by Mel Fenson
With his vivid imagination, oil on canvas and work with bronze, Mark Martensen skillfully recreates the spirit and adventure of the Old West in his images. His colorful paintings bring cowboys, horses, covered wagons, traditionally garbed Native Americans, caballeros, roundups and rodeos to life once again. His works trigger memories of early days of the American west.
Mark Martensen has always been attracted to the traditions and lifestyle of the old west. During his childhood days in California, he liked to watch spaghetti westerns and play cowboys and Indians and he began painting pictures of cowboys and horses at an early age.
A self-taught artist, Mark’s artistic endeavors led him to produce a variety of artwork, ranging from airbrushing surfboards to painting murals on cars and trucks. After working with a wide variety subjects, he returned to his favorite one - the wild west.
Mark moved from working with pastels to painting with oils in the early 1980's. He has worked as a professional painter since 1986. His highly acclaimed works have now progressed from a photo-real style to a more painterly style that has captured the attention of many collectors in both the United States and abroad.
When Mark entered his first juried show as an unknown artist, he took both first place and honorable mention. Since that time, he has had many one man shows, participated in group shows, and received numerous art awards. His work has been represented in many galleries in the Southwest and the West, including exhibits in Scottsdale, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Park City, Utah, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and California.
In addition to his paintings, Mark is also known for his creative bronze sculptures. He received particular recognition for his bronze sculpture of two life-size firemen in full turnout gear, after fighting a fire. The sculpture was commissioned by the City of Chula Vista, California to honor all fire fighters, especially those heroes of 9/11.
Mark’s pastime interests include playing the guitar, golfing and mountain biking. He resides in San Diego, California with his wife Kerry, his daughter Shannon and son Ian.