Storefront Artist Project presents The Art of Mark Martin

by Jeff

saphead Storefront Artist Project presents The Art of Mark MartinMedia Release — Storefront Artist Project continues its Comic Book and Cartoon Art exhibition series this summer with Comic and Cartoon Art Comes Alive: The Art of Mark Martin, on view July 31 – August 29, 2010 at the Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield MA. The series began in 2008 with an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Joe Staton and continued with works by Scott Hanna in 2009. This year Storefront will feature Mark Martin, an artist based in Williamsburg, MA who has worked in and out of the comics field for 24 years, creating many worlds of his own as well as writing and drawing adventures of such well-known characters as SpongeBob SquarePants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The exhibition is curated by Lawrence Klein.

As a precursor to the exhibit, the Storefront Artist Project will be hosting a special United States Postal Service stamp cancellation ceremony in honor of SAP’s Comic and Cartoon Art Comes Alive: The Art of Mark Martin. The cancel was created by Martin with his own characters and will be used by the USPS on July 16, 2010 as part of the “Sunday Funnies” 2010 Stamp Program. A series of related workshops and programs will also be offered to the community in conjunction with the exhibition. On Sunday, August 1, Martin will participate in a day of workshops at the Storefront Artist Project, 124 Fenn Street. Activities include a drawing demonstration, sketch-a-thon, and discussion on art, comics and drawing. Other events will include talks about writing, art, publishing, portfolio reviews and group workshops geared towards children. On Thursday, August 19 during Pittsfield’s downtown 3rd Thursday celebration, Storefront will bring together artists Mark Martin, Joe Staton and Scott Hanna at the Berkshire Bank tent on North Street. All programs are free and open to the public. These kid-centric, family-friendly programs are generously sponsored by Canson and Fanboy™ Papers, Bags Unlimited, Sakura Color Products of America, Berkshire Bank Foundation, Endurance Brewing Company, and the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. For more information including pre-registration contact the Storefront Artist Project at 413-442-7201 or visit .

Mark Martin has written and illustrated comics and stories for Nickelodeon Magazine, Disney Adventures Magazine, Boys Life Magazine, and many comic book publishers including Mirage Studios’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” He is currently compiling material for Focus-Challenged: The Art of Mark Martin, a career-spanning collection of his work.

Martin’s first published comic was a 1980’s cover for the fan tabloid Comics Buyers Guide, the same publication that later printed his comic “20 Nude Dancers 20,” a critically acclaimed and fan favorite strip about comics that featured no nude dancers. He also wrote and drew comics for the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and contributed to other lesser-known comics anthologies. He self-published “The Lillian Spencer Drake Catalog of Values”, an infamous parody of mail order catalogs featuring work by Martin and other cartoonists of the mini-comics genre, and created the cult favorite “Gnatrat”, a parody of both Batman and superhero comics in general. Gnatrat survived 5 incarnations before financial and legal concerns caused Martin to kill him off, as chronicled in “The Ultimate Gnatrat”, a collection of the character’s stories published by Fantagraphics circa 1987. Gnatrat rose from the dead to star in “Gnatrat: The Movie” circa 1989.

In 1990 he left his Alabama home to work for Tundra Publishing, a company founded by “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” co-creator Kevin Eastman and based in Western Massachusetts, where he helped usher many projects and co-created “Tantalizing Stories” featuring Jim Woodring’s world-renowned character “Frank” and Martin’s own somewhat-renowned “Montgomery Wart.” He also created and edited the humor anthology “Hyena” while at Tundra.

Since 1993, Martin has created and illustrated “Joker’s Wild” for Boys Life Magazine, many comics and characters for Nickelodeon Magazine, activity and puzzle pages for Disney Adventures Magazine, and one article for Cracked Magazine. He has worked on several children’s books featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, and edited the humor section of Heavy Metal Magazine. His current publications include “Teeny Weeny: The Tiniest Hot Dog in the Universe,” a collection of strips that he created for Nickelodeon Magazine, and “Around the USA,” the catalog for an online exhibition of small paintings based on the country’s 50 states. His comic strips “Marky Mark Britches” and “The Famous Mark Martin and His Incredible Car” are based on the racecar driver Mark Martin, whom he is often mistaken for.

Comic and Cartoon Art Comes Alive: The Art of Mark Martin is curated by Lawrence Klein, Chairman Emeritus and founder of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. A resident of Pittsfield, Klein founded the New York based museum in 2001. “When I founded the museum, it was a way to set an example on how people can give back to the community. Similarly, I became involved with the Storefront Artist Project to give back to the community in which I now live,” said Klein.

The Storefront Artist Project presents innovative art exhibitions and installations, provides non-traditional studio space for artists, and brings artists and art making to under-served and diverse members of the community. While contributing to the cultural landscape of the City of Pittsfield and Berkshire County, the Storefront Artist Project seeks to establish itself as a model for revitalization in any city or community.

Comic and Cartoon Art Comes Alive: The Art of Mark Martin
On View: July 31 – August 29, 2010
Opening Reception: July 31, 5-8pm

Storefront Artist Project
Contact: Julia Dixon, Acting Director
124 Fenn Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Sunday 11am – 5pm

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