Marc Yankus Calls It Sleep Interview

New York based photographer Marc Yankus has been featured in exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, The Library of Congress and ClampArt located in Chelsea. On Thursday, November 3 Marc premieres a dynamic assembly of twenty photographs and photomontages at his latest exhibit, “Call It Sleep.” (Above: Swordsman, 38x27," 2011)

“Call It Sleep” by Marc Yankus, ClampArt gallery, is an appropriate title, as soft, dream like images come into focus. The blur of sleep is rubbed away from languid eyes and as the day begins, dreamscapes unfold and nature intermingles with architectural edifice while exposing youthful character. (Above: San Remo, 38x27," 2008)

Taking a close look at one of the new photo montages, “Bike Ride,” Marc shares, “I would like people to look at the montages and question what is real and what is not.” Marc’s montages reflect a life’s work that began when he was 19 and originally inspired by artist Joseph Cornell (Samples pictured below). While in college, instructor Jack Potter encouraged Marc to see all shapes of things through drawing. Or maybe it was fellow classmates Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf who struck a chord in Marc to keep pursuing all things creative? (Above: Bike Ride, 38x27," 2011)

Marc continues his celebration of contemporary photographic work. For over 30 years, Marc has been featured on book covers and theatre posters all throughout New York City and beyond. I caught up with Marc Yankus to chat a bit about “Call It Sleep” and exchange more about his approach.

mM : As the light flickers down and invites the viewer to step within your world, what do you hope the viewer will discover?

MARC : In the city’s moments of tranquility, especially at dusk and when night falls, the looming shapes, diffused light and spectral shadows invest the recurrent transition with a hushed feeling of magic and anticipation that I seek to capture in my photographs.

mM : What worlds do you hope the viewer encounters when looking on at one of your NY photographs?

MARC : A world of shape, color and light. I am drawn to the romance of New York’s old architecture; its majestic and now rare materials never seem to lose their power to enthrall imagination. I want my viewer to experience that wonder. (Above: Urn and Smoke, 38x27," 2011)

mM : Are your contemporary photographs natural or mechanical in process?

MARC : I think your asking me if I do anything to my photographs after I shoot them? If so I do. Some of the images I lay textures down on top of them. The textures are found in old turn of the century books or tin types that I remove the original imagergy and lay only the texture ontop of my photograph using a software program. In my newer work I have gone away from adding texture and going straight from camera to print. (Above: The Library’s Garden, 38x27," 2011)

mM : When do you feel like you have really captured the energy of the world’s stage and how does NY feed into the energy of your work?

MARC : I don’t know if I have captured the world stage as of yet but though my work that is used on book covers it is seen by millions. New York is so vibrant, alive, stimulating, inspiring which keeps me going. (Above: Harlem, 22x17," 2006)

mM : Did you take advantage of the power outage in NY? If so, please explain:

MARC : I most certainly did. There was no light that night in the sky so I worked with total darkness and candle light or the occasional car head lights. Folks all though the village were sitting outside with tables and candles playing cards, eating and drinking. It was one big joyful party and I shot over 400 photos.

mM : Working with the city as a main character, how do you maneuver yourself to a place that is quiet or available to capture? Or is your process all handheld and quick moving? Please explain:

MARC : A lot of the shots are handheld mostly at twilight and at night. No one seems to bother me. The only times I was confronted is when I took out a tripod. I feel alive when I am out shooting and very focused.

Kind thanks to Marc Yankus for taking time out and sharing his creative vision. Good fortunes for a great opening.

“Call It Sleep” by Marc Yankus is now on exhibit at ClampArt November 3—December 17, 2011. Please contact the gallery for more information, Marc’s work is available in limited multiples and exquisitely reproduced, signed and numbered. Take a closer look. Night & Low Light Photography. Marc Yankus website. Review of “Call it Sleep” by Marc Yankus.

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