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Mark Barone is an internationally acclaimed painter. His artwork is represented in many distinguished museums and hangs in private collections around the world. His work has been featured in hundreds of publications. In 2018, PBS partnered to create a poignant documentary about Mark's stirring and evocative art for social impact.
Barone was born in 1959 in Chicago. In 1983, Mark attended the University of Minnesota, where he received his B.F.A. He met and became greatly influenced by his professors, who were from the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. They helped him to realize the importance of approaching painting in a more holistic way and to always paint what he felt most connected to.
Next, he would spend valuable time learning from acclaimed Bay Area figurative painter, Paul Wonner. Then, after taking some time off and traveling to get inspired by the many great works of art in Europe, he went to the University of Southern Illinois to get his M.F.A. It was there that he had the opportunity to immerse himself in painting and discovered the direction for his work.
After graduating, Barone's first solo show was in the Lyons Weir Gallery in Chicago. He moved to Paducah, Kentucky, and continued to thrive, with his work showing in D.C. and Chicago. While there, he received great recognition for creating the first successful and highly awarded Artist Relocation Program, designed to support artists and revitalize blighted neighborhoods using the arts; now the model used by cities to promote art as an economic engine.
Barone's upbringing contributed to his interest in painting about the challenges of the human condition and the dynamics that come from the family unit. Through his paintings, he could talk openly and express the depths of issues that he had been conditioned to avoid and suppress. Later, this foundation became the seed for his interest in social justice.
In 2011, Mark became aware of the disturbing number of animals killed in shelters and decided to paint 5500 portraits of shelter dogs to depict the number destroyed, every day. With his wife, he went on to create the non-profit, An Act of Dog. A charity dedicated to using art to be a voice for animals and other social injustices. PBS made a documentary about his journey for their salvation.
Watch, PBS Documentary.
Today, Mark lives in Naples, Florida with his wife, Marina, two dogs, Gigi and Yogi, and his cats, Santo and Twitch! His current work is centered around some of the most pressing social issues of our time.