Marshall Stokes
Bro! Cityscapes Kitty Kitty


          Marshall Stokes was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a small factory city in the Berkshires, in 1976. Following high school, he attended Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston to study architecture. In 1998 he moved to South Lake Tahoe to snowboard for a year or so. After five he moved to the North coast of California, Humboldt County to be exact.  He spent a brief period of time with Empire Squared, an artist group based out of Eureka, CA, while he was there. 

Marshall currently resides in SW Portland, OR, and is focusing on becoming a full time artist. 

about the artist

          I started burning wood at a young age the way most young boys start burning things.  With a magnifying glass.  I remember taking pieces of an old rotted oak in the front yard and mashing it up.  It went from smoking to flame faster than most other things we tried to burn.  I remember the first time I tried to write my name with the magnifying glass.  I think that was the time that it went from innocent childhood pyro-interest to some sort of graphic representation. 

            Woodburning, or pyrography, has enjoyed the majority of my artistic expression, and of late has been the sole vein.  Earlier pieces contain a sub-theme of a battle between solidity and fluidity, using graffiti inspired 3-dimensional forms.  The overall idea is to represent a symbiotic and sometimes parasitic relationship between nature and technology.  The solid forms, metal, and, circuitry represent technology or lifeless environment, the binary code (when it appears) is the title of the piece, and the wood itself is the natural element.  The bone series to me embodies the temporal nature of life and also lets me explore the techniques involved with shading those surfaces

            Lately, I’ve been working on technique and increasing my fluency with the medium.  This letting go has freed my imagination from the constraints of concept, and allowed the development of visual complexity. This, though departing from the idea of art as language, is something I see as learning to read before writing the book.  Or something like that.

            I’ve enjoyed working with pen and ink and acrylics, and have experimented with oils, but pyrography remains my medium of choice, partially because of the ties it has to my childhood, and partially because of the connotations that fire and the burning of wood carry.  The rebirth of life through fire. The pinecone. The phoenix.  The idea.  It has enabled me to express ideas and concepts in a meaningful and gratifying way, while maintaining a connection to a most basic element.