Meet the artist: Mark Holter

Mark Holter

Mark Holter

Hometown: Minot

Where can we see your work?

My website is markholter.wixsite.com/holterart (someday I’ll have a more professional sounding website.) I’ve shown a couple of my paintings at 62 Doors here in Minot but I’m working towards showing at more places. One of my paintings is being shown at the Northwest Art Center at Minot State University for their America’s 2017 art exhibit. It was a huge honor for me to have one of my pieces selected, and I believe the event continues another week.

Do you have work for sale?

I do, but not a lot. My goal right now is to work toward having my own show. To that end, I am hoarding a lot of my work. I do plan to eventually offer prints of my works, but that’s a little down the road.

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In what media do you work?

My paintings are mostly acrylics on canvas or paper. I enjoy experimenting on different surfaces with acrylics. I also enjoy charcoal, color pencils, ink, and graphite pencil. I love trying new things. I tried working with broken glass once… just once.

How would you describe your style?

Most of my paintings could be described as abstract expressionism, but I don’t like putting a technical label on what I do. I feel labeling it takes some of the emotion out of the art and puts limits on it. I have an idea of what I want to say in a painting before I start, but that’s it. I know when I’m done because, crazy as it may sound, the painting will tell me it’s finished. I’ve tried to preconceive what a painting will look like and force it to be one thing, only to have it become something entirely different. I enjoy using various tools to apply the paint, not just brushes. I also like layering paint and then stripping it away in places, giving glimpses of the layers underneath.

Who would you say have been influences on your work?

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My serious focus on painting came a year ago at Minot State University. Micah Bloom, one of the amazing art instructors at MSU, gave me the opportunity to take an independent study in painting for my last semester. During that semester, I was introduced to the work of Gerhard Richter. His philosophy regarding his work resonated strongly with me. I’m also a fan of Agnes Martin’s minimalist works and I love the classic style of the old EC Horror Comics. Bernie Wrightson was an amazing artist in that comic genre who I’ve tried to emulate since I was probably 12 years old.

Are there particular themes you like to explore in your work?

My paintings over the past year have explored identity and its many layers. I enjoy exposing small elements that make up the overall painting throughout the history of its creation. Currently I am exploring how to better express my faith in God through my work while avoiding stereotypical iconography.

What do you most enjoy about the creative process?

I enjoy figuring out how to get someone to really study a particular piece instead of just walking by. Micah Bloom gave me a great piece of advice when I started getting serious about communicating through my art. He told me the last thing you want is for someone to walk past your art because it’s too obvious. He was completely right. I want people who look at my art to stop and find themselves drawn in by something on a subconscious level. I want my art to get someone’s attention and call them over to look closer, so to speak. I also love the opportunity art gives me to learn something new every day.

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been involved in art since I was very young, filling my desks at school with stacks and stacks of pictures instead of school work. After graduating from Minot High in 1989, I joined the US Navy. Ten years later, I found myself back in North Dakota, settling back in Minot in 2002. I spent nearly 12 years as a deputy sheriff with the Ward County Sheriff’s Department, during which I started working on my bachelor’s degree at Minot State University. I finally received my Bachelor of General Studies degree from MSU in 2016. I currently work in sales for CHS.

Over the last two years I’ve come to understand that God has a purpose for everyone. It’s my hope that through art, I can share my faith and my story about what God has done for me with others. I am actively painting and working on building my artist’s resume and body of work. I live in Minot with my extremely talented and artistic wife Jeannie (check out AJ Blocks in Minot on Facebook) and our two daughters, Grace and Jaimie.

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