Mark Zieff, Ghosts of Seasons Past

I have always been fascinated with old, man-made objects—the well-worn and imperfect. These objects are a link with the past, our human past. Though common and ordinary, they are a quiet reminder that the true meaning and richness of life still comes from the simple and mundane activities of everyday living. 

Most recently I began to focus on clothing—it is a central theme of this body of work. I enjoy the unique challenges of rendering fabric and our relationship with clothing is among the most intimate, complex and unique of all man-made objects. Many of the clothes in these drawings are my own and I use my artwork as a way to explore my own connections with the past. 

I have chosen to use charcoal and colored pencil on toned paper for these drawings. The combination allows me to achieve great detail and subtle but deep tonal transitions. This approach, along with the individual paper colors, also helps to set the emotional tone and impact of each drawing. I found inspiration for this technique in the charcoal and pastel drawings of DaVinci, Dürer, and Degas.

About the artist

Mark Zieff received a degree in Industrial Design from Syracuse University and has had a distinguished career as an award-winning industrial designer, consumer products innovator, and brand marketer. As a designer and artist, Mark has always been fascinated with everyday man-made objects and, in particular, those that are old, well-worn and used. He uses charcoal and colored pencil on toned paper and watercolor washes to create drawings that explore the relationships between object and user—the physical and sometimes emotional connection we have as humans with inanimate objects. He draws inspiration for his work from the art of Albrecht Dürer, Edgar Degas, Jim Dine, and Claudio Bravo.


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