Mark Heine

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Mark Heine

ARC Associate Living Master TM

Canadian 21st Century Realist

Born 1961

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In 1961, Mark Heine was born into a family that was always driven by the creative. His father and mother were both applied artists and designers, operating a massive warehouse studio in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The making of art on a grand scale was around every corner.

Mark’s childhood was spent wandering through the studio, absorbing the progress and process of the monumental projects underway. It was art by the ton, measured in yards, not inches, and worked in all matter of media ... plaster, resin, concrete, fibreglass, wood, stained glass, tapestry – and, of course, paint. It’s what all the family did and does to this day ... art. Even the family vacations were spent sketching the architecture or immersed in the great galleries of the world.

The family relocated to British Columbia in the early 1970s. Mark’s father, Harry Heine, RSMA, CSMA, FCA, NWWS (1928-2004) eventually became one of Canada’s most celebrated artists, culminating with his election to the Royal Society of Marine Artists in England. He is the only Canadian to ever have achieved this status.

At age 10, Mark won the first of several national art competitions. He was awarded the BC Lieutenant-Governor’s Art Scholarship in 1979, at age 18. Four years later, he graduated with honours from the Applied Arts Program at Capilano University. Brush in hand, he established his own studio and rose, over the course of 34 years, to become one of North America’s most sought-after talents, working through agents in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver and Tokyo. Corporate commissions for the likes of Sony, Disney, Starbucks, and many others, garnered him more than 40 national and international awards. Those included a Prix Olympia bronze medal for paintings, commissioned by Canada Post, for stamps commemorating Canada’s team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. In 2009, the Postmaster of Liechtenstein a commissioned Mark to paint two original works for stamp application, commemorating the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. The commissions kept coming, and Mark’s art is now showcased on 42 postage stamps in circulation in North America and Europe.

In 2006, Mark shifted his focus to fine art. He’s had a number of successful solo shows in Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest and appeared in group shows in both North America and Europe, becoming best known for his figurative works in oil on canvas. Mark is also an enthusiastic and imaginative writer. He has always created a written narrative for each of his works, and several of his articles on painting have been published. In the process, he has learned that, at heart, he is a storyteller, and that each of his paintings is a captured moment in a larger story. Bringing one of those stories to life – to larger than life – marrying fiction to painting, is the focus of his most recent works.

Mark, his partner and creative collaborator, Lisa Leighton, and their two daughters, Sarah and Charlotte, live in beautiful Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.


Artist Statement

I am a storyteller. My art is the expression of a carefully chosen moment, captured from a larger narrative. This story is constantly playing, moving forward and changing, as each painting alters the course of the narrative, igniting my imagination for the next. The road is never a straight line.

I believe that artistic growth is directly bound to the challenge we undertake. The larger the risk, the greater the reward.

How winding the creative road is will depend on how far from a straight line you’re willing to push yourself. For me, the story is what I use to navigate that road – stories rooted in both my imagination and my experience. They give me a reason to paint a concept. They give the painting a reason to exist beyond the surface visual. Sometimes the journey is loud, long and nerve wracking. Sometimes it’s short and quiet. Even tranquil.

My writing has evolved, from simple anecdotes of my life, into the driving force of my creative process and how I connect to my subconscious. Using the anonymity of the story, I can explore and express my own joys and nightmares, pushing the edge of my comfort zone. It's the creative licence that allows me to diverge from reality and present a surreal vision. It also gives me the freedom to explore darker themes. The more I dip below the surface, the more I discover in myself. It’s an endless source of inspiration, because each visit opens a door to the next.

The human form is, in my opinion, the most difficult and most complex challenge for an artist. Underpinning that challenge, are the technical considerations that face every artist. But the overlay, for me, is the most interesting aspect. And that comes from the nature of human interaction.

As humans, we have developed acutely tuned conscious and subconscious sensitivities to body language, posture, expression and situation. How we interact with each other is crucial to survival and is at the core of all culture. I call this the "Social Aspect". These "Social Aspect" instincts vary from person to person, depending on his or her experiences, upbringing, religious beliefs, personal joys and pain. This diversity creates a reaction as personally distinct as a strand of DNA. I see this "Social Aspect" complexity as an unlimited, mysterious resource for reaching deeper and connecting with my emotions and those of my audience. With figurative painting in particular, because it is "us", these connections are critical if the work is to resonate.

But they are not all. It is the artist’s job, through whatever kind of art that may be, to tell the truth as he or she knows it. Each painting is a new experiment in exploring the bottomless complexity of "us". I strive to create an unobstructed vision and a clear, unpretentious communication of my thinking through my realistic technique. I have found that bending and breaking traditional rules in terms of content, composition and viewpoint has given my work a distinctly rebellious, individualistic spirit. It takes us all to the edge of comfort, but that’s integral in setting the imagination free.

There are those who say that originality is dead. That all is derivative. I disagree. I think that originality is everywhere, albeit in widely varying degrees. I believe that my art is original. Certainly I have had influences, as has every artist. In particular, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer and Rembrandt, through Degas, Monet, Rodin, Sargent, Parrish, N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth to Robert Heindel, Bob Peak, Brian Johnson, my father Harry Heine, and my friend Brent Lynch. All have provided me with some tool or inspiration, but in the end, my way is my own.

So this is where I am. The paintings I have done and the stories I have told are where I have been. The interesting thing, from my point of view, is where I’m going. And that’s the story yet to be told. That’s my mission.

2017   Finalists, " "Salvation," and "Imminent Study" 12th International ARC Salon for 2017

2017   Finalist, "Idiosyncratic Monochromes," feature competition, PA Magazine

2011   Award of Excellence, Federation of Canadian Artists (Vancouver, BC)

2010   First place, American Art Awards (Los Angeles, Ca, USA)

2010   Second place, American Art Awards (Los Angeles, Ca, USA)

2010   Best Painting, Sooke Fine Art Show (Sooke, BC)

2009   Bronze Medal, Prix Olympia 2009, Olympic Organizing Committee (Copenhagen, Denmark)

2009   Finalist, The Artist's Magazine, competition (USA)

2008   Finalist, International Artist Magazine, feature competition (USA)

2008   Finalist, The Artist Network, competition (USA)

2000   Silver Medal, Summit Creative Awards (Portland, OR)

1999   Best of Show, GDC (Victoria, BC, Canada)

1999   Award of Merit, GDC (Victoria, BC, Canada)

1999   Lotus Award, N.A.B.S. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

1999   Award of Merit, N.A.B.S. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

1999   Award of Merit, Applied Arts Magazine (Toronto, On, Canada)

1997   Award of Merit, GDC (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

1996   Award of Merit, GDC (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

1994   Award of Merit, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1993   Lotus Award, N.A.B.S. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

1993   Award of Merit, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1993   Award of Merit, Studio Magazine (Toronto, On, Canada)

1993   Award of Merit, Applied Arts Magazine (Toronto, On, Canada)

1993   Award of Merit, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1991   Award of Excellence, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1991   Award of Distinction, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1991   Bronze Medal, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1991   2 Awards of Merit, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1990   8 Awards of Merit, CAPIC National Annual Show (Toronto, On, Canada)

1989   3 First Place awards, ATPA Adwheel Competition (Atlanta, Ga, USA )

1987   Award of Excellence, GDC (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

1985   Award of Merit, Studio Magazine, Creative Decade (Toronto, On, Canada)

1979   College scholarship, BC Lieutenant-Governor’s Art Scholarship (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Peninsula Gallery, Sidney BC Canada