Mark Martensen was born July 8, 1958. Mark Martensen has always had a simple approach to life and Art, most refer to it as the Cowboy code. As a young boy The Wild West Movies and shows were always his favorites they seemed to reinforce the same principals his Father was teaching but they were also filled with so much excitement, history and adventure that Mark has been captivated ever since. His early exposure to Western books, shows and Movies greatly influenced Mark to discover the true authentic spirit and history of the west. His paintings and sculptures are his way of sharing that passion.
As a boy, Mark’s artistic talents first developed when his grandmother gave him his first paint set. Even then, all Mark seemed to paint was cowboys and horses. In his late teens and early twenties, Mark used his artistic talent in a variety of ways ranging from airbrushing surfboards and guitars to award winning cake decoration. Soon his focus returned to what he enjoyed most as a child, cowboys, Indians and the Landscapes of the Wild West. Being self taught early on, Mark quickly developed a photo realistic style of painting working first in pastels, moving to oils in the early ’80’s. Martensen’s early oil paintings were characterized as slightly looser using soft tones and warm colors. Martensen did his first sculpture in 1995. Mark has embraced bronze sculpture as a major part of his work he believes the skills needed in sculpting have honed his sense of scale and working three dimensionally has helped him take his paintings to a new level.
“After 20 years as a professional painter you are always learning and growing but I do feel I have found a much better balance in my representation of real subjects using a confident brush in a thicker more painterly style, and a strong yet natural color pallet.”
As an early professional painter, Mark Martensen lists Olaf Wieghorst as one of his major influences in the artistic world; he was a national hero living in Marks backyard. Frederick Remington and Charles M. Russell have always been an inspiration. But over the last 20 years Mark lists James Reynolds along with Howard Terpning as his greatest influences. In one of Martensen’s very first shows called the Western Art Festival, Mark Martensen was asked to create the poster for the show that includedhis hero Olaf Wieghorst.
“I was only twenty three and I thought this is it I have made it.”
Mark has participated in many group and one-man shows since and has received numerous honors and awards. In a 2001 Whitehouse ceremony Martensen presented a bronze sculpture to President Bush in the Oval office. The bronze depicted a cowboy jumping through the noose of his own lasso, a trick called the “Texas skip” which is also the title of the piece. The next year, Mark was commissioned to produce an original monumental bronze statue as a memorial for the attacks on 9-11. The memorial proudly stands today in the city of Chula Vista California. Most recently, Mark has been the featured artist at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum, artist of the American west show and in the October 2007 issue of Western art Collector magazine. In 2008 the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia added Mark to there permanent collection. Mark is extremely proud to have his paintings included in the Booth Museum; the Booth collection reinforces the powerful legacy of the American West. The Chisholm Trail museum in Duncan Oklahoma is home to another large.
Mark Martensen has just recently been commissioned to paint the portrait of Congressman Duncan Hunter who is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The portrait will remain in the permanent collection of the capitol building in Washington, DC. Mark will be on hand at the unveiling of the portrait along with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Duncan Hunter in January, 2009.