I have spent my life surrounded by creative people; all of whom have inspired me in one way or another. I was born in Etters, a small rural town in south central PA. Since my parents owned a farmhouse on 20 acres of land, my siblings and I grew up playing and exploring the outdoors. The wooded areas around my house were the settings for many boyhood adventures. Each of my family members uses a form of art to express themselves as well. My father, a Tool and Die maker by trade, paints portraits in oil; my mother makes reproduction porcelain baby dolls; my oldest brother who runs the family business is a photographer; my sister works in stained glass; and my other brother works in cloth and fused glass. Does this mean that one needs to be born into an artistic family to create art? It surely doesn’t hurt but I think not. I believe that hard work, perseverance, and skill are equally necessary as creative ability. As a child I was allowed to try many different forms of expression. While in high school, I enjoyed sports but fell in love with the theater and acting. I attended Mansfield State College where I majored in technical theater. I took my talents in carpentry and design that I learned from my father and created dramatic sets and lighting. Although I worked in various theatrical venues after graduation, I soon found my greatest creative expression in sculpting. I took a sculpting class in college and found that I enjoyed the process of molding and shaping various materials with my hands. I have always been inspired by the classic masters; Rodin, DiVinci, Parish. As I sculpted, I learned more and more about the human body and the fact that I could reproduce what I have learned in a new and exciting way. Over time I have managed a bronze foundry, sculpted in wood and tried a number of 2D art forms. Eager to provide for my family while creating, I started a design/build landscape company. I discovered that I could create dramatic designs with the natural elements of nature. My clients enjoyed the fruits of my labor but my heart was still in the world of traditional art. After an injury left me unable to do the grueling work of landscaping day after day, I began searching for a way to support my family and express my creativity. After many long and hard discussions with my wife, Kelly, we decided that I should pursue my love of sculpting.
Mark A. Dennis – Artist Statement “Creating an effective sculpture is a combination of many elements. My passion is the study of classical art, anatomy, and movement in space; developing the use of tools and materials, and practicing the process of sculpting which enables me to better convey my ideas. By combining these varied tools of the trade, I hope to portray the essence of a person; to capture through the face and pose the uniqueness of each individual. Only through developing one’s skills through the use of these materials can a craftsman hope to enter the realm of artist. The wonderful thing about the art field which has chosen me is that it is diverse in its purpose. I strive to tell a story with each piece. Some pieces are for beauty, some are retellings of social history, some tell of my own metamorphoses, and some are just interesting images.”
Artist Doll & Teddy Bear Convention 2012: Helen Bullard Artist Choice Award Helen Bullard Collectors Choice Award, Discover! 2004: Best in Category Professional - Peoples Choice, Discover! 2004: Best in Category Professional - Peoples Choice, Professional Doll Makers Art Guild: Best in Show 2002-2005, York Riverwalk Art Show: Blue Ribbon, Lancaster County Wood Carvers: Best in Show, Bronze on permanent installation: Elizabethtown College
Mark has been featured in a number of articles over the years in these publications: DOLLS, Doll Crafter, Doll Costuming, Contemporary Doll, Doll Reader.
- Mark has attended many major shows from the New York Toy Fair in 2002 to the IDEX show, Magnum Opus and The Dollery to the Opening of the Mad-Scuptor Sculpture Gallery in May 2012.