Mark Mothersbaugh is a Conceptualist. As an undergraduate art student at Kent State University, Mothersbaugh began creating work in the late 60’s and has created tens of thousands of works to current day in various mediums including, rubber stamp designs, mail art, decals, prints, ink illustrations, oil paintings, ceramic sculptures, manipulated photographs, video, film compositions, sonic sculptures, rugs, screen savers and the list continues.
While touring with his band DEVO, it was not uncommon for Mothersbaugh to lightly “correct” or add onto the bland paintings and prints that adorned the many hundreds of otherwise unmemorable hotel rooms that he occupied for one night at a time. Using a van, bus, hotel room, airplane, or any space as his workspace, he has created over 40,000 drawings which serve as the beginning of an idea that will emerge in his larger projects.
Mothersbaugh views much of his work as experiments in “beatnik-stream of consciousness” poetry, which to him, is related to speaking in tongues; the surrendering of the intellect to the primordial, or science vs. faith.
An observer among us, Mothersbaugh writes down things that he overhears throughout the day… people at another table, a voice on the radio, pieces of verbal fabric that drift and weave and create the poetry of life, the flotsam and jetsam that swirl around us and fill our subconscious with scraps of what it is to be, according to Mothersbaugh, a “thinking ape.