Mark Gmehling is a Dortmund based artist who travels around the world and creates breath taking murals everywhere possible. His philosophy is based on FTN (find out what it means further below). Find out what colour he would prefer the White House to be and lots more!
-What would you like to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
White wine please.
-Introduce yourself to us☺
Hey guys, I’m Mark, nice to meet you.
– Where does your tag name come from?
My tag name is history from a time when I didn’t want to be repsonsible for what I do. Nowadays I wouldn’t run away for what I do. To me nicknames are for kids. Next to that I write FTN (Fuck the norm) which describes my idea of creation.
-How do you define yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
I consider myself being an „artist“ maybe with a street/graffiti-background, but I wouldn’t restrict myself to the nowadays hip „streetart-drawer“ when exhibiting in galleries, because I show work meant to hang in a gallery. Even if I paint a found object for display in a gallery I wouldn’t call it streetart. In my opinion real streetart happens in the street without asking for permission. Maybe one could call my murals streetart, because they are outside, but the big ones are obviously painted with permission.
– Most street artists have an interesting background. How did it all start for you?
It started with writing, I switched from Skateboard to spraycan with a skate-friend of mine in 1988. We spontaneously bought some cans and went to the trainline and painted the first piece at highnoon, this was the day the things begun rolling. (Need to say hi to my friend Ufe here, who was my brother in crime back then)
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add another sense, what music or song would best accompany your art work?
The Beastie Boys were a big influence in my artistic work. Their music is rough and straight, polarizing and also not taking itself to serious, thats an attitude I respect and think it applies to me and my work too. I’m leaving statements that speak for itself. I’m not a big fan of „decorative“ or even abstract art that is if any impressive through handicraft. I want to see and deliver content that is relevant.
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What has inspired you to create so far?
I dont know, it just happens, when I ask myself what I would do if money wouldn’t matter I would do the same, so I stick to it.
Human life with all its absurditiy is an endless source of inspiration to me and I try to explain the world to myself by doing pictures.
-Before going to paint, what is on your check list to have with you?
mostly everything I need
-Name 3 other artists you admire and why.
Markus Lüperz: his genius cult helped me to find my way
Gerhard Richter: is so relaxed and down to earth
Blu from Italy: relevant, big and surprising
-Which city would you name as capital of Street Art and why?
Cant say, haven’t seen them all… definitely not Dortmund- haha
-What other passions do you have?
Next to my girlfriend and my art theres no more space left for „passions“.
-Which is your dream project – ignore costs, realistic thinking and all means.
Painting the white house black?!
-Does your art include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
It delivers messages and this is what art should do in my opinion, I’m a bit tired seeing decorative stuff only that has no connection or meaning to the place it is put up. Art should carry subversive and whimsical hints. I think we got enough of all this hollow „beauty“ delivered by advertising and media.
– If someone vandalises your artwork what is your reaction?
Thats how it is. Art in the streets is ephermal. The photo is a personal documentation, the piece itself is left to the democracy of the street which is good and thats what I consider advertising too- its there for being busted and commented.
If you want to know if I try to find the one repsonsible for crossing my piece to beat him up I need to say: „No I wouldn’t“. If he painted something better over it- its fine, if not he made himself a fool which is enough penalty.
– Here is the big punch question… We believe, that street art is the biggest and most widespread art movement in the history of mankind. How does it feel being part of it and in what direction do you think it will go in the future?
I hope it will not loose its connection to where it started. It begins to sell well in the „artmarket“ and a lot of people are smelling money and adjust to paint and sell stuff that sells well and is hung into rich peoples houses- like butterflies you stick with a needle to hang it onto your wall- its pervert.
I’m afraid its becoming more and more pleasing to adjust to targetgroups and will completely loose its polarizing point and rejection of the „artmarket“. Hopefully it will not end up in a drawer as an artform that once was subversive.
– If you were a world leader what would be the first 5 things you would change?
Step 5 is a big party that never ends.
Sounds good? Then fuck the norm and vote for me on my brandnew fbook artist page (which I dont need anymore because its going to be too wonderful for checking fbook). Mai Tai for everone!
– Is there a question you think is important but no one ever asked you?
Yes: Sense of life
– Do you have a message you would like to express to the world or a certain community?
Fuck the norm! (this goes out to everyone)
– Thank you very much for your time!
Creative regards from ‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.
– Thanks for featuring my work!
You can see more of Mark’s walls here.
—- Pain is temporary ——
—- Design is forever ——