Bio: The Creative Urge Blends With Teaching & Travel For Artist Mark Eanes

Malcolm Slight
Artist and art teacher Mark Eanes

The path to becoming a professional artist was both circumstantial and revelatory for Mark Eanes, an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts who lives with his wife Marija and dog Georgia in his live-work studio in Benicia’s historic Arsenal.

Mark is happiest when he’s at work in his studio getting lost in the moment.

“I love being in the studio, and I thrive on the act of doing,” says Mark.  “I love making messes, and then making sense of it; bringing order to chaos until I find that angle of repose. Until it sits there beautifully, and I say ‘there, it’s done.’ I like those moments.”

Mark was born in Indiana then moved to Virginia with his three siblings at the age of 13. When he graduated from high school, he says he was “literally aimless.” It was a generous uncle who flew him out to California and encouraged him to think about college. Without any other plan, Mark had always kept a sketchpad, so art school seemed like a fine idea.

He went on to receive an AA degree in Fine Arts from Canada College in Redwood City, a BFA from U.C. Santa Barbara in 1974, and an MFA from Mills College in 1984.

The revelatory part of his journey came after he earned his BFA and was working as a hotel clerk at Best Western in San Francisco.  He’d saved his money to travel to Europe and study the great artists. For five months he filled his sketchbooks until he had the revelation that he didn’t want to be an artist, he needed to be an artist. It was going to be his life.

In addition to his renowned work in drawing, painting and photography, Mark is a full time Associate Professor of illustration, painting and drawing at the California College of the Arts. He also enjoys guest curating, and teaching regionally at Arts Benicia, the Mendocino Art Center, and the Walnut Creek Civic Center. Mark says he’s always informed by his students, and speaks fondly of his work at the California State Summer School for the Arts where he taught teens for 12 summers, and served as the Chair of the department for three years.

For those of us exploring our inner artists, he suggests: “The creative urge can manifest in so many ways, it can manifest in how you put a salad together, or it can be a way of navigating life. But if you really want a taste of something, you have to put in the time. There’s a reason why we call the arts the disciplines.”

Categories: Art, Arts + Culture, Bio, People + Places

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