Mark Arminski

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Deftly fusing the hallucinatory colors and designs of the 1960s with the clean, direct linework of the 1990s, Mark Arminski has emerged among the most acclaimed rock & roll artists of his generation,…
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Artist Biography by

Deftly fusing the hallucinatory colors and designs of the 1960s with the clean, direct linework of the 1990s, Mark Arminski has emerged among the most acclaimed rock & roll artists of his generation, creating indelible posters and album covers typified by their remarkable versatility. Arminski was born in Detroit in 1950, and his interest in art began at a young age -- while in high school he designed his first concert posters, influenced in large part by the psychedelic craft of local graphics legends Gary Grimshaw and Carl Lundgren. After studying art at nearby Oakland Community College, Arminski attended Detroit's prestigious Center for Creative Studies between 1978 and 1979, and as his interests shifted toward printmaking, he pursued stone lithography at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, quickly developing an appreciation for the process of creating art in duplicate.

The "art for everybody" silkscreen aesthetic of Andy Warhol proved enormously influential on Arminski's own developing style, as did Warhol's deployment of nontraditional bold and bright color schemes. After studying computer-generated art at the Dynamic Graphics Educational Foundation in Peoria, IL, in 1984 Arminski returned to southeastern Michigan to assist in establishing the Phoenix Impressions studio and workshop in the Pontiac area. Within months he gained his first major acclaim for the intaglio piece Monument to a Storyteller, the subject of kudos from AAO Gallery attendees at the 1985 National Print and Drawing Show in Buffalo, NY. Arminski's work quickly became a staple of shows across North America, most notably Printmakers 33 at Washington, D.C.'s Gallery Triangle in 1986 and the 13th National Print Exhibition in Clinton, NJ.

In time, Arminski began exploring new avenues of figurative art, calling upon his expertise in printmaking, etching, and even photography to create singularly otherworldly nudes; at the same time, he also turned increasingly to painting. His nudes began appearing more and more frequently in various books and journals, culminating in his first one-man show, 1989's Untamed Eroticism; mounted in protest of Senator Jesse Helms' proposal to slash federal funding based on governmental guidelines defining "indecent art" -- federal grant money which, ironically enough, helped fund Arminski's own nude pieces -- the show was picketed by local religious groups and was the subject of considerable media attention. The publicity also helped Arminski land his first commissioned concert poster work, resulting in silkscreens for Iggy Pop, the Smashing Pumpkins, and others.

By bridging the gap between the art of the '60s counterculture and the grunge aesthetic of the early '90s, Arminski quickly found favor with poster collectors of both generations; in 1993, he was even tapped for a gallery show alongside the aforementioned Grimshaw, Stanley Mouse, and Wes Wilson. Creating posters not only for gigs in Detroit but also Houston, Cleveland, New York, and San Francisco, Arminski surfaced among the most collectible artists of his time, with over 1,000 of his works traded at the 1994 Rock Art Expo in San Francisco alone; a year later, his fame was cemented when he was invited to participate in a prestigious "Joint Show" held in conjunction with the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. In addition to his posters and cover art, he also works in a variety of other media ranging from murals to body art.