of research and made tons of mistakes but through that process, I found my own style and developed my techniques. Basically trial and error.

Do you have a favorite piece or series you have created? If so, please tell us which one and why.

My latest series Passages is probably my favorite right now. I wanted to step away from the figures and create something that pushed me in a different direction. To challenge me with color, composition, and flirting with abstraction. I incorporated colors I never used before, and techniques I never tried. I wanted to make it uncomfortable for myself and lose my attachment to the end result. That process opened up a whole new way of expressing myself and expanded my visual language.

Please tell us a bit about your childhood and upbringing.

I was raised in Detroit by my Mom. My dad left us when I was very little, so my Mom and I were very close. She was a painter too, she gave me the artist’s spirit and encouragement to follow my muse. I remember she always had the radio on 24/7 and I was infused with music from an early age. I gravitated towards guitar as my primary means of expression until I discovered painting, then everything seemed to make more sense artistically. Painting gave me a sense of direction, purpose, and meaning, it frankly saved my life.

Your mother was a huge motivation for you artistically. Which artists have inspired you to create the work you do today?

I would have to say Bacon, Whistler, Rothko, Kiefer, Van Gogh, and Gagcametti, just to name a few. I also enjoy vintage black and white photography especially tin types from the mid 1800s.

Having been exposed to all different kinds of artistic fields growing up must have had a huge influence on you. Are any of them still part of your artistic process and if so, in which way?

Playing my guitar is like another form of therapy. I’ve been playing since I was twelve and I try to play every day, sometimes it’s only for a few moments, but it always feels good just to pick it up. I see colors when I play music and hear notes when I paint. It’s all tied together in some weird way. My family is the biggest part of my life, my wife and our two daughters are a constant form of inspiration that I draw from. I also enjoy photography, writing, reading, cooking, meditation, and yoga. Being an artist permeates everything that you do.

I was introduced to your work at a recent art fair. Do you enjoy having your work showcased at art shows/ fairs and would you recommend it to artists that are trying to be more successful?

I love art fairs, but I feel they are sometimes a double-edged sword. They give us great exposure and a lot of people can see your work all at once. But they can get a bit boring, and sometimes the work becomes too safe and predictable. But, nonetheless, I would recommend doing art fairs for artists, in the end, it’s all about getting the eyes on the work! You never know who may see your work, fall in love and buy it!

What are your plans for the future?

To keep showing up every day and to keep pushing myself into deeper creative waters by learning, growing, and developing my craft and artistic vision. Working on myself to be the best person I can be.

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