How to describe Mark Hosford’s studio....part art deco museum, part state fair side show, part exhibit hall for favorite artists (very little of his own work), part tongue-in-cheek, off the grid commentary on life....this is a fascinating and fun place. And, of course, serious work gets done here, as well. In fact, Mark prefers to come in every day, even when on study leave, because he finds too many distractions to art making at home. He uses this and another space to complete the process. In this room, idea building, brainchilding, prep drawings, computer work, and stencil making. Next, it’s on to the printing room to craft the final product. Then, back to the studio to mount and frame the work. Regardless of where he is in the chain of steps, I suspect that he never puts aside his humorous outlook, his fascination with all sorts of things. His space is filled with with oddities from estate sales, salvage shops, or from friends who may spy something somewhere far from Vanderbilt and exclaim, “Mark would love that!” I mean, how can you top a human head that dispenses tissues through the part in the hair? All this must work, though, because Mark has been a professor in the Art Department of Vandy for 12 years and is currently Acting Department Chairman. What’s more, they’ve even dared to allow bright, naive 17-year olds into his studio for freshman counseling. So far, no drop outs have been traced directly to the experience.
From the artist: (on the freshman counseling experience) “They send some of the new students to more normal professors, PhD’s and so forth. You know, regular, pristine spaces, diplomas on the wall....Those other unfortunate ones come in here, get all doe-eyed and say something like ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before’. The whole time I’m talking to them, they’re just looking around....”