October 14, 2015
The prolific output of San Francisco artists Mark Evans and Charley Brown is brimming over with ideas drawn from the history of decorative arts mixed with their own private inspirations.
Our co-founder, Art Libera, began working with San Francisco artists Mark Evans and Charley Brown as their national sales director in 1993, becoming their licensing agent in 2000. “To this day, I’ve yet to run across any other partnership quite like theirs,” Art marvels. “They work beautifully together, and that seems to fire up divergent individual pursuits. I can present any design challenge to them and they always have a unique perspective on how to make it all better.”
By the time Art began working with them, the duo had already established a strong reputation as go-to trompe l’oeil muralists for private residences, hotels, office buildings and other projects in the Bay Area. They had recently launched their own line of wallcoverings. In the years that followed, they took on custom mural projects all over the world – mansions in Texas, casinos in France, hotels in Asia and the Middle East, private clubs in Hawaii. They launched licensed wallcovering designs, now offered to contract markets by Koroseal and residential markets by Brewster Home Fashions.
Wynn Resorts’ design chief, Roger Thomas, is a frequent collaborator. “While there are many muralists and artists who say they do what Evans and Brown can do, I submit that they are more than just artists,” Roger says. “Evans and Brown are masters and magicians!”
In some respects Charley and Mark seem the very model of the modern digital artist. They welcome the contributions of ever-advancing digital tools, which create all sorts of new opportunities for multiple works, as well as arresting customized, custom-sized digital prints of single wall murals. They continue to create designs for wallcoverings that energetically redeploy historical as well as modern motifs. “Digital is a different kind of paintbrush,” Mark says. “But we always want to have a hand in the work. It’s either that, or you live in this chilly world of pixels.”
In their own flourishing solo careers, Mark and Charley are both decidedly hands-on. Charley has been painting in oil and exhibiting since 1970, and is now busy ahead of his next solo show in 2016. He claims the back room of their San Francisco basement studios, with a southern exposure through tall windows to their quiet garden, the ceilings high enough to accommodate blank canvases eight or nine feet tall.
In the next room, Mark focuses on elaborate, hand-made objects – images in three-dimensional acrylic boxes, lenticular prints that offer his own ironic commentary on heroes of art and history and mirrors of intricate construction. He is developing an online gallery to offer his works directly to the public.
The next best thing to hanging out with them is a visit to their recently-revamped websites. We recommend repeated visits, as there’s a great deal worth seeing!