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Contemporary artist USA - Mark Kostabi Mark Kostabi

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"One secret to my success is that I am faithful to my dreams and don’t cheat on my dreams by taking drugs or blaming others when things don’t go right."
Mark Kostabi

american painter Interview with American Artist Mark Kostabi

Mark Kostabi interview

Mark Kostabi Interview - March 2004

1 ::: Why are you an artist Mark?

I’m an artist because that’s what I was best at as a kid. It was fun. I got lot’s of encouragement from my parents, friends and teachers. I continue to be an artist for similar reasons and for the freedom that an art career can bring. I don’t need an alarm clock and I am my own boss.

+2 ::: Could you tell me some more about your art?

My art is successful for many reasons: The subject matter communicates. People like the combination of the recognizable narratives with the mystery of the faceless figures. The forms are well defined by decisive lines, chiaroscuro and seductive sfumato. The colors are logically chosen.

+3 ::: Many of the great masters from art history had assistants painting for them, but today people seem to have a lesser view on artists that do this. You have a team of painters working for you, could you share your views on this?

The lesser view of this is mostly held by the art historically uninformed.

+4 ::: What artists have influenced you and why?

The list is too long but a few of the majors are: Caravaggio, De Chirico, Hopper, Picasso and Warhol. The reasons why they’ve influenced my are too complex for me to investigate at the moment.

+5 ::: What do you do for fun (besides art)?

Enjoy my life in Italy: the people, the food, the architecture and nature. I recently went hiking and hope to do that more. Also movies.

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

I’m inspired by seeing great art. Observing human behaviour. Things don’t get tough in the studio. Sometimes things get tough outside the studio and going in the studio is a relief, a sanctuary, therapy.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

This can best be understood by reading my advice column at

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I really can’t imagine a better place than Italy, but you never know. In my art career I hope to have had many major museum shows by then, with many beautiful art books well distributed throughout the world. I’d like the name Kostabi to carry at least the same weight as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Picasso.

+9 ::: You seem to be quite good at marketing and promoting yourself as an artist. Are there some things you would do differently if you had the choice? Also, what are some of your secrets to success?

I moved to New York in January 1982 when I was 21 years old. Had I known the importance of New York earlier, I would have gone there sooner. One secret to my success is that I am faithful to my dreams and don’t cheat on my dreams by taking drugs or blaming others when things don’t go right. There’s too much negativity in the world. Staying positive is a better investment.

+10 ::: What are your latest works about and where are you going with them?

I’m not sure what they’re about but I’m convinced they’re the best things I’ve done and I’m going to the world’s best museums with them.

+11 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Do what you love. Go to a good art school and study with the best teachers. Move to New York and read "Ask Mark Kostabi"

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