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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

From Facts to Figures in Design

The work of versatile and imaginative sculptor Mark Carroll is powerful in motion, sensual in design, stately in presence, and inspiring in stature. Just as Frank Lloyd Wright pondered the use of natural materials for incorporation into living and working spaces, Mark Carroll applies his vision and expertise in the natural elements of wood, stone, and metal in creating sculptures. Each one adds a quiet, graceful presence to the spaces they enhance.

Mark grew-up in Graniteville, Vermont, playing in the abandoned granite quarries of the area. He credits his artistic talent to a home filled with creative activity. His father, Richard, was a full-time sculptor and master carver in wood and stone. Richard was well known for his granite monuments, one of which is The Rock of Ages monument in Graniteville. When the family moved to Buffalo, New York, Richard expanded his work into statues for churches and large public art pieces. Mark's mother, Mary, was an accomplished painter of landscapes and portraits done in oils. Mark's academic and creative aspirations resulted in his BA in Fine Art from Buffalo State College and a Masters in Art Education K-12. Mark went on to teach high school art for ten years while exploring a variety of sculptural materials. He began carving small caricature figures and duck decoys, eventually progressing to larger detailed decorative bird carvings. When his father passed away, Mark was asked if he could carve a group of statues for a local church. As the commissions increased, Mark moved into his career as a full-time professional sculptor and founded The Sculpture Studio, LLC located in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Mark developed his profound respect for the natural world, hiking the 2,145 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine twice. His first trek was accomplished in 1977; he returned to the trail in 1986. The experience of walking and living in the natural beauty of forests and mountains for five months each time left a profound impression on Mark's relationship with the natural elements. He gained a deep appreciation for nature's most delicate details and the beauty in its natural forms. These experiences lead him to a commission carving scientifically accurate reproductions for the Buffalo Museum of Science in Buffalo, New York. One of his favorite carvings was a baby Wooly Mammoth from a large cherry log. The mammoth sculpture found a home in the Discovery Room of the museum, to the delight of hundreds of children who love climbing on its back.

"I credit the influence of artists with The Carving Studio in Rutland, Vermont, and the Limestone Sculpture Symposium in Bloomington, Indiana for honing my skills in a variety of natural materials."

Early in his sculpture career, Mark took up marble carving, which led to learning how to split, carve, and polish granite. He states, "I credit the influence of artists with The Carving Studio in Rutland, Vermont, and the Limestone Sculpture Symposium in Bloomington, Indiana for honing my skills in a variety of natural materials." Mark’s creative curiosity inspired him to combine different materials, spurring an interest in welding, combining limestone and steel or granite and stainless steel. Offering new combinations of materials expanded his portfolio of work and increased the variety of commissions Mark began to receive.

One of the most interesting facts in Mark's experience is as a free-lance model maker for the toy industry for 23 years; much of his work for Fisher-Price. Designers provided him with the product drawings; in turn, Mark created the model masters in clay or wax used to make the final plastic injection molds for production. Sculptor Mark Carroll is a true Renaissance man in the world of sculpture. His work has evolved from realistic animal and human forms to abstract gleaming steel and majestic stone. Mark is a member of the Sonoran Arts League and works from his studio in Cave Creek, located at 6051 Hidden Valley Drive.

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