EAST COAST TO OLD CITY
If you peep in the windows of the old storefront at 108 East Jackson Avenue in Knoxville’s Old City you might catch a glimpse of Mark Carson English working in his studio. The space is filled with dozens of his images, some finished, some works in progress. “I work on about forty paintings at a time,” he says.
The prolific artist has over seven thousand clients who have purchased his art over the past thirty years, some of them regular collectors.
Mark grew up in Knoxville. He started painting when he was just eight years old. He never had any formal training, “It’s the only thing I was ever really good at.”, according to Mark.
When he was nineteen years old he moved to Nashville, developing a successful business and reputation up and down the East Coast from New York to Miami over the years. His paintings have been displayed in famous gallery showings. Dealers and designers seek out his work.
Mark says he can paint in seven different styles from realism to abstract expressionism. The paintings in his gallery range from pop portraits to landscapes and cityscapes. He never looks at photos but paints from his memories. “My style is all freehand. From my brain, through my eyes to my hand. I feel like the art that I create has meaning and emotion.”
After thirty years as a working artist he has reached a comfortable level of success but for him it’s not about the money. He’s honored to have people buy his work. “For me to have something hanging in someone’s home that they will tell people about, that they love, that’s more important to me than money.”
Mark paints nearly every day. “I’m so thankful, I’m so blessed to be doing what I’m doing. I want people to have my work that love it. To me paintings are like pets. You should adopt it. You should love it. You should cherish it.”
Four years ago he closed his Nashville studio and moved back to Knoxville. He has not regretted it. He’s back home with his family. Almost every month he travels to shows, galleries or delivers paintings to collectors. He finds the Knoxville airport to be much more convenient to reach most of his destinations than flying out of Nashville. Mark also enjoys the laid back vibe and much lower studio rental prices in Knoxville. His friend and fellow painter Leigh Burch rents him the Old City studio space for a fraction of what he was paying in Nashville.
Mark calls himself an East Coast artist but he’s happy to be living and working in downtown Knoxville.
If you want to stop by the gallery to see his paintings and visit you can make an appointment by calling him at 615-479-7279. You can follow him and his work on Instragram@markcarsonenglish where he has several hundred thousand followers. You can also check out his website at markcarsonenglish.com or his Facebook page, Mark Carson English Studio.