Mark Anthony, a visual artist from Durham, North Carolina, is a single mother of three children. She clarified her unique name, “Yes, my name is Mark Anthony. And yes, it’s bona fide. It’s not some eccentric stage name.” The story goes that Anthony’s dad, along with friends from a party, went to the hospital when her mom was in labor. “My dad was determined I was a going to be a boy because he had the name already picked out. Yeah, it has definitely given me some grand tales to tell.”
Anthony has lived a nomad lifestyle. “I have moved all over, finding that I’m obsessed with my hair flying in the wind and exploring new destinations,” she added. On a whim, she took off to a Caribbean Island, knowing no one. She also spent time in Culebra, Puerto Rico. Explaining the desire to move around, Anthony said, “I just go where I feel like I’m needed.”
Becoming a visual artist wasn’t a pinpoint on her career path. But the arts were always on Anthony’s radar. “After going 2 years to college, I ended up having my first daughter and took a job as a producer for a music television show.” The grueling schedule led to the realization that Anthony couldn’t split time between being a producer and a mom. “So, I chose to be Mom. I had always drawn and sketched, but nothing serious,” she added. Anthony learned to incorporate her love of music into art by painting posters of bands and selling them at shows. She grew her brand by progressing to music festivals like Memphis St. Blues, Floydfest, and Bonnaroo. “There were many times I said I was going to do something else. But every time I did, God would just throw another creative endeavor my way. It never failed. I finally started realizing that I may not be the best out there, but I am meant to keep doing it. “
Anthony specializes in large-scale, musical, and mojo art. Her creative system doesn’t involve preliminary drawings or planning. “I have never done well with planning. That can be analogous to my life as well. I find there’s an element of pure, creative flow when you just throw it on.” For her, the process is about “being a vessel and to keep creating.”
Mood and music are conveyers of how Anthony chooses a subject to paint. If the project is a mural, she researches heavily on the area, town, and community. “My first instinct is to learn about the musicians in the area or notable people who have made some kind of positive impact on the community. I try to gear it towards music first.”
Anthony studies people and turns aspects of their lives into art. “Humans are my love. I see the beauty in them they don’t see in themselves.” She recalled one of her most memorable inspirations as “this little old man who came by my booth to tell me the story of hitching a ride across the states to see the woman who had his heart.” Anthony has countless tales of musicians and other artists she has met through her art. She added, “To know them is to know myself. That inspires me.”
Always evolving, Anthony is back in school to complete a bachelor’s degree in corporate communication and marketing. “I am hoping with the skills I have obtained from being a working artist for 20-plus years and fine tuning that, with an academic degree, will help me be a more effective representative of local artists and musicians,” she said. In the future, Anthony hopes to start an organization to “help unify more creative place making in rural communities.”
For more information about Anthony, visit her at MarkAnthonyRocks.com.