Today we have the privilege of looking inside of Australian-born fine artist Mark Whalen’s (better known for his pseudonym Kill Pixie) studio space located in Los Angeles, California. He is best known for his elaborate puzzle and labyrinth compositions that seem to capture the bizarre nature of the human experience and compress it into tightly woven narratives that reflect the artists everyday experiences. His glossy resin-covered paintings are glimpses into meticulously crafted fantasy worlds filled with squirming characters, bold color schemes, and continuous geometric patterns. Whalen was featured here on Hi-Fructose last October for his solo show entitled Portals at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles.
Read the full interview below!
What is your studio space like?
My studio is in my house.
Have you always kept a sketchbook?
I don’t really sketch that much but I would like to start making graphite drawings that are similar to the paintings. I do keep a small note book though, I have so many of them. I usually burn through a bunch of them while creating a series of paintings.
Why is it important for you to keep a sketchbook?
It just helps me archive my ideas and thoughts, I tend to forget certain things sometimes so every time I have an idea I write it down. Whether it be a quick shitty thumbnail or a written sentence. It’s basically just in there to jot my memory, its works for me because I can revisit everything and figure out what path to take.
Do you often sketch out ideas before working them into finished pieces?
I don’t sketch a finished piece, I figure out the narrative and will sketch that out on tracing paper then add it into my painting. A lot of the elements in my paintings are all drawn out separately which I then piece together later.
What collections or inspirations do you surround yourself with in your studio?
I really love succulents, there’s so many all around the place. They make me feel really relaxed all the time. Some paintings I’ve collected over the years from various artist’s. Some of my favorites that I have up are Cleon Peterson, Jay Howell, Megan Whitmarsh & Jasper knight. Oh yeah and I have my new little pup named Leon, he roams around the place. He’s a miniature bull Terrier.
Do work in your studio every day?
Yep, I’m in here all day everyday. I pretty much don’t leave the place. Ha! Unless there’s a ball game on.
Once in the studio do you have any habits or rituals that get your creativity flowing?
I get up pretty early at around 7, I like to go for a walk and get coffee. Surf the net for a while. I usually check skateboarding and Nba websites to see what’s happening. Once I have all that over the I paint.
Could you share a little about the process of putting together an exhibition?
I usually spend about 6 months of an opening. I do about two openings a year. Process -. I paint one piece at a time and finish it as close as I can get it. I usually jump back into all the paintings towards the completed series and add various things. When I make the painting I lay down the backgrounds and perspective first, the line work/patterns etc. Once this is in there I draw every element separately on tracing paper and add them to the painting as I go. This lets me play with the composition of everything in a more spontaneous approach which I really like to do.When it’s done I resin the painting.
What are some good tips and habits about working in an art studio that you can share with our readers?
Discipline, creating work in the studio is a lot of hours and a lot of work so you need to be committed.