Autoportraitism, oil on panel, 36″ x 60″, 2017
Boy at the Edge of the World, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″, 2018
Celestial Navigation, oil on panel, 36″ x 48″, 2017
Gathering Apples (the way she remembers it), oil on panel, 30″ x 48″, 2016
Girl at the Edge of the World, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″, 2018
Learning to Pedal a Tricycle, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″, 2016
Life and Life Again, oil on panel, 48″ x 60″, 2017
A Secret and a Locked Door, oil on panel, 36″ x 48″, 2017
The Optimist aka April Showers/May Flowers, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″, 2016
I am most attracted to works of art that are beautiful and well-crafted, and tell compelling stories. For me to feel that I have created a successful piece of art, I must achieve a balance among three aspects: strong narrative, technical mastery, and aesthetic harmony. Although I believe that a certain level of skill and creativity can elevate a work to professional excellence, I also think the piece should move the soul of the viewer. If I don’t find myself moved while creating it, I can hardly expect the same of its viewer.
About the Artist
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1979, Mark R. Pugh began creating art at a very young age. Influenced by his parents and siblings, who all expressed an affinity for drawing and art, Mark Pugh would spend hours with his sketchbooks, not only during free time but also while at school. And often, when he wasn’t drawing, he was studying the works of his favorite artists. Fantasy and illustration were early interests.
Concerned about the realities of a career in the arts, Mark Pugh decided to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and although he graduated at the top of his class, he felt a lack of passion for the field, ultimately abandoning it to explore other career options. At that same time, his cousin Jeffrey Hein, who was enjoying immense success as an artist, encouraged him to develop his own artistic skills. Newly married, Mark Pugh enrolled in the Bridge Academy of Art in Provo, Utah, and under the tutelage of Hein, Justin Taylor, Michael Workman, and others, he developed rapidly, becoming an assistant instructor after one year at the academy and, later, a full instructor at Hein Academy in Salt Lake City. Able both to teach and continue his personal work, Mark Pugh also maintained a separate job outside the art field.
Following his time teaching, Mark Pugh and his family moved in 2012 to Amarillo, Texas, to be close to family. Shortly after relocating, he was laid off because of the recession. Prompted to turn the layoff into an opportunity to focus on art full-time and create a body of work, he was approached almost immediately by several galleries, two of which he joined.
In 2014, Mark Pugh moved back to Utah, where a new job and his growing family left him unable to give as much time as he’d hoped to his art. Realizing he could not simultaneously work full-time and maintain a career as an artist, he quit his job in 2016 to focus solely on his art. At the time, he had four children and a fifth on the way.
Knowing he’d have to work hard to create a strong body of work and establish a reputation as soon as possible, Mark Pugh looked to his original passions — fantasy and illustration — for inspiration. Helped as well by his academic training, he consequently developed a style that drew from both realism and surrealism to create a dreamlike aesthetic. It was a style that brought him notice almost immediately. Within his first year as a full-time artist he was awarded first place in The Artist’s Magazine “2016 All Media Competition” for his piece Learning How to Pedal a Tricycle (see image above). A finalist in several national and international competitions, he also received an honorable mention in the “2018 ARC Salon” for Celestial Navigation (see image above).
Recognition continues to come to Mark Pugh. In addition to being featured in several art publications, he has exhibited alongside some of the field’s top talent in a number of group shows, including shows at Principle Gallery, in Alexandria, Virginia, and Blue Rain Gallery, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Mark Pugh currently is represented by Gallery Piquel, in Lambertville, New Jersey.