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Mark is a print and identity designer with an introverted disposition and a love of the theater. Long before getting his degree in Graphic Design from Bemidji State University, he began his career in theater working behind the scenes in community theater productions. Fast-forward to the present, he’s worked for a newspaper, owned a portrait photography studio for 12 years, has collaborated as a freelance graphic artist on many projects, and has been the director of a performing arts venue for many years. In his spare time, he loves learning and experiencing with theatrical light design, serves on the board of two diffrent non-profit arts organizations, and loves spending time with his two Cocker Spaniels: Kirby and Bailey. He’s fluent in Lorem Ipsum.


From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be an artist; encouraged especially by my grandmother. I just didn’t know how to make a living at being a visual studio artist - so I decided the convergence of technology and visual art was the path for me: graphic design. A unique color palette, creative layouts, a quirky glyph, and rad typography have now become my daily, spiritual practice. I initially became a graphic designer because I wanted to create movie posters. While in high school, being part of the design team that created a poster concept for the next Steven Spielberg or James Cameron movie was so inspiring to me, it motivated me to study the graphic arts. I have spent a lot of time standing alone outside of a movie theater, gazing at the design of many movie posters. The structure of all the thematic images that make up the composition juxtaposed to the hierarchy of the billing typography intrigues me.

I have yet to create a poster for James Cameron, but... I have harbored this interest in creating posters and marketing materials for community theater. Like a good movie trailer, the poster aims to pique audience interest without answering all the questions. Fall short, and a poster doesn’t get noticed. Go too far, and a poster doesn’t leave any room for curiosity. The end goal, after all, is to drive an audience into the theater. And what better way to do that than to make people think and be intrigued by the visual representation of a piece? Creating “key art”, the visual representation of a musical or play used in marketing, is THE crucial step in the process of promoting a show.

I have been creating posters for community theater for over 15 years now - mostly for the community theater and performing arts venue in Pipestone, MN. I have learned that my job as the graphic designer is to interpret what the playwright is saying in a two-dimensional image, what the director wants to project to the audience, and how the producers want the show to be perceived. I have learned that you have seconds to grab someone’s attention. While as an artist I may want to embellish and imagineer, but as someone who has experience in advertising... I observe that simplicity can drive the message home more effectively.

This body of work is a sampling of what I have created for various community theater events, and also some titles that are on my “wish” list. This collection of posters is my portfolio of “creating identities for stories & projects of the stage” as a skycloth creative.

Artist Insight


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This portfolio is made possible by a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council with funds from the McKnight Foundation.


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