If the Washington DC based street artist had a say in the matter, he would not want to be remembered forever. His countless artistic interventions in public space, however, make this an unlikely aspiration. All around the world, Jenkins’ unique, often life-size human and animal sculptures invariably provoke, attract attention and surprise the unsuspecting public.
While crafting figures from sticky tape might seem unusual, counter-intuitive and very labour intensive, placing them in nature, on the street or in spaces like cafeterias, restrooms or galleries shows them off to great effect. And once captured in clever, credible and – at the same time – jarring photo documentaries, their ephemeral character is transformed into lasting art.
Although creativity and creation has always played a major role in Jenkins‘ life, his first artistic outlet turned out to be music as part of several student bands. By sheer coincidence, he stumbled across the potential of regular sticky tape as a starting point and substrate for realistic and life-like figures. And while the love of music has never left him, the art of adhesion soon became his main passion, outlet and endeavour, flanked by no more than the essentials of human survival, i. e. food and sleep.
In the early days of taped experimentation, Jenkins would spend hours on end tweaking his technique with meticulous and painstaking persistence to refine the manufacturing process of his sculptures to perfection. By now, the process from initial vision to final work is entirely streamlined and uncomplicated – the moment Jenkins gets the first inkling of a new project idea, he already considers potential realisation pathways and strategies. And delves right into the clever, alternating process of sticking, wrapping, winding and twisting his creations into shape. Before his disruptive sculptures see the light of day respective the unsuspecting general public, however, they receive their esthetic finishing touches: individual styling with the right outfits and maybe a lick of paint. The final ingredient, i. e. the magic je ne sais quoi that turns the artist’s objects into veritable art installations: actual interactions with their chosen environment – and the reactions of people around them. Once placed in public, their message is clear: wake up and readjust your thinking!
Although Mark Jenkins has made it into the upper echelons of the international art world with numerous group and solo shows in renowned galleries around the world, his installations still manage to surprise and delight. His next major subversive outing will take place as part of the Katowice Street Art Festival where he plans to his distinctive mark on the Polish city together with several other street artists.