Christie Marks


Christie Marks has lived in California her entire life. She was born in Long Beach, California, the daughter of a hard working small businessman from Iowa and a homemaker from Kansas. Although Christie was considered creative, especially in regards to design, texture and color, she showed no interest in drawing or painting. In fact, it was not until Christie was in her 50’s that she took her first fine art class; Drawing I at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Christie took every drawing and painting class available at Santa Rosa Junior College, some several times! Eventually having exhausted the available coursework, Christie began to branch out, taking classes from local instructors and enrolling in workshops throughout the Bay Area. Finding and working in her own studio space in Santa Rosa’s SOFA Arts District made the transition complete.

Although Christie enjoys painting, she says that she loves mixed media work. Her process involves layering paper bags, butcher paper, and multiple original drawings and paintings done on translucent paper. The subject matter is contemporary but nostalgic and often based on her own photography. The end result is a body of oftentimes haunting works that convey a beautiful melancholy that touches the heart. 


The theme of my mixed media artwork is ‘Revealing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary’. The subject of my pieces varies but all are rooted in this principal. My interest in recording the extraordinary in the ordinary began after moving from my hometown near Los Angeles to Fresno in California’s Central Valley. I bought a camera, enrolled in a photography class, and began photographing what at first seemed to be a hot, dry, colorless environment. I was searching for beauty and I found it everywhere! At the same time, I began to sense and appreciate the valley’s ever-present organic mystery.

The use of neutral tones and torn paper that appears in my artwork stems from my years in the interior design program at Cal State Fresno. For an assignment requiring the use of recycled materials, I produced my concept sketches on the lightweight yellow paper that I still use in my artwork today. Since the project called for recycled materials, I presented it on boards covered with brown paper bags. In a way, little has changed. I’m still using paper bags!

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