PSU Faculty: Mark Searcy

Posted on Apr 10th, 2010 by Command Save

above: Mark Searcy!

Mark Searcy is teaching ART 342 Interactive Media this quarter. He was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for us! Say hello if you see him around!

Please tell us a little about your education.

I am one part formally trained, and two parts self-educated. While studying graphic design at the University of North Texas, I also spent all my free-time teaching myself web code. This was back in 1997 — when Photoshop's crop tool did not yet allow you to resize it after you had clicked and dragged it across your image, and before Dreamweaver even existed. Websites were built on PC's using notepad to write HTML+JavaScript. As Flash came onto the scene, I fell in love with its potential and dove right into learning ActionScript. After I graduated, I started my second round of self-education… starting my own business.

above: Art Prostitute

How did you break into the field?
I left my design job, maxxxed out my credit cards, and started Art Prostitute, an art+design publication and art gallery. I didn't want to sit in the same office with the same people for the years to come. I wanted to meet other creative people, and a magazine was the solution I came up with. Despite the debt that starting a publication and art gallery puts you in, Art Prostitute allowed exactly what I needed from it. I got to travel the US, meet, interview, and network with amazing artists and designers, and then create a publication that documented it all. Most of all, it taught me not to be scared of jumping in, or out, of the unknown sea. You quickly realize that people love to watch the swimmers from the shore. It helps urge that jump-in feeling in themselves.
above: Art Prostitute

Please tell us a little about your design work history.
Soon after moving to Portland, I took a job as the art director for the Portland Mercury. I worked there for a year, and enjoyed the challenge of designing something new on a weekly basis that was seen by so many people. At the beginning of 2009 I decided to jump back into the unknown and take a practice retirement. I took the idea of designing something new on a weekly basis and applied it to all the things that I wanted to make for myself. I made and released 2 CD's worth of music, wrote a book (with two more on the way), took photographs, created art, and made a viral video. In the process, I upgraded my knowledge to include Flash AS3, the WordPress Codex, and video editing. Now that the small retirement fun that I had saved is empty, I am back to freelancing, tutoring, and revving up for my next project.
above: Brick and Mortar Art Prostitute

above: Back of AP gallery

What is the focus of your creative research?
The web is gobbling up printed publications and only offering to open its mouth and show us the chewed up pieces before they are swallowed and buried under stacks of blog posts. In the spirit of challenging complacency, I am trying to develop new approaches toward solving the digital publication design crisis with a project called Most Wonderful ( In print, Most Wonderful aims to explore the myriad of print-on-demand possibilities to release affordable, well-designed books and serial publications. On the web, Most Wonderful aims to discover new and exciting ways to design across print and the web.

above: book

What is your teaching philosophy?
I subscribe to the "teach a person to fish" method… with an intense focus on the reality of having to thread a hook through a frightened cricket, clubbing caught fishes over the head, scraping off their scales, and pulling out the guts.

above: eat your brains

What classes are you teaching this year?

I am teaching ART 342 this spring.

above: camera field

Who/what inspires you?
The writings of Richard Brautigan. Portland summers. Old photographs that tell new stories for the next generation. Vintage magazines for making beautiful collages of abandoned printing techniques, and cameras that don't require batteries.

Please share some links to sites that inspire you.

Please share the link to your web site and/or blog?