The Art of Improv: Hilton Head Island artist Mark Larkin talks about his creations

jpaprocki@islandpacket.comNovember 30, 2012 

“Ping Pong Pinball,â€%9D by Mark Larkin


  • Craft Hilton Head 2012 runs through Dec. 30 at the Art League of Hilton Head's Walter Greer Gallery in the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Honorable mention artist, Donna Ireton, will perform pine needle basketry demonstrations at the gallery from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 13, 17 and 27. Details:

Just the curve of a piece of steal led sculptor Mark Larkin to come up with Ping Pong Pinball, the Best of Show winner at the Art League of Hilton Head's Craft Hilton Head 2012 exhibit.

Larkin created his abstract piece out of wood and steel. Like most of his work, it started with a glimmer of inspiration when he was looking over his materials. From there, he improvised.

Larkin, a Hilton Head Island resident, explains how he creates art from steel.

Question. How did you plan this sculpture?

Answer. Sometimes I'll just have a scrap of metal and it will give me an idea. Sometimes I'll have an idea of where it's going and sometimes I don't. There's some happy accidents. That's what I love. With this piece, I had an S-shape and what I call the tinker-toy bits that come out of the side. I combined those. Then I thought I needed another piece so I formed the red ribbon that runs through it. No big formula for what I do. But lots of improvisation.

Q. How did you get involved in working with steel?

A. I graduated from college with a bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. One of my professors worked with steel, which appealed to me. Well, real life set in and about 35 years later I got back to art. We retired down here about five years ago and three years ago I found a studio in Bluffton, and that allowed me to go back to my love.

Q. What did you do professionally?

A. This will come from left field, but I was a funeral director. It was a family business. I was a third-generation funeral director.

Q. Did you always have an idea that you'd get back into art?

A. Absolutely. That was always the plan. You do what you have to do to raise a family but that doesn't mean you let go of your dreams.


Art League of Hilton Head

Mark Larkin

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