Chris Mars was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1961, the youngest of seven children. When Mars was five years old, his eldest brother, Joe, was institutionalized for Schizophrenia. Memories of the archaic institution, society's prejudgment, medical anonymity and familial shame had a profound impact on the young Mars, setting him on a life path of creative expression seeking to "...free the oppressed; to champion the persecuted, and the submissive; to liberate through revelation the actualized Self in those proposed by some to have no self at all."
Mars's work has been exhibited in museums worldwide including Halle St. Pierre (Paris), Casa Dell'Architettura/Acquario (Rome), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (CA), Laguna Art Museum (CA), Ruby Green Contemporary Art Space (TN), Grand Central Art Center (CA), Haas Fine Arts Center (WI), Art Center South Florida (Miami), Ft. Wayne Museum of Art (IN) and Louisville Visual Arts (KY), as well as American Visionary Art Museum (MD), Longview Museum of Fine Arts (TX), Museum of Fine Arts Florida State University (FL), Minnesota History Center (St. Paul), Mesa Contemporary Arts (AZ), The Tweed Museum of Art (MN), Weisman Art Museum (MN) and Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN), each of which hold Mars's work in the permanent collection.
Additionally an accomplished filmmaker, Mars' work has screened at numerous prestigious festivals worldwide including Sundance, SXSW, Jerusalem International, Denver Starz, Palm Springs Shortfest and many more.
As founding member of the seminal Minneapolis band The Replacements, Mars has also been a Grammy nominee. Subsequent to his departure from the band, Mars released four acclaimed solo albums before dedicating himself full time to visual art. Now twenty-two years after his last release, Mars is releasing another album in November of 2017. All proceeds from "Note to Self" will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland, a Minnesota-based food shelf (food bank) serving the upper Midwest.For more information about the artist and his work, please visit www.chrismarspublishing.com.
We also recently spoke to Chris about his work and the limited edition pieces he created for our 'Mad Potters Tea Party' Collection. Here's what he had to say:
How did your collaboration with The New English first come about?
"I was honoured to be invited to participate along with some colleagues I've long admired."
How would you describe your products for the ˜Mad Potters Tea Party Collection?
"The artwork you'll find on the 6" Bread Plate set...when I created the paintings reproduced here, I actually referred to them as "plates", given the shape and scale, so seeing them expressed in this set feels like a perfect union."
What inspired you to create these pieces and where did the idea for such designs come from?
"My work is continually inspired by my brother Joe who was institutionalized for schizophrenia when he was just 16 years old, and I was 5. With Joe always in my mind and heart, my work asks the viewer to look past appearances and labels to learn the true content of one's character. I learned at an early age to cherish and champion the misfits, and to challenge xenophobia at every turn."
Which is your favourite and why?
"I like the Bread Plate set; I think the marriage of the round paintings and the round plates comes quite naturally."
How does it feel to see your artwork on Fine Bone China ceramics?
"It's a fresh and fascinating way to see my art, and to have multiples available to collectors."
What sort of response have you had regarding your artwork on ceramics?
"I look forward to people discovering my work in this manner, and am looking forward to their response."
How have your supporters responded to your 'Mad Potters Tea Party' collection?
"I think those who enjoy the unusual and who seek unique limited editions will really enjoy these. I myself can't wait to see them!"
What can we expect from Chris Mars in the future?
"I have a solo exhibition at Haven Gallery in New York in December 2017, and will have work at the LA Art Show with Copro Gallery in January 2018. I actually have a new album coming this month (November 2017) and a new film coming later in 2018. You can meet up with me on Facebook, or keep up on my website www.chrismarspublishing.com"
"I'm a volunteer with Secondhand Hounds in Minneapolis, and 100% of the proceeds from my new album "Note to Self" will benefit Second Harvest Heartland, a crisis food shelf based in Minnesota and serving the upper Midwest."
'Mad Potters Tea Party'
Limited Edition Pieces by Chris Mars
Chris Mars Wye Vase (Front & Back)
Chris Mars - Durham Vase (Hand-gilt in 22kt Gold)