SB Art: James Marks, Sculptor
James Marks has a way with people. Inspired and fascinated by the human body, he has created wire sculptures in the shape of people since he was a child. He calls his earliest wire sculptures “hoop-head men” after the hoop-like shape he designed to represent their heads.
Although he has been crafting his sculptures for over 30 years, it wasn’t until a few years ago that he accepted he was an artist.
“I was making things to amuse myself and my friends. I was making things to explore the human form but I wasn’t making art with a capital A,” Marks said. “I think I’ve accepted the fact that I’m an artist recently, and that’s in part due to my amazing artist girlfriend Kathryn Usher. It’s made it a lot more interesting and rewarding than it was when I was merely the crazy guy piddling around.”
Marks uses pipe cleaners, copper wire from Ethernet cables, and motor wire he gets from a motor repair company. However, the white and brown pipe cleaners he uses aren’t your average pipe cleaners found at crafts stores. Marks orders them from a company in New Jersey that manufactures them out of cotton and bakes them in the oven to bring out different shades of brown.
“It makes the whole house smell like a campfire but they come out with these rich brown notes that have a lot of depth,” he said.
In April, Marks was voted as having the Best Studio during Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s Culture Crush weekend artist studio tours. More than 75 artists were considered for the prize. One of his designs was also selected for the Uncommon Murals project, which was unveiled last month. When he’s not creating art, Marks works in computer forensics. He also teaches at the Renzi Education & Art Center in Shreveport.
Marks’s artwork can be found at artspace in downtown Shreveport and will soon be available through Art-O-Mat — vending machines that sell small pieces of artwork. But you may have to drive to Longview, Texas or Baton Rouge to find an Art-O-Mat.
To learn more about Marks and his artwork, go to WireWirePantsOnFire.com.