Artist Spotlight: Mark Kunoff

Mural by Mark Kunoff at 804 W. Kirkwood Ave

What do you do at Artisan Alley?

I collaborate with Adam and AA artists on special projects, both music and art.

How long have you been doing it?

Almost 40 years (38)

Why do you do it?

The “why” has changed over the years, but generally speaking it gives me a means of expressing thoughts I have on a certain subject. As a youth my motivations were more self centric, but now at age 54, it’s my therapy, my meditation. Making music, painting, drawing, carving – it puts my mind in a peaceful state of awareness where stresses and negative energies fade away.

Was it love at first sight, or did you date around with other mediums?

I get bored quickly, so I experiment a LOT! At the moment I’m concentrating on music again, but I continue to work on my painting and drawing skills. Lately, I’ve really fallen in love with relief printing (linocut), which makes sense for me, since I worked in the printing industry for about 15 years. I would like to share that lately I’ve been avoiding the computer for my work. I create my music initially on dedicated hardware devices before it goes into digital audio software. I worked almost exclusively on the computer during my printing career, but there’s a real feeling of satisfaction when you carve a printing plate by hand.

How were you drawn to your art forms?

It runs the gamut from seeing a piece in a gallery to a youtube video. I’m always exploring.

What other artists inspire you or have motivated you to be a creator?

Jean Giraud (Moebius), Salvador Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh, Joan Miró, Robert Crumb, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Richie Hawtin, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Chris Whitley, Robert Babicz

Why did you get involved with Artisan Alley?

I started doing video projection art for one of the music events at the switchyard location before it ended.

How can someone else get involved with what you do?

I’m always down for collaboration! Lets get to know each other first and then see if our work ethics are a good match.

To check out more of his work, click here.

Artist Spotlight: Justin Cox – Tattoo Artist

Cox Art Studios - Custom Tattoo Artist in Bloomington, Indiana.

Who are you and what do you do @ Artisan Alley?

My name is Justin Cox and I’m a Tattoo Artist & Board President of Artisan Alley.

How Did You Get Started with being a Tattoo Artist?

I participated in a work study program through my high school in 2002 at Cain’s Grafik Dragon, a local tattoo shop in Ellettsville, Indiana. I received some valuable experience by doing the extra work that other artists did not want to perform. I stepped up to show my dedication and helped pick up cigarette butts using hemastats, mopped floors, polished chrome on my boss’s Harley, learned sterilization techniques, and a bunch of grunt work. Apprenticeships through tattooing is necessary to training and to learn patience and dedication. It’s a difficult apprenticeship and they really test you. I did all of the gross work including cleaning up puke and scrubbing toilets. After high school, I worked for various tattoo shops and then landed at Artisan Alley in early 2017.

Why Do You Love Being A Tattoo Artist?

I love the lasting and permanence of artwork on the human body. The artwork is seen and it’s not just hung up in a gallery. It may be seen my hundreds or thousands of people who may not even be seeking out artwork. For many forms of traditional artwork, you have to visit a museum, an actual gallery, etc… and not a lot of people take that opportunity. With tattoo art, you can go to a gas station, the mall, etc.. and see meaningful artwork just walking around. Tattooing has a huge history longer than most people realize and it’s one of the oldest forms of artwork. I love to be a part of this ancient tradition.

How were you drawn to your art form(s)?

It seems that art is dying in today’s world. I stencil, paint, sketch, make signs, pastels, etc… It’s not just tattooing and this other work transfers over to my tattooing. I always try to approach things in a creative way. One thing that separates artists from others is that we are problem solvers. Whether it’s building a shelf or drawing a picture we are going to find a way to make it work.

What other artists inspire you or have motivated you to be a creator?

Seeing my parent’s friends that were covered in tattoos and my grandfather’s old naval tattoos piqued my interest. Seeing my high school friends pay to get tattoos definitely influenced my decision to try this out. My entire family is a creative group of artists that provided me the support and told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be… and they were right!

Why did you get involved with Artisan Alley?

Affordable rent for a studio work space was a good first step. I knew when I met Adam and some of the other artists that I was going to join Artisan Alley. I viewed this as a great space for artists to plan the future of art and to reach out to the community to help save local art. My goal is continued growth for Artisan Alley and Cox Art Studios. I am looking to draw in more of a variety of artists. Sometimes people don’t view their work as “art” but I want to help Artisan Alley provide the space and opportunity for others to promote their craft.

How can others get involved and help further the cause?

Come and get tattooed, volunteer for Artisan Alley, or just come and visit and take a look at the place.

Contact Information

Cox Art Studios
Justin Cox
phone: 812-318-8643
fb: coxartbtown
instagram: justincoxtatt

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