Meet a NYFA Artist: Ed Marion
NYFA speaks with 2008 MARK Program Artist Ed Marion.
NYFA: Hi Ed, Please tell us what are you working on and what’s coming up for you.
EM: I’m working on several series of paintings – an inauguration series, a series of New York City street scenes, and some large scale acrylic portraits of “big heads” ala Chuck Close.
NYFA: When did you realize you were an artist, and how did you choose your medium?
EM: When, in grade school, I would come home and draw after I did my homework and get all this support from my parents. I chose to work in oils and acrylic paints only later in life, some 20 years after I dropped out of Cooper Union’s architecture program.
NYFA: Who or what is your biggest influence or inspiration right now?
EM: Wow, what a rich question. Rembrandt, Chuck Close, Kehinde Wiley, James Willis, and Karin Jurick.
NYFA: Do you collect anything?
EM: I collect articles on business, all the time. I’m a fan of “how to” stories of any kind, in any business or industry. I love the writing of Twyla Tharp and Steven Pressfield on creativity and Harry Beckwith on marketing.
NYFA: How do you start on a project?
EM: There are many entry points, but I’m always playing with the idea of faces and portraiture. A few years ago, I was inspired to literally change careers after watching a BBC show on the aspects of portraiture, both for the artist and the sitter. So I’m always playing with the idea of how to render the human face.
NYFA: What is an indulgence for you?
EM: Travel. Whenever my wife and I travel, which is too infrequent, I always come home with the feeling that we should have done this earlier, and always ask myself why don’t we do it more often. I’m always amazed by the ways people set up businesses and stores that are different from what I’ve seen, and I try to keep a mental rolodex of business ideas that I’ve seen from our travels. Traveling to New York City and having a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to go gallery-hopping is the best indulgence of all. I rarely ever exhaust what I wanted to see and always come away from the experience refreshed and excited to create new things.
NYFA: If you could transport yourself anywhere instantly, where would you go?
EM: Spring training with the Mets in Florida.
NYFA: What is one technology that you’d like to see developed?
EM: I’m excited by the possibility of video conferencing becoming more popular. I came up with the idea of expanding my portrait painting practice by introducing Skype video feeds into my painting. So now I offer to paint portraits of people all over the world via webcam and free Skype video software. Living in a rural environment, I can see how video software can keep me in touch with both current and new collectors.
NYFA: Is there anything that you’d like to see addressed more adequately by artists service and funding organizations? If so, how might this issue be addressed?
EM: I’m just in amazement of NYFA and what it provides. Locally, I’d like to clone NYFA and make mini-NYFAs throughout the U.S., complete with all the NYFA-like tentacles of web presence, community development and support, and nourishment of the economic and esthetic day-to-day needs of artists.
NYFA: What is your workspace like?
EM: I paint in 2 small rooms of our house. I love Stephen King’s comments on the art of creating in his excellent book, On Writing. He recounts that some of his best writing has happened in the most incommodious of spaces. What makes my studio so special is not the presence of my computer (to use for photo references) and lots of light as much as the fact as I show up there most every day to paint. That, and the streaming classic rock and Americana.
NYFA: What role has the fellowship played in your life?
EM: NYFA came into my life by inviting me into the inaugural year of the MARK Business of Art Program at a time when I was deciding whether to expand my existing law practice or to start a new career as a painter. Law and art are not natural bedfellows but business permeates both professions and the MARK Program gave me the tools to assess, find and market my art to new audiences while reinforcing my daily discipline of painting. And, oh yes, I’ve always wanted my own Dewar’s ad, but this is far better!