Artist Profile - Mark Zirpel
Mark Zirpel received a BFA from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has taught widely and exhibited regionally at such venues as Cornish College of the Arts, the Bellevue Art Museum, and the Kirkland Arts Center. He is represented locally by William Traver Gallery. His work is in the collections of Alaska Airlines, the Lutze Corporation, Microsoft, and Progressive Insurance. He is also the recipient of an artist’s residency at North Lands Creative Glass, Scotland, and a Creative Glass Center of America Fellowship, among other awards.
Mark’s work crosses media boundaries in its insistence to address meaning; his current efforts are related to the human body, its organs, function, and eventual failure. He lives and works in the Seattle area, where he runs ACME Art, a printmaking, photography, and sculpture studio that works with experimental printing techniques and sculptural fabrications.
Mark received 2010 GAP Award funding to support the creation, installation, and documentation of new work. His new body of work explores observation, measurement, and modeling of the physical world. Specifically, he will create a series of models of the solar system. His larger aim is to investigate relationships between the celestial and the terrestrial sphere.
As part of his Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Mark visited Wilson High School in Tacoma to meet with the advanced students in the glass blowing workshop headed by Patricia Davidson. He talked about the challenges he has experienced as a working studio artist and showed slides of his current work, with an emphasis on conceptualization and a mixed-media approach to making art. This was followed by a demonstration in the hot shop of some alternative ways of handling hot glass and concluded with a musical interlude in which he played a glass saxophone he created. Judging by their rapt attention, this visit proved to be a valuable addition to the students’ regular studio activity. Mark talked with the students about the development of technical skills and the role they play in self-expression, the problem of the marketplace, motivation and sustained commitment as essential components in a life dedicated to creative activity.