Mark English · Recent Works

An exhibition of paintings by Mark English, one of America's most prominent illustrators, reshapes our perceptions of Kansas City and the local countryside. English established himself shortly after graduating from college. He worked for clients such as Time magazine, Reader’s Digest, The Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Sports Illustrated, Redbook, General Motors and the Saturday Evening Post before coming to Kansas City in 1977 as an artist-in-residence at Hallmark Cards. Five years ago, English began devoting more and more time to his work as a studio artist. The pieces included in the exhibition at JCCC were completed within the past two years and reflect English's prevailing interest in Kansas City and its surrounding countryside as a subject matter.

English's rural landscapes are characterized by abstract patterns that roughly correspond to the topography and coloration of the land. Sometimes verging on total abstraction, his landscapes are generally not specific to a particular scene but rather are more associative — the result of remembered impressions gleaned from ongoing observation. His melancholy cityscapes reveal a preference for the late afternoon light — strong shadows and absence of human activity.

His career as an illustrator set new standards within the field, and his recent paintings testify to his desire to further challenge himself as an artist. "Painting is a challenge, a new goal I gave to myself to find out what I was capable of," English said. "As a painter, I paint for myself. As an illustrator, I am solving someone else's problems."  

Mark English was born in Hubbard, Texas, in 1933. He attended the University of Texas and graduated from The Art Center College in Los Angeles in 1960.

In 1967 English was named “Artist of the Year” by the Artists Guild of New York. His work was selected regularly for the Society of Illustrators annual exhibitions and he has been the most awarded individual in the history of the Society.