Mark Brown

'July' and 'September'
first place Peninsula Nature

Although this year marked his first appearance in the Weekly's photo contest, Mark Brown possesses a long and decorated photographic background.

He studied art at Stanford and later earned a master's degree in printmaking from San Francisco State University. Now a graphic designer with McArthur Design and Communications in Palo Alto, Brown concentrates on digital art forms and mixed media enterprises. His work has shown in galleries across the U.S. and overseas in Australia and Braungschwig, Germany.

His winning entries come from a series of digital works titled "Night Blooms," a name that derives from Brown's practice of scanning during the dark hours of the night to achieve a rich black space on which he presents his subjects. Typically, these subjects originate from his own garden.

"I harvest what is blooming, budding, dying, colored, textured, warped or wonderful--depending on preconceived ideas for an image or natural inspiration," he said. "I compose these flowers, fruits, plants and vegetables atop a flatbed scanner linked to a computer until I have created exactly the image I want. Then I do a final high-resolution scan, which I save and manipulate."

The final scans are later refined and enhanced with Adobe Photoshop.

"Digital artwork gives you more creative control than just snapping a picture," he said. "You are only limited by your imagination."

In describing the creation of 'Night Blooms,' Brown wrote about the freedom inherent in his mixture of media: "If I can imagine it, I can manage it. I am a new god in the digital Garden of Eden."

In addition to the creative opportunities he finds in digital art, Brown also credits his new techniques with improving his health. "Digital art has fairly saved my life," he asserted. "Without it, I'd still be working with toxic chemicals and solvents. Now I am not exposed to anything other than low frequency radiation from my monitor."

-Rico Sablan