Mark Gabriel is an award-winning multi-media artist who began his career in the underground comics and fanzine world while bashing away at his bass guitar in punk bands at night. Mark earned his Honors Baccalaureate Degree in Illustration from Sheridan College, graduating top of his class. He continued to developed his signature style working in book and magazine illustration before a career in film widened Mark’s palette. As muralist, scenic and storyboard artist, concept illustrator and set designer, Gabriel eventually found a new voice in Production Design, honing his visual story-telling skills over two decades in film and television.
At the threshold of the desert and the sea, Mark Gabriel has tapped into the primal energy of the desert bringing an essential raw power to his art. A series of works called Marine Salvage Rights - where small scavenged pieces of driftwood become sculptural paintings of Flying Whales and Ranchera Musicians, acts as a gateway to large scale renditions of his subjects on stretched canvas and wood panels.
Painting subjects the artist describes as dreamscapes inspired by ghosts of the desert and the movements of celestial bodies, these desert and seascapes are inhabited by mythical creature mash-ups of revolutionaries and birds, ranchero cowboys, musicians and stray dogs, as well as the flying “dream whales" of which he has become known. These characters all have stories - they occupy familiar yet exotic geography - they dance, they play, they fight, they love – and they will reveal their secrets if you lean in. Look again, and again as these creatures take form and celebrate the light.
Mark paints mostly with knife. As he scrape’s and slashes the paint - one can see how essential that energy is to his work. Acrylic is also good because it’s fast. The paint goes on thick and wild, then dabs of prevision. And if paint isn’t sufficient to the story, Gabriel employs ink, or mono-print, chalk and charcoal and oil stick. Some of the work requires collage and mixing of all of the above.