Part one can be read here.
Airship Ambassador: Continuing our chat about some specific pieces, there is a sense of whimsy, overall, in the design, and a nice contrast in the blue and gold of the color scheme. What are the various elements which went into it?
Mark Jason Page: I really don’t want to create work that takes itself so deeply serious. I love whimsy and I’m flattered that people use that word when they look at my work. As far as the elements, I hate to sound like a broken record, but again looking at nature. I just thought, how cool would it be to have this carriage, with these brass mechanical dolphins diving up and down as gears turn and copper steam stacks blow. That’s something I’d like to see built!
AA: What kind of research, and then editing, went into creating the Regal Steam Airship and the Blue Legion, the other airship? Were there any elements which you really wanted to be in the image? Anything that you eventually removed?
MJP: To be completely honest, the Regal Steam Airship was pretty spontaneous. I just stated sketching on watercolor paper, playing around with shapes, and that image is just the result of playing around. I mean, I had in mind classic airship designs, bit I think it’s actually an appealing piece because I was having fun. When your having fun it is apparent in your work. The Blue Legion was actually kind of a sequel to The Regal Airship, or maybe I should say it was inspired by that piece.
AA: How about the Seahorse Carriage?
MJP: This piece was an effort to produce something within the same aquatic theme as the Dolphin Steam Carriage. I want to continue to produce work with this same mechanical, sea creature inspired design.
AA: And the Steam Goldfish?
MJP: This piece was really inspired by the idea of some sort of time machine, with my signature nod to nature.
AA: What can you share at this stage about the book project with these and other images?
MJP: Well the airship and other vehicles are my fine art pieces, but they might find their way into a book of some sort. As far as the book project I’m working on now, I’ll say it definitely portrays a world filled with steam punk inventions. Mostly steam punk animal inventions. I can’t say too much yet, but over the next months, you’ll see more and more revealed about the book. I’m posting quite a bit of the illustrations on Instagram (@markjpage) and I’ve tweeted some of the images as well (@mpageca) so I can hopefully start to gain a small following. I plan to start posting the work to my blog as well when I get time(mpageworkshop.blogstop.com). By the way, I must thank you for retweeting my work on twitter. Can’t thank you enough!
AA: You are more than welcome, it’s my pleasure to share your work with everyone. Aside from my jaw-dropping response, what are some memorable fan reactions to your work which you’ve heard about? Aside from your website, where can people see your work in person? Are they shown at any conventions?
MJP: Well I self published a comic book called “Kana’s Island”, back in probably 2005. I sold it on my website, at little book signings, and finally in 2006 I got a booth at the San Diego Comic-Con and was one of the nominees for the “Best Newcomer” award. That was crazy, I had people coming up to my table from France and Italy who had purchased the comic online and were already fans! That blew my mind! As far as my new work, I’ve only shown in a couple of shows, but I plan to and hope to do more art shows. As a matter of fact, I will be part of a show at Disneyland in California at the Disneyana gallery on main street. The show is slated for February but the dates are still being figured out. I’ll post the dates on my website once the show is formally announced. Once my current book project is done, I will be at Comic-con again, and also hope to display my “Fantastical” airship pieces.
AA: If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be doing now?
MJP: I’d probably be a chef. I love cooking, and it’s still a creative occupation.
AA: What do you do to keep a balance between art, work, and the rest of your life?
MJP: I’d have to say most importantly my spiritual routine helps me stay grounded. Also working out helps as well. I wish I had more time for the latter.
AA: Do you get to talk much with other artists to compare techniques, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
MJP: Oh yeah, especially at work. I’m surrounded by creative people everyday, so I have plenty of opportunities to compare techniques, get critiques on stuff I’m working on ( both work related projects and my own work), and we have brainstorm sessions all the time for new attractions.
AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?
MJP: I think I’ve become a better draftsman because I love to draw and I do it so much. I think I’ve also gotten faster at detecting why a design is not working so I can problem solve faster.
AA: How is California for your work? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc
MJP: I would say that location does matter in my opinion, and that depends on what kind of creative work you want to do. California is home to many entertainment companies from film, special FX ships,video games,animation. There are also many galleries here as well, so I would say that California is a prime location for artist, and especially artists who want to work in the entertainment industry.
AA: Overall, who would you count as your inspirations and motivators?
MJP: My wife is a big inspiration and motivator. Even when I start doubting my work, she always boosts my confidence and helps me silence that inner critic. Walt Disney is also an inspiration. The fact that this man had so many obstacles that stood in his way but he wouldn’t let anything stop him from pursuing his vision.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk and your work, what other interests fill your time?
MJP: I really enjoy digital sculpting in zbrush, and I’m always thinking of stories for books or graphic novels.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of in some way? (as a fan or other participation)
MJP: Oh I love sci-fi stuff as well. Of corse I love the whole star wars universe. Comics and graphic novels, so I love the Comic-con. I’m a big fan of animation of every sort, 2D, 3D, stop motion, etc.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
MJP: Well I think they influence my take on steam punk inspired work. As you brought out I have sort of a whimsical touch in my work. I think I blend my vision of steam punk with other genre’s that I enjoy and I think that’s where the whimsy comes from.
AA: Quick random questions – what is your favorite fictional character, food spice, and ringtone/ sound clip?
MJP: Definitely Character: Indiana Jones. Food spice:food spice I guess would be Lawry’s seasoned salt. Sound clip: I hate to disappoint but that one has me a little stumped!
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
MJP: I guess , first I’d just like to thank the readers for taking the time to show some interest in me and my work! Airship Ambassador, I have to thank you providing a forum for this forum to talk art and steam punk! Finally, I would say that I hope that your readers were somewhat entertained by my interview and hopefully they are interested enough to follow my artwork as it evolves. I thank you and your readers.
Thanks for joining us, Mark!
Keep up to date with Mark’s work on his fine art website.