The men of Mark The Divide

Art, erotica, and the beauty of a naked man.

The men of Mark The Divide

Hailing from the US state of Minnesota, Mark The Divide is an artist that draws erotic images of men.

“I grew up with a very artistically-inclined family…” explains Mark, when I ask about how he got started with his drawing. “My brother and I were always drawing together growing up. It was sort of the way that we played together. As I got older, I never really stopped.”

“In some ways it’s like any other skill, you just get better with practice…” continued Mark. “But, it always felt natural to be drawing something. I studied art as a minor in college, just so I always had that outlet to create.”

“But, when I finished school, I stopped creating. I underestimated how much creating art was a part of me, and I put it aside. It wasn’t until I dated someone who really encouraged me to do what I’d always been good at, that I got into doing what I do now.”

“When I was coming out in college, it was a big act of self-demonstration to draw men erotically…” explains Mark, when I ask him about his focus on drawing men. “It was, and still is, a very powerful feeling to capture the attention of an audience by creating something and showing my perspective. It’s as if I’m saying, this is what I like. It’s a part of who I am, and I want to show you that there’s so much beauty to admire in men’s bodies and in sexuality.”

“That feeling really stuck with me…” continued Mark. “I definitely feel like I make art that’s very commercial, in the sense that my compositions are seldom too complex and my subjects are fairly pleasant to look at. But that erotic simplicity is really what makes it work so well.”

“I like to follow the nuanced ways artists can talk about gay love and sex without talking about sexuality…” responds Mark, when I ask him about his inspirations. “Artists like Felix Gonzalez-Torres and some amazing queer artists in media like Frank Ocean. What I do is different from them, but I admire the way in which they tell stories with their art.”

“I also have people in my community in Minneapolis who are making art, like Joe Sinness and Ryan Coit. What we do is different, but I admire them and seeing them build their presence in Minneapolis and beyond has inspired me to put myself out there with what I have.”

“I’d love to be doing more live models…” confirms Mark, when I ask him about his creative process. “The process with live models is different. But since I can get more work finished in a shorter time-frame, I’ve mostly stuck to photography that I’ve taken myself or found someplace else. I usually just keep my eyes peeled for photos that have the kind of composition and aesthetic that I like.”

“I have a tendency to draw a lot of beefy white men – I’m working on trying to diversify my subjects’ body types, race, and gender more. I see a lot of beautiful people of every variety, I only need to get the composition just right.”

“I find women a lot easier to draw…” admits Mark, when we start talking about technique. “Their bodies are usually curvier – there’s a certain flow to that. Men’s bodies are often more rigid with muscle – if I get it wrong I usually notice it.”

“Obviously, I draw mostly men, I feel something more personal when drawing men – that challenge is worth it to me.”

“What’s more difficult is getting the face right on someone you know well. I get very obsessive on subjects I’m very familiar with, because if you get one thing off in the face it may still look alright, but it may not look like them – if you know the person well, you’re trying to capture them as you know them.”

“I hope they feel a bit intimate with the subject or that maybe they can see what I see, like all the radiant colours in a person’s skin…” suggests Mark, when I ask about what response he’s hoping to evoke in an audience for his work. “Lust maybe, or an admiration of the simple beauty of the human body.”

“I just want the world to see what I’ve created for them.”

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