Born in America's heartland, Mark Wilkens' passion for nature and the environment blossomed in the sun-drenched countryside of the Iowan farmlands. His precocious gift for drawing and painting has won him the praise and encouragement of the Midwest art community. Largely self taught, Mark's days were devoted to painting and sketching the vistas of his youth.
Upon high school graduation, Mark began his creative quest to discover new forms of expression. Studies at universities in Iowa, Arizona and South Dakota culminated in a year-long apprenticeship with the renowned Native American artist, Oscar Howe. Influenced by the multicultural experiences of Oscar Howe, Wilkens traveled through Africa studying tribal arts and culture. The intensity of the tropical light, color and pattern nurtured Mark's evolving impressionistic style. This light was hard to duplicate in the Midwest, so upon returning to the states, Mark established a studio in Florida. He continued to paint, completing commissions for clients throughout the United States for the next ten years. Longing once again for the Midwest's change of seasons, in 1990 Mark chose Michigan's beautiful shoreline and natural resources upon which to make his new creative home.
"I began painting at the age of five. Encouraged and supported along the way, I continue to grow as an artist. My work is based on what I call 'combinism'. This is the combining of all the tools of the artist. The formal structural tools of color, line and form are used in a way that values the works throughout art history. Presenting the work in a somewhat raw state, reveals to the viewer the evidence or footprints of the creative process. The physical act of applying paint to a surface is as much a part of the piece as any other, including subject matter, color or the overall shape." -Mark Wilkens