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100 Colorado Creatives: Mark Sink

Mark Sink prepares for The Big Picture, a citywide wheat-pasting project for MoP 2013.
Mark Sink prepares for The Big Picture, a citywide wheat-pasting project for MoP 2013.
All photos courtesy of Mark Sink.

#88: Mark Sink

Mark Sink's pedigree as a fine art photographer and arts mover in Denver goes way back, more than thirty years. And its roots sink even deeper: His great-grandfather James L. Breese founded the Camera Club of NY and before that, Breese's uncle, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, not only invented the telegraph but was also known in his time as "the father of American photography." It's no wonder, then, that the young Sink was so fascinated with his toy camera as a boy that his relationship with the unsophisticated instrument continued well into adulthood.

See also:

- Studio Shots: Kristen Hatgi and Mark Sink

- Warhol in Colorado: Mark Sink's 15 Minutes of Fame

- Best Street Art - 2011: The Big Picture

Mark Sink, "Jillian," colloidal wet-plate image.
Mark Sink, "Jillian," colloidal wet-plate image.

He went on to fraternize with Andy Warhol and made his name snapping pictures with a plastic Diana camera; over the years, Sink also founded the Denver Salon, played a role in the early formation of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, ran his own Sink Gallery and continued to explore the historical techniques and technologies of analog photography. These days, he continues in the lo-fi tradition in collaboration with his photographer wife, Kristen, producing haunting colloidal wet-plate images using Victorian-age techniques.

Mark Sink (holding broom) with Big Picture wheat-pasting main man, Peter Davies.
Mark Sink (holding broom) with Big Picture wheat-pasting main man, Peter Davies.

Sink is also the man behind the curtain for the city's Month of Photography, pulling strings and serving as head cheerleader for a Front Range photography takeover that happens every two or three years. The 2013 venture -- the biggest MoP ever -- officially kicks off this weekend with a flurry of gallery openings all over town. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more about the magnificent maze that is MoP.

Mark and Kristen Sink with their work, at Robin Rice Gallery in New York.
Mark and Kristen Sink with their work, at Robin Rice Gallery in New York.

In the meantime, we asked Sink to take our 100CC quiz; continue reading for his thoughts about the artist's life, here and around the world.

Westword: Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Mark Sink: I just finished a book yesterday on Edward Curtis -- Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher. He's a portrait photographer -- that's what I do -- and my sister is an anthropologist who wrote several books on Southwest Native American myths and rock art. I help with the documentation, so it's all very interesting to me: an epic tale of a shadow catcher in the late nineteenth century.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

One? I have several. The fake thing -- instragram filters faking analog film, and digital filters in general -- stretches so far and wide. It's what the Reality of Fiction show [opening March 1 at REdLine Gallery as part of MoP] is all about: how we are slipping into a weird, fake world and easy art. And how about art students who want to make money from art? Or art students borrowing upward to 100k for a BA from a small state college? Pick one!

What's your day job?

I get up and commute to the living room and let a computer tell me what to do: art sales, curatorial projects, book research.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

I would build a photography and new-media center for the region.

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?


Stop removing art teachers and teaching art from the public schools.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?


Depends on what day it is. I like the intense, passionate strugglers: Harry Walters and Ethan Garton are tops. Today...Dale Chisman. I sorely miss him.


What are you looking forward to in 2013?


2013. I'm afraid I will blink, and it will be gone. I am in a great point in my life. I am poor, but very happy -- deeply in love, producing photographs I love. My wife, Kristen, and I have a show up in NYC now. Month of Photography is three times bigger then last season, and its worldwide reach is mind-boggling. I wake up energized with all these great projects swirling around. I am a very lucky boy. 




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