If you’ve been to Jackson’s Pearl Street Post Office, you know these flowers. You may have also seen them at various other front desks, shops and venues around town. These glowing, hot-colored assemblages feel beamed down, a gift from friendly aliens.
The artist, Mark Sunday, is a Jackson local. I will give Sunday a label: Outsider Artist. He’s not represented by a gallery, his work is scattered about town and, unless you ask, anonymous. Sunday enjoys giving good folks one of his stylized flowers. With the right karma, Sunday’s whimsical flowers and his other work— intricate, imagery-rich sculptural assemblages—will be available in more venues.
His work is all the more remarkable because Sunday has Stargardt’s Disease, a form of macular degeneration; he suggested I title this post “Impaired Vision.” It’s a great title, and Sunday is given to self-mocking humor, but I’d not sleep well referring to Mark Sunday that way. He is, however, legally blind.
Sunday commenced making his flowers several years ago; their bright, metallic colors immediately caught people’s attention. Though Sunday’s shining petals can fool the eye, appearing to be blown glass, they’re actually made from discarded cds. Red, orange, yellow, purples, blues and greens—Sunday uses sturdy automotive paints in his work.
“People can paint their shiny hubcaps with this stuff, it gives the sculptures an anodized look,” says Sunday. A former Park City, Utah resident, Sunday collected discarded Sundance Film Festival cds. So much film fest booty was too cool to toss away—sample software, chapstick, sunscreen, little metal film boxes were found treasure. Sunday started playing around, and the flowers took shape.
“My central vision is pretty much wiped out,” says Sunday. “So when I started trying to draw from photographs, as I’d done when I was younger, it wasn’t the same. Everything was distorted. Some artists might think having lines you meant to be straight come out wavy would be cool; but I don’t agree.”
Gallery friends asked to see his mining photographs, and told Sunday that, despite his vision issue, his artistic eye was exceptionally good. Special matting and shadow boxes and the addition of related small objects to the frame snazzed up the photos. Walking them down the street, Sunday was approached by people asking to buy the shots. Framers told Sunday that customers had signed a waiting list to purchase his images. Sunday began making and selling cards using the same images; they sold, and to some pretty famous film industry players.
In 2006, with a daughter in Idaho, Sunday moved up to Jackson. He works at various short-term jobs, hikes, bikes and creates his cd flowers, assemblage clocks and wall sculptures. Made from classic, period bicycle seats, antlers, buttons, watch mechanisms, lenses, pennies, and a variety of other found objects, many are reminiscent of Picasso’s bull sculptures. Recently Sunday landed a New York /Jackson Hole patron, and sold a big batch of flower art. She loves Sunday’s flowers so much, he could soon be filling a few NYC shops with his work.
Simple materials mixed with a charming idea, unlocking human emotions in a positive way—that’s a formula for success.
To contact Mark Sunday, email [email protected]
Monday, October 15th, 6-9:00 pm, the Jackson Hole Art Association’s YARD ART Open House takes place at Jackson’s Center for the Arts. Anyone interested in YARD’s program, specifically designed for young students looking to get a jump start in learning to create, is welcome. Painting, photography, glass, metal working, video and screenprinting–maybe more!–will all be represented. Free, open to all! www.artassociation.org