Written by Katie Zhang
Art teacher Mark Gleason pursues his passion of creating through different shapes and forms. Since he was three, Gleason has found joy in art, leading to his pursuit of art as a career. “I’ve been doing my artwork since I was a little kid,” he said. “So it’s not like fun as a hobby, it’s what I do. I honestly just wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, and I need to paint. I have to do it like I have to breathe.”
Throughout his years of pursuing art, Gleason has made several notable pieces. “If you Google some of my stuff, some of the images come up, and one that I’m really like, yeah I can say that’s me, is this horse that’s leaping through the air, and it’s on fire,” he said.
With all of Gleason’s success, he decided to bring his love for art into the Gunn community by becoming a teacher. “My parents saved all my little drawings and stuff, and yes, they look like scribbles,” Gleason said. “I used to draw animals a lot, and I still do. I was always the class artist, and I based my life around it by turning it into my career.”
Before Gleason came to Gunn, he found different ways to connect art with different careers paths. “I started off school thinking that I wanted to bring my art to life through making films, so I started off school in a film-making program, but after a semester, I was more interested in drawing in my dorm room,” he said. “For a while, I wanted to be a paleontologist; I’ve always been fascinated with dinosaurs and thought maybe I could find my artistic stuff in my love for anatomy with the digging up bones and draw dinosaurs that come to life.”
Throughout his artistic journey, Gleason has faced several challenges along the way. “Stability—I mean that financially and maybe emotionally,” he said. “When you put yourself into situations, you can feel emotions in a strong way. There are a lot of bumps along the way because you would think to yourself, ‘This is what I do.’ You have certain things that you go through when you try to establish yourself as an artist.”
Gleason encourages all artists to pursue their genuine interests. “Something I always recommend would be to do what you feel,” he said. “Stick with what you know and what you’re interested in.”