I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing. I was a peculiar child, with peculiar enthusiasms. I was obsessed with maps and started drawing them when I was about five: U.S. maps, world maps, but most of all street maps of Philadelphia, where I lived. I was fascinated by the way streets related to each other, and by how grids were created. I wanted to be part of determining the urban landscape. Soon, I was attracted to house floor plans as well. And then cars. The best time I spent in school was doodling one of those three loves.
My cousin Alan, older by 13 years, started to paint in oils when he was a teenager. We had some of his paintings hanging in our house. He was completely self-taught and good. My 5th-grade teacher introduced our class to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it further broadened my artistic interests. A high school art teacher was very encouraging, and I thought why not follow in my cousin’s footsteps? But I soon became frustrated by my lack of technique and wanted to take lessons at a local summer art school. My parents wouldn’t hear of it, and I didn’t have the gumption to cross them.
I continued to draw, however, and to paint in oils and the newly popular acrylics. But it was looked at as merely a hobby. When the time came to choose a career, I veered into publishing. During college at Cornell, I initiated a student-run children’s book course, and children’s publishing seemed like a fit. I spent a large chunk of my life as an editor and a sometimes de facto art director, helping writers and illustrators develop their books and careers. With a family to support, my creative career took a backseat, and writing was regarded only as a small way of enhancing income.
About five years ago, I backed my way into doing art again when I was recruited for the board of the Broward Art Guild. I started with an acrylic diptych of 200-year-old houses in the neighborhood where I grew up. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with painting, collage, and mixed media. My ADD feeds an inability to focus on one thing too long, which may be helpful, or not. It certainly keeps life from being boring.
Most recently, I’ve revived my writing career in new ways. I write the usually biweekly “Eye on the Arts” column for the northeast Broward New Pelican newspaper. And this past year I’ve been writing a daily post on Facebook called “My Midcentury Life,” in which I draw on the birthday of a famous person, an event, or a cultural artifact and relate it to a memory of my growing-up years.
Pictured Above: Hitchcock at the Beach – Collage 36”x 24” $500
The works featured here are available for purchase directly through the Artist. The Artist makes 100% of the profit from the sale of the artwork, so this is a great time to support them while enhancing your art collection. The artist will directly pack and ship the product to you.
All works are original and signed by the artist!
For more information on these featured artworks email Marc at [email protected]
Tappin’ on the Keys to Your Heart
Collage 26” x 20” $300
Tell us more about your work:
I regard myself as an “emerging artist” or a “vagabond,” as I feel I haven’t yet developed a characteristic subject or style. The more I stop fighting my ADD and let it guide me to new things, however, the more I realize there is no rule on settling on one subject or style, although I’m secretly envious of artists around me who more or less do that. I guess I just need to stop demeaning my eclecticism and revel in it.
Collage suits me, as I incorporate photos I take and picked up bits and pieces of my own and other people’s memories. It also greatly suits my interest in storytelling. I suppose it comes partly from the same source as “My Midcentury Life,” trying to find a berth in the sweep of cultural history and express it. Since I don’t travel much, my photos are generally of local surroundings, but there is much to capture at the beach and in buildings and flora.
I spend a lot of time working out a collage in my mind before starting on it. That is perhaps one of the reasons why my actual output is periodic. Theoretically speaking, I believe my work stems from a place deep inside in which I want to try my hand at reassembling pieces of reality. The beauty is that the pieces can come from anywhere; they’re not limited to objective reality.
What is something you had to put off because of the pandemic that you have recently done or is on your list to do soon?
A couple of years ago, I started to get more serious about making money from my writing and/or art. I decided to get tough on myself and spend more time developing my work. However, with the pandemic forcing Broward Art Guild—of which I was president at the time—to close its gallery doors, I needed to put my efforts into keeping us afloat. We were fortunate that we were approached by the New Pelican to set up a virtual gallery, and I put the bulk of my time and effort into guiding the Guild through to a partial reopening. This past June, I took a series of classes offered by the Broward Cultural Division, called “Business Skills for the Modern Creator,” which was extremely worthwhile—inspirational—and helped me start back on track.
What does your art future hold for you?
I’m going to keep photographing and making more small collages of the neighborhood flora and landscapes, for two. I’d also like to start a series on small buildings. Beyond that, I’ve been thinking about doing an illustrated version of “My Midcentury Life,” but I’ll have to give that more thought. It’d be a big project. Some combination of these will be on exhibit at my Broward Art Guild guest show, August 19-25, 2023. I’ve also recently completed the manuscript for a children’s book that had been in the works for years. A couple of friends have encouraged me to try my hand at illustrating it. I don’t know. Maybe yes; maybe I’ll ask one of the many artists I admire to do it instead. The problem with that is twofold: I have a vision of how I want it to look. I don’t know whether my skill set is up for it. Yet, I don’t know whether somebody else will share the vision. Time will tell.
How do you keep motivated?
My biggest motivator is the stream of ideas that runs through my head, even more so when there are visual cues. I’m not at the point yet where I see earning income from art as a prime motivator. That could change.
Name a famous artist that inspires you and one not yet famous artist you would like the readers to know about.
Years ago, I was inspired by Joseph Cornell’s boxes and by Marcel Duchamp’s constant reinvention of his work, often incorporating “found objects.” I was particularly drawn to the different types of the irony inherent in their work. Today, I’m continuously wowed by contemporary and younger local artists, whose works I use as inspiration but try to avoid copying. I especially admire artists who draw interesting representational but not photographic versions of the human body. Rob Saunders particularly comes to mind. But I don’t have the intention to emulate his work. Likewise, I’m drawn to the magic realism of Susan McLaughlin Rosen, but I know I won’t be doing anything like that either
Is there a current or upcoming show or exhibit you want to let people know about?
The Broward Art Guild 72nd Anniversary Exhibit will be up from October 5 to November 1 at Gallery 6 of the main Broward library in downtown Fort Lauderdale. A reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 15, from 4:00 to 5:30.
What inspires you to be an artist and what inspiration can you pass on to others?
I guess my chief inspiration is catching a glimpse of the outside world or dredging up a visual or musical stimulus from my interior world and wanting to share it. Each one of us is limited—some more than others, in what we come to experience on our own, and sharing it—whether in word or image, or both— is a great way to broaden our experience. Sometimes, it’s a matter of expressing a point of view rather than a concrete object or scene.
How are you giving back to your community?
As board president and now volunteer board member/development director at Broward Art Guild, I’ve been helping promote the arts and artists in the county. I’m currently using my experience as a writer and editor to help develop stronger communications, marketing, and fundraising appeals. In addition, my column for the New Pelican promotes art and artists. I present noteworthy visual and other artists and worthwhile events at a level comprehensible to a general readership. No highfalutin critiques—just information that might help increase attendance at shows, appreciation, and sales.
Let’s end with a fun fact about you.
I’ve been known to “sing like a chipmunk when under great stress.” But don’t make a request—it has to come spontaneously. Few people know that my first artistic pursuit was music and that I learned to play the piano by ear on the instrument ever-present in my boyhood living room. I would pick out popular tunes and eventually learn harmony and accompaniment but not systematically.
Anything else you would like to include?
My partner, Jeff; my daughter, Emma (in NYC); and my son, Peter (in LA) are all appreciators and cheerleaders of my artwork. I consider my son to be the accomplished visual artist in the family, having started to draw representationally at the age of five. These days, he is an animation co-producer for The Simpsons TV show.
You can find me on Facebook as marcgave and on my mostly inactive Instagram account as marcgaveinftl.
I am constructing writing and art websites. But that’s another story.