Mark Stephenson was chosen as the La Quinta Arts Festival 2013 Poster Artist for his “Golden Cattails” nine panel piece—signifying that La Quinta Arts Festival—the #1 Fine Art Festival in the Nation—has set the Gold Standard for art festivals everywhere.
Stephenson never thought of himself as a visual artist, as writing, drama, and creative arts consumed his interests during his early years, eventually leading to a Liberal Arts education at Colorado College where he received a BA in English with an emphasis on poetry and modern American Literature.
While working towards a MA in film at the University of Texas at Austin, he discovered a love for still photography and enrolled at Brooks Institute of Photographic Arts and Sciences in Santa Barbara, receiving a second BA in Photography in 1984.
Although a photographer by profession, Mark didn’t focus on the fine art aspect until 2004. Before that, he worked for the Santa Barbara News Press as an intern from Brooks. After the internship at the newspaper, and while still at Brooks, he found his mentor in Craig Arness, a critically-acclaimed National Geographic photographer, and the adopted son of actor James Arness. After Stephenson graduated from Brooks, he joined West Light, a small stock photography company based in West Los Angeles.
During those years in agency work, he became inspired by the Orotone work of a late 19th and early 20th century photographer, Edward Sheriff Curtis. That innovative process consists of multiple layers which, after much experimenting, Stephenson has modernized and perfected.
Stephenson personally performs all the creative aspects and highly technical processes involved in his work at his self-designed home and studio that sit on six acres of pristine desert – a virtual photographer’s paradise – with a bounty of wildlife and stunning views of the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountains.
Mark’s background in poetry, Eastern philosophies, and meditation, along with his technical training in photography, have all merged to create a totally unique and elegantly simple art form. In two of his most acclaimed series, Golden Oasis and Golden Grasses, a single blade of grass or a sun lit palm frond are amazingly transformed into luminous channels of transparent golden light.
Stephenson is recognized by art aficionados as one of the most accomplished artists in the Desert, if not the entire West Coast. He has captured dozens of awards for his exceptionally specialized photographic works of art depicting the pure natural beauty of the Desert Southwest and its iconic specimens and artifacts.
To celebrate selection of his image for the La Quinta Arts Festival poster for 2013 coinciding with the #1 In the Nation Ranking, Stephenson announces his plan to make a special edition of the Golden Cattails artwork exclusively for the La Quinta Arts Festival featuring 24 karat gold leaf! The art work is an original photograph printed over 24 karat gold leaf on nine 24 x 24 inch textured, cradled wood panels that are finished with a flood of deep resin.
The laborious, many step process produces an amazing image of great golden luminosity, deep rich texture and crystal clear depth. The edition will be limited to six and the price will be $18,000 each.”