Marc Landes: Cityscape

I recently went to visit Marc Landes at his Studio in the Hive in Downtown Oakland. You can see Marc’s work at THE LIVING CITY2 at Manifesto Bicycles Gallery August 22.

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Obi: How long have you been an Oakland artist and what is left on your agenda for 2009?

Marc: I’ve been in Oakland about 2 years now. Well, for the rest of the 2009 I plan on getting in as much studio time as possible (2 children at home 3.5 & 4months, enough said!) to produce a new series of “Cityscape” photoworks and continue building my body of paintings. I also have this amazing pinhole camera that I would love to make some work with. I would like to start showing more work by the end of this year and into 2010.

Obi: Where do your paintings come from?

Marc: My paintings are inspired from my time of living in New York City (3yrs.). I found it to be a truly dynamic city full of disgust yet full of wonder at the same time. I was fascinated by living in this grid like environment, from the endless blocks to the rectangular skyscrapers that would seem to engulf me as a roamed from place to place. From the sounds to the colors to the smells, it all added to the ambiance. I started making these fairly quick expressionistic contour drawings to capture the moment and environment, soon after I started translating these drawings to the canvas and adding idiosyncratic color schemes. While I don’t live in New York any longer I’ve been working from the drawings and photographs that I have made on my visits.

Obi: Describe your process with the film negatives on the bottom of your shoes.

Marc: This particular work emanates from the notion of challenging mechanized photography and what photography is “supposed” to look like. The overall goal here is to create an image that looks beyond visible realities thus forming an aura and understanding that exists somewhere between the viewer and the work. These camera less images are therefore created by taking developed film (35mm or 120mm) and adhering pieces of them to the surface of my shoes. From this point I begin my journey down a variety of city streets recording different marks onto the surface of the negative with every step. Whether it be on concrete, a dirt path, a dry day or a rainy day for 30 seconds or for 3 minutes what is created, I feel, is a humanizing visual “truth” of a urban cityscape. What I love about this process is the spirit of discovery where chance and the unknown are involved to give birth to a different way of seeing.


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  • Moises Aragon

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