Los Angeles, CA, United States
About Mark Vallen
I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1953, where I continue to live and work as professional artist. A painter and printmaker who creates images based on social observation and empathy for common people, I am a proponent of a new Social Realism for the 21st century. I favor craft, skill, beauty, draftsmanship, and profound narrative in art, and strive to create works that convey humanist concerns and a sense of the spiritual. I have been deeply influenced by the likes of Goya, the Mexican Muralists, the German Expressionists, the American Social Realist School of the 1930s and 1940s, and the Chicano Arts movement of the late 1960s. My commitment to figurative realism and universal themes of human solidarity and compassion are the perfect counterbalance to these chaotic times. In 2004 I founded the popular web log "Art for a Change," where I write about the intersection of art and politics; you can view my blog here: www.art-for-a-change.com/blog
I studied art at the prestigious Otis Parsons Art Institute of Los Angeles in 1973. However, I became disillusioned with art school and left the institution in less than a year to study on my own. I consider myself a self-taught artist.
A showing of my black and white pencil drawings on paper is currently being arranged with a gallery in Glendale, California. The exhibition is slated for September 2016. I'll post details when they are finalized, watch this page.
A few of my past exhibits:
"Mi Ciudad of Los Angeles." March 12, 2016 to April 2, 2016. Avenue 50 Studio, Highland Park, California. At this show I exhibited two of my drawings from the late 1970s LA punk scene, "Hollywood Blvd. - Punk Rules" and "Hollywood Blvd., We're Doomed," which is included in my Saatchi gallery.
"Serigrafía." Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA). Jan. 19, 2014 to April 20, 2014. My 1980 silkscreen print, "Nuclear War?!… There Goes My Career!" was included in this survey of socially conscious prints from the Chicano Arts Movement.
"Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974 - 1981." Geffen Contemporary MOCA Los Angeles. Oct. 1, 2011 through Feb. 13, 2012. My 1980 silkscreen print, "Whatever Happened to the Future!" was included in this comprehensive survey of California artists during an extraordinary period of American history.
"¡ADELANTE! Mexican-American Artists: 1960s and Beyond." Forest Lawn Museum, Glendale, California. Sept. 9, 2011 through Jan. 1, 2012. This major exhibition exploring Chicano art included two of my oil paintings, "Libros No Bombas" (Books Not Bombs), and "La Causa" (The Cause).
"Dia de los Muertos." Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, California. Sept/June 2009. I exhibited two oil paintings in this group show that featured original prints from the Mexican master print-maker, José Guadalupe Posada.
"War & Empire: The Art of Democracy." Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, California. Sept. through Nov. 2008. This group exhibit had as its theme the political situation in the United States during the run up to the 2008 presidential elections. I exhibited a black and white pencil drawing titled "No Our Children, Not Their Children."
"The Path of Resistance." Museum of Modern Art, New York. Nov. 2001 to Jan. 2002. This group exhibition of contemporary protest art tracing 40 years of socially critical and politically charged art, included several of my silkscreen prints. Organized and curated by Joshua Siegel and Susan Kismaric.