As you walk into the Te Paske Art Gallery here on Northwestern’s campus anytime between now and Nov. 1, you may think you have landed in a “Where’s Waldo?” book. This state of mind is not by mistake.
Mark Kochen, the featured artist in the gallery, gives credit to Martin Hanford, the creator of “Where’s Waldo?” as one of the inspirations for his artwork.
“I have always been drawn to the kind of material where you can look at it a million times and always find something new,” Kochen said.
When looking at Kochen’s artwork, it is clear that he embraces a graphic style. Although, he does enjoy exploring and playing with other styles at times.
“Everything I do belongs together in its own space, so yeah, it’s all done in a unified aesthetic.”
Kochen views his artwork as a giant puzzle where each painting he creates is a small piece of that puzzle. When it comes to creating art, Kochen’s inspiration is to create beautiful, fun and enjoyable work.
The artwork featured in Kochen’s exhibit is intricate and complex which explains why Kochen has put so much time and energy into his pieces.
“I work endlessly on art. One painting ends and another seamlessly begins,” he said.
Kochen shared that he struggles with time management when it comes to being an artist. He is always trying to find a balance between creating art and his life apart from that.
“The clock seems to move faster when I’m painting, so there’s never enough time in the day to get it all done,” Kochen said.
Kochen has known since he was young that he wanted to be an artist. The decision to study and create art came naturally and Kochen felt as if he didn’t really have a choice as to what he would be when he grew up. He even wrote about growing up and being an artist in a book he made for a school assignment when he was nine.
“In it I wrote, ‘I want to be an artist or a paleontologist, and if I pick artist, I’m going to paint dinosaurs.’”
Although Kochen focuses on creating paintings, he also enjoys creating sculptures.
“I love building things,” he said. “If I can pull away from painting, I build sculptures.”
Kochen even has ideas and prototypes for public sculptures if he can find people to fund them.
Kochen graduated from Iowa State University. He knows what it is like to be an art student in college. Amidst the joys and struggles of studying and creating art, Kochen has some words of encouragement and advice for art students at NW.
“Narrow the focus of your creative output,” he said. “I advise you to pick a theme, pick an aesthetic, subject matter or whatever. Define parameters and work as hard as you can to explore every facet of it.”
There is still plenty of time to go and explore Kochen’s paintings in the Te Paske Art Gallery located in the Korver Visual Arts Center.
The exhibit will be up until Nov. 1. For more information about Mark Kochen and his artwork, please visit www.markkochen.com.