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Mark Slankard

Burger King
View an interview with Mark: https://vimeo.com/34027501

CPAC: How did you get introduced to your craft? What made you choose it as a profession?
Mark: I was studying psychology at Indiana University. As graduation approached, the qualities that originally attracted me to psychology – pondering internal states and motivations – faded and were replaced by detached empirical observation. During my last semester, I took a photography course. I was totally hooked. Creating and critiquing work made me recognize what I was missing. Instead of applying to grad school in psych as planned, I bought a darkroom, got a job at a camera store, and made photographs everyday for three years. Eventually I returned to school for visual art / photography. Now, years later, I’m still in awe of the power of a still photographic image.

CPAC: What are some things that have influenced you or your work?
Mark: I’m influenced by place in general, and critique of suburban spatiality and design in particular.

CPAC: How do you generate new ideas?
Mark: It takes time to develop a project. I look a lot – at art and the world. I think there’s also something about view from inside a car. Somehow driving has become an important part of my process.

CPAC: Why have you chosen Cuyahoga County as a place to live and work?
Mark: I was attracted to Cleveland by its size, affordability and accessibility. I was very fortunate to land a job here.

CPAC: What is your favorite place, event, or “hidden gem” in greater Cleveland?
Mark: As I’m writing, I’ve only lived here for about 2.5 years. Cleveland has so many amazing offerings that I feel I’m just beginning to scratch the surface. Ingenuity on the bridge, the West Side Market, college radio, Ray’s MBT, the topography (think the lake and the bridges over the Flats) are pretty high on my list. I love the locally owned business options here. And of course, there’s a wealth of community arts support.