Do you feel the longing to express yourself creatively? Do you ever struggle with negative self-talk that holds you back from authentic expression? You're not alone.
Within each of us is the desire for connection and presence. Creative expression, in its kaleidoscope of forms, can bring us closer that feeling we long for. In this episode Mark Seamans shares some of his journey with us, including the role creativity has played in his life and how he has been able to fan the flame of inspiration.
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Mark Seamans 0:00
Sometimes you gotta kind of step back. And even though in the moment you're sitting there like, Man, this, this is horrible. You know what I mean? But you got to step back and you got to look at it and say to yourself like, okay, that that really that really sucked. But what can I learn from this to make sure that either one it doesn't happen again or two it doesn't happen as bad, and what can I do to make it better?
Stu Murray 0:30
Welcome to episode number four of the connected movement podcast. I'm your host, Steve Murray. Are you disillusioned with our old outdated systems and stories? Are you tired of the growing polarization in society? So am I. My aim is to engage in and unpack conversations with people from all walks of life as a means of CO creating a way forward for humanity. Today's guest is Mark Siemens, an internationally renowned charcoal artist. Creating was something he has always been passionate about. Ever since he was a young kid. He loved to draw and build things. When he was 16. He decided to take his love for creating to building furniture, Marc launched his own furniture shop where he did all custom furniture. He built the stuff you could never find in stores. He is the type of person that likes to try and recreate things that seem impossible knowing his old love for drawing that he hadn't done in about 15 years. His wife got him a charcoal kit for Christmas that was in 2016. Since then, he has created 1000s of drawings for people all across the world. He has shipped hundreds of prints all across Canada in the US. And he has also done drawings for people across the ocean in Egypt, Europe and beyond. I really hope you enjoyed this episode and before we dive in a thank you to our sponsor, Karan phytoplankton. Many daily discomforts are the result of malnourishment. You may be malnourished if you crash in the afternoon, you have digestive issues, you get lots of headaches, have trouble sleeping, you have muscle or joint pain, have trouble concentrating and so on. The good news is the right supplementation can help with this. I've personally benefited from using Karen Phytoplankton which has helped me find more energy in the afternoons and beat that crash. You can find Karen Phytoplankton products at Costco locations or online at the Karen project.ca. Without further ado, let's dive in all right, I'm here with Mark Siemens, a charcoal artists from Canada living in Riverview New Brunswick, my old stomping grounds. Oh, yeah.
Mark Seamans 2:40
You're from Riverview.
Stuart Murray 2:41
Yeah, that's right. Thanks for coming on to the show.
Mark Seamans 2:44
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Stu Murray 2:46
Awesome. So I thought we could get started, I was reading through your bio. And notice that before you even ever really dove into any kind of career into charcoal art, you started to play around with furniture, building furniture, you want to tell us how you kind of stepped into that yet?
Mark Seamans 3:05
Well, you know, back in my my high school days, I you know, I was always interested in drawing, I always kind of like used to look at things like the creative art part of it, you know, trying to see looking at different values of shadows and everything like that, and you know, always wanted to try to recreate things. So anyway, back when I was 1415 years old, I started working in a lumberyard. And I started trying to build things while because I used to work out, like say out in the shop, serving customers and dealing with different types of woods and everything like that. And there'd be you know, we'd be working till nine o'clock at night. 10 o'clock at night sometimes won't be a whole lot of customers around. And you kind of want to try to pass some time. So I started building furniture, creating neat little things, I guess, lamps, tried to make little coffee tables and that kind of thing. So I guess that's kind of where I started to take my creativity. And so yeah, I started building some things there. And people walking into the store, actually. And they would say, Oh, that's pretty neat. Who made that? And that's I actually I made that. And you know, I was only this time I was 1516 years old. And then I guess I think it was probably about getting close to my 1819 and then realized that people were asking me to build some fire mantle's and that kind of thing. So I started building more furniture. And I you know, I worked for a contractor for a little while. And then I bought a house with a woodshop in the garage. And then I started working with that and people were ordering fire mantle's and cough tables and and tables and all that kind of thing. So I realized, you know, this is actually starting to become a good little business that I had going there. And I actually stopped working for contractors started doing this furniture Full Time for myself and started, like creating different types of things that you wouldn't normally see. You know, I, for a while there, I was actually building, I really liked to really test myself. So I started building these really neat kids themed beds, actually, these trucks and trains and castles and all this kind of stuff, stuff that you'd only see online that you wouldn't even think somebody actually created. So I'd sit there and look, research different things. Like I say, castles and Mario Kart, I did like a Mario Kart bed and all this kind of thing. So it was kind of cool to meet took my creativity to the furniture world. And my business actually was doing quite well. But at one point, no, we decided to kind of settle down have a bit of a smaller family at this point in time, my wife, when I had met my wife, she she had a five year old boy at the time. So when we got together, and this, when we decided that we were going to have a couple children, I decided I was gonna go work for somebody else. So I started to get into all looking around, I guess, when I was going to get into corrections, I wanted to go more in the policing type field. And that's where that's where my plans were, it was the head in that direction. And then, actually, I had seen this position come up locally, which was, which was great, because I was a police I was going to have to go to Regina and all that kind of thing. But it was actually for corrections Canada, but it was a furniture making company. So called core Camp. So anyways, I had applied to that. And I had actually been working with them for five years, almost right to the day and building furniture. It was a rehabilitation program training offenders on how to build furniture that was actually pre sold. So we did a lot in that shop annually, you know, this shop used to do about, you know, I think it was somewhere around two to $300,000 worth of furniture a year. And then by the time I had been out of there, I decided to move on, we were up to over $2 million worth of sales. And like say it was when it was a it was a rehabilitation program, but as a training facility. And it was really interesting to be building furniture with all the different guys and girls there. And it was I really enjoyed it. However, just kind of moving on with life decided to take a little bit of a different career path. And then
Stu Murray 7:33
Holy crap. Yeah, that's quite a journey. I'm curious to see how that continues to evolve. But I get so many questions. I'm going to stop you and ask Sure. Yeah, go back a little bit. So when you were back, getting that first job, I imagine that would have been one of your you know, those high school first jobs that we get into? Did you just have, you know, this green light, they go and start working with some of that equipment back there? Yeah,
Mark Seamans 7:58
I just like to say My thing is, when I look at things, it's the same to this day in with drawing, but when I look at things, I want to dissect it, I want to see how it was created, how it was, how it works, and, and that kind of thing. So yeah, once I started kind of looking at all the different machines, and just kind of wanted to get on there and start creating different things on those machines. So I basically taught myself from scratch on how to build, how to build my furniture, how to do my drawings, everything. So I got a busy mind. So once I started getting going on something, I'm pretty set and determined. And when I get in that direction, that's where I'm going. You can't stop me.
Stu Murray 8:42
That's brilliant. I find so many people get caught up in saying, Oh, I'd love to do this, but don't know how. And when they start to hear the stories from people like you who are just into doing it. It's like, what, how'd you do that? So I was curious enough to be able to have that drive to dive in, which is amazing.
Mark Seamans 9:01
And people get scared. You know, that's the thing is, to me, it's, it's, it's one thing to want to do something and you know, but it's another thing to actually do it. And it's intimidating. Change is different. And, you know, I've that's one thing I've, I've done a lot. I've changed a lot of different things in my life, and really try to go for it. And you know, people like say where they want to learn something, but they just just can't bite the bullet and go for it. So that's kind of what I started doing when I was younger to kind of get myself to where I am now. And it's worked out well for me.
Stu Murray 9:33
Wow. So were you when you started to display these things at the store, or just people started to stumble along and see them like were you able to sell stuff there on commission or anything or is it just more?
Mark Seamans 9:48
yeah, it was kind of funny like I it was really funny actually. I remember making this lamp that was absolutely hideous. And like just somebody walking in and like go Oh, that's, that's really neat. And you know, how much would you want for that. And at that time, I think it was like 20 bucks or something, or whatever. And then, you know, even coffee tables that I had. And the funny part is, like, people would come in, and they would like it. And then they ended up buying it. And there's actually still people to this day. And that was, Oh, jeez. So it was like, 2020 some years ago. And there's people to this day that actually still have that furniture that I had made back when I was younger, like that. So it's kind of neat to me, because it's almost like, you know, to me, the value of it has gone up, because I've done so much more in my life. And it's the same thing with with my drawings and everything is that, you know, when you first started, you know, either wasn't that good or whatever. And then as you progress, everything, everything, the value goes up, and the appreciation goes up. And yeah, it's pretty neat.
Stu Murray 10:54
yeah, it's how it is, you just gotta dive in, get rolling, get messy, we have this cultural fear of thinking, we need to be at a certain bar right away. And I find, you know, life tends to reward the brave those who are willing to just say, you know, screw it, and dive in and get going. So what, what about that? Have you always had that spark of curiosity, it's very clear that there's this steady theme in your life. And Curiosity has clearly propelled you forward into creating beautiful things.
Mark Seamans 11:28
Yeah, I've always had the curiosity, I've always been the type of person that I wanted to do something or create something, that you'd almost feel like, that's not possible. You know, like, I always wanted to challenge myself. And I don't know, it was just, it was like, it was my challenge for myself. And no, it wasn't anybody else that I looked around at that I was like, I want to be better than this person or, or anything like that. Just something to prove to myself that I want to. I want to create it in you know, it's like I say, with my French are those children beds that I had done? Stuff that people would say, How is that a bed? How did somebody make that, you know, you know, that's progressed into my drawings today. And same thing, just Challenge Challenge Challenge. You know, a lot of people kind of get scared from it, but I just go for it.
Stuart Murray 12:15
Well, yeah, amazing. What, what do you think? Like, where's that drive underneath to want to do that? Impossible come from? Like, it's really interesting, because so many of us want that external validation. But it's clear that you've got this, this drive that goes beyond that, do you know much of where that comes from?
Mark Seamans 12:38
Well, you know, I've kind of feel like, I just think with the, with my busy mind that I've always had, and, you know, I've never really, you know, I've never really needed to have other people. I don't know how to say it, actually, you know, I don't really need to have other people's input all my life to think, like, you know, when people challenge you, or that kind of thing. You know, to me, that's not the biggest, that's not the biggest way to get to your real motivation to it. To me, it's more just, for me for myself, and that's what gives me most drive. You know, don't get me wrong people, somebody says to me that there's no way that you can do this or that kind of thing, then I'm really going to push myself to that next level. And like I say, my wife will tell you for sure. You know, the thing that can someone was times be irritating is that when I do have something set in my head, I'm going for it. And it's just like, you know, lasered in and get obsessed with it, you know, regardless of what it is whether, whether I'm going to the gym, whether I'm drawing or whatever, once you put that challenge to yourself, you want to prove it to yourself. And you know, then after a while, all it is is others come to see it naturally, you know, like, so yeah, that's it for me. Really?
Stuart Murray 13:57
Cool. Yeah, it's interesting. You see, with all these great across history and across disciplines, they have this monomaniacal focus in on whatever they do, but it is it's kind of walking that that tightrope line A, that it's a double edged sword, where under percent passion can fall into obsession that almost blinds us to whatever but there's something magical that that often comes out of that.
Mark Seamans 14:24
Yeah, no, I agree. Totally agree.
Stuart Murray 14:27
Yep. So after you finished at the hardware store, you switched into pretty much starting your own business around designing these products.
Mark Seamans 14:37
Yep, no, well, what happened then was, like you say, Well, I don't know. I've got quite a few tattoos and stuff. And one of the artists that I know that I had a huge amount of pre appreciation for, and like I say, when I look at something, when I personally would look at something and say to myself, How did somebody create ate that, like I just went, I couldn't quite understand it, then it really bothered me to how come I couldn't understand it. So then, of course, that's when I started getting that obsessive mode and says, I want to, I want to create that too. I want to be a person that can look at somebody can look at it and say, Wow, that's amazing. That was handmade. And so, this particular artist, actually, his name's Jamie McKay. And he, he's an artist down in Cape Breton as the sacred temple tattoos, but he did charcoal artwork and that kind of thing. And his work to me was just unbelievable. And then my wife that you're for Christmas, he had actually tattooed my, my daughter's I'm using other upside down, but it was my daughter's are there Yeah. And my wife that year for Christmas, she'd decided to give me some charcoal because like I said, I talked about him a lot of just absolutely amazed with all of his artwork. And she bought it for me. And I sat there. And I to be honest with you, I didn't draw anything for almost about a month. And charcoal herbs to buy art supplies can be pretty expensive. So she actually got half half irritated with me to say like, How come you haven't used that? The charcoal that I got you that was such a bad gift idea. Anyway, so I was like, You know what, fine, I'll sit down, and I'm gonna draw something. So I sat down, and I drew this woman's face, you know, I was looking at a photo of something that I was looking at the time and I drew this face. And I was like, Oh, that was that was actually really cool. And then I had put a post online saying decided to try to use some charcoal. And I people just were dumbfounded with how how awesome. They thought it was. And I was like, Okay, well, that feels kind of cool. You know, like, that's kind of, that's kind of the feeling that I I had when I was looking at Jamie's work. And still today, Jamie's work is absolutely amazing. But, you know, that's kind of, I was really excited to see that reaction from people. So that's when I decided to take on my own journey was with artwork, and continue on from there, and then just kind of start building and building and one thing led to another and my audience grew on Facebook and Instagram and everything. And yeah, it's turned out to be pretty good company, to be honest.
Stuart Murray 17:10
Amazing. So you had you've been drawing, obviously, drawn quite a bit when you were younger. And then there was this period where you dove more onto the furniture side, as you made that pivot and, you know, even started to please your wife with that Christmas purchase. Have you been drying quite a bit in between that span,
Mark Seamans 17:32
I actually didn't draw anything for about 15 years. Like I said, I think that what it was was my my creativity decided to switch from artwork to building furniture. And funny thing is, when I was in high school, I thought to myself, I was pretty good artist. Now I look at my artwork now from when I was in high school. And I was never, it was never that great, you know, and actually one of the things that used to bother me the most was my art teacher at the time. He never ever said anything about my work, which used to bother the hell out of me. And, you know, I used to, he'd be walking around, he'd be talking about this person and that person and their work. And I'd be sitting there just kind of waiting for him to come over to mind because I'd be all proud of my piece. And he just wouldn't say anything. You know what I mean? And I think that that was, you know, now they think about it. That's That's partly partly exactly to what really drove me to do want to do more. As far as with my artwork, and people and getting the, you know, the reactions from people that I've always strive for, you know what I mean? So it's, yeah, it's kind of funny. They said, I didn't draw for 15 years. And then after I picked up the that charcoal piece that one day and put it to paper, and just like say, just kind of went with it, and just had fun. And yeah, it's been it's history. That's 2016 that I started again. So
Stuart Murray 19:02
Wow. So were you still with corrections Canada at the time.
Mark Seamans 19:06
When I first started drawing, I started drawing it was about oh, I think it was like January 18, actually, was when I first heard that woman and I was still with corrections at the time. And then I left corrections that year in June. Yeah, June 13, or something like that. So yeah, I had a few months there that I was. It's kind of funny because my colleagues and actually I used to go to the Moncton market. I was there for about three and a half years because I used to sell some jerky and everything. And I decided to put up a second booth. And when I put up the second booth, I had that for my artwork stuff. And, you know, when I first started I was I was selling stuff, trying to sell original drawings for $40 or somebody safe. You draw my cat or my dog and it'd be $40 And people would just be walking by and it asked me it'd be like if we're does it okay. Yeah, that's okay. And they just keep going and going. And I'm just like, didn't really understand, you know, like you say, I kind of thought my work was better than that and kind of thing. And then no, this many years go by, and I'm just, I don't even take, I don't even take custom work anymore. Personal commissions, because I just want them so busy, but to, to be honest, for somebody to order a personal commission, now you're looking at at least $1,000. So it's not too many people can understand, necessarily the reason to why, you know, unless you really appreciate art, they don't understand the whole cost perspective of it. And, you know, I spent this many years trying to perfect it and get better as I go. And, you know, there's a lot of time, when you look at my drawings, or you look at a lot of other different artists and their work with a lot of time put into each piece, you know, sometimes they can spend over 100 hours just on one piece. So, you know, to draw somebody's, like a child or a dog or something like that, when you put a lot of time and effort into it, when you time you figure out how many hours versus the cost of it, you're not not doing that? Well. So you know, if you can find a really good subject to draw, and you draw it, and then you can, you know, if you can sell different canvases or prints or whichever, then that means that that drawing that you did, even if you don't sell the original, you're you're gonna make all that extra, all the extra money off all their prints and the and the canvases and that kind of thing. So and it's to be honest with you, it's, it's a lot more enjoyable to draw something when you have, like, to me, I look around, I look at different photos, and I see something and I'm just like, that's what I want to draw. That's, that's cool, you know, and that's what I like, I like that I like doing stuff like that a lot more than somebody sending me a picture of the dog or cat, don't get me wrong, I love drawing animals. But sometimes when it's not your choice, it becomes more of a job, you know.
Stuart Murray 21:55
yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking is, as you were talking what was coming up. One I noted, you know how interesting it is from just starting off at the market, doing 40 $40 Commission's all the way to, you know, now it's like, we won't even really consider that because of the initial starting point of what value is there to offer. And that was just birthed out of nothing, just birthed out of this desire to create this desire to put something out in the world, and find that craft, which is, which is amazing. It really is. It's an inspirational story to have. But also, I think, of artistry, and, you know, in the music world, how some artists release these great albums, and all of a sudden, you know, three or four albums later, they turn to crap, because they're trying to make what people want, rather than, you know, pursuing.
Mark Seamans 22:52
You know, that's, that sounds, you know, sounds bad, but they're working too hard, right? Like, when you you're working in versus on, you know, and that's, that's, that's a, there's a big difference there, when you're working. Like when I'm into drawing a drawing that I want to do. I know people are gonna, well, I turn around, I look at it afterwards. And I'm just like, wow, that looks awesome. You know, and but when I'm kind of, you know, hate to say force, but when I get put into a position where I'm doing a personal commission for somebody, don't get me wrong, I get into it as much as I possibly can. But there's still just lacking that little bit of interest that you get, when you're, you know, I'm really testing myself, when I find a really cool photo that's got every single little detail, right to the person's skin pores, and you're trying to recreate that versus a lot of the times when you get a personal drawing from some or photo from somebody to draw. Most of the time, the quality of the photo isn't that great, you know, it's just taking like as a quick one from your cell phone or an older one. And it's just not the same level, like it's hard to draw something that's not a good quality, you know. So it's definitely a lot more exciting when you can, and that's how it is for everything business and anything that you have your own drive to be able to do what you want, versus somebody telling you, you got to do this, and you got to do that. And you're gonna get a lot more out of people, on people that are in the world with you, or if they work for you, or whichever, if you give them the opportunity to surprise you. You're going to be surprised because they want to for the most part, you know, if you tell them what to do, you're not going to get nearly as much out of people. So
Stuart Murray 24:25
I couldn't agree more mark. And you know, as a educator who had been in the public school system, I think we we need more of that ethos that virtue in the school system, rather than it's like, oh, I'm going to look outside of me for somebody to be the measure of what is good, then. Right? It's like, oh, no, what's that fire? You know, what's in curiosity inside and how I think it's building the scaffolding to allow people the tools to be able to pursue that not everybody is as such a a self starter like you are, I think if we could give people the tools and kind of nurture that sacred flame of curiosity that obviously was never extinguished within you, and then build it with that scaffolding to allow people to be able to create, then the world would be a different place,
Mark Seamans 25:17
I think 100% agree, you know, I always say, like, you know, it's surprising how many times you can be surprised with people. And that works in so many different ways. But really, people if they're given the form, like some form of opportunity to, to be able to really, you know, test themselves to see how far they can go with things, you know, as long as you can show them in some way that it's not going to, you're not going to fail, but people are just terrified of failing, right. But, you know, you're gonna fail a lot more times, and you're gonna succeed till you get to that point. And it's, you know, that's what I did, I failed hundreds and hundreds of times before I was able to kind of be at the point where I was like, Yeah, this really works. And this works well. And yeah, so like, say, we give people that opportunity to, to grow within themselves, and they're going to take whatever the company that they're with, or whatever they're striving for, and it's gonna be, you're gonna do amazing things with it. So,
Stuart Murray 26:22
absolutely. How do you deal with that failure? When, when those things come up? How do you deal with those situations?
Mark Seamans 26:34
That can be a hard one, you know, you definitely can be, can be tough. And, but at the same time, I always ask myself, like, Did I do the best I could do? What could I have done different to make this outcome better, you know, in that kind of things, like, obviously, you need to learn from any sort of experience like that with failure. But at the same time, you need to take it as a, as a tool to learn to do better. So sometimes you got to kind of step back. And even though in the moment, you're sitting there, like, Man, this, this is horrible. You know what I mean? But you got to step back, and you got to look at it and say to yourself, like, okay, that that really, that really sucked. But how, what can I learn from this to make sure that either one, it doesn't happen again, or to what doesn't happen is bad? And what can I do to to make it better, right? So that's, that's what it is a lot with me. And it took me a long time to be able to get to that point where, how to, how to get through that quicker, you know, because at some point, you're, when you fail, it's going to hurt. And you just need to understand that it's not, doesn't have to hurt forever, it can hurt for a short period of time, and then you get your get your bearings back and keep moving forward, you're gonna, you're gonna get back on top of that mountain a lot quicker than if you're just going to sit there and crawl in your own sorrow. Right.
Stuart Murray 27:59
Yeah, totally that I agree. I think it does get easier over time, perhaps because you start to build up a better sense of self worth. And these things too, or you know, that when you say failure is part of the process I in even in listening to you, I can tell that that's an embodied statement, not some theoretical idea. Right. So it's very interesting that way, you mentioned something earlier that I want to come back to talking about working in versus working on, could you explain a little bit more about that?
Mark Seamans 28:33
Well, you know, in business and everything, when you're, when you're working in the company, or in your business of whatever it is, you know, you're working in, like, if I'm building furniture, you know, I'm, I'm sitting in there, and I'm building a piece of furniture. Well, in that present moment, I'm working in the company, you know what I mean? Like I'm working in my business, but when it comes right down to it, if you really want to work on your company, that's when you got to step back and look at the bigger picture of what do I got to do to try to make this more than just me sitting here, building a coffee table, you know, if, if, you know, if I want to just sit there and build a coffee table for I want to just sit there with my drawings, for example, if I want to sit there and just be able to work on my drawings, without all the stress of everything else, I need to step back, which I've done over the years and worked on my company worked on the business and made sure okay, you know, what, my marketing, for example, my marketing, I'm not very good at it, you know, I'm not, I don't know how to do it. And to be honest with you, it's not where I would like to see me spend my time. So at that point, when I'm trying to work on the company, I outsource that to somebody. One of my things I always say, hire people smarter than you, you know, so if you don't want to waste time on it, and you want to move up that ladder a lot quicker. You got to figure out how to get things done without you being the person that's always going to do it right delegation and never anything like that, so you're really working on versus in is a huge, huge part for me, and, you know, obviously should be for any company. And if you're if you're sitting there, hands on hands getting dirty all the time, then you're, you're just holding yourself back for the most part for how quickly you can rise and keep going. So,
Stuart Murray 30:22
wow, I think that's a brilliant tip. It's interesting too, because I almost think the the visual that comes up for me there is almost kind of like light in a flashlight, where, you know, a flashlight works because it's takes the light bulb, but it directs that light in a certain way. And we live in this world that it almost kind of instills consciously or not this idea that we can do everything all the time. Right. And in order for that creative expression to reach its highest potential, we have to kind of be like that flashlight, to create the container so that we can direct direct creative energy into something that's constructive rather than,
Mark Seamans 31:06
yeah, yeah, no, I like that. Yeah, that's exactly Yeah, that's exactly what you need to do. So least that's what's worked for me. And I know that works for for companies and businesses. So
Stuart Murray 31:17
I love it, man, that's, that's really cool. So what are some of the key principles and values that guide the work you do in, in your art in your business?
Mark Seamans 31:30
To me, really, it's like, you know, the key values that I have, it's, it's really to just kind of, not worry about, you know, everything else around me, and to just strive to be, to tell the story of what I want to as far as a me as an artist, and people in their story. And, you know, I really, I just, I just really like looking at things and looking at people, and, like photographs, or whichever, and just really striving to tell the story of what that subject is that I'm currently working on. And that's really what kind of keeps me going is just, you know, testing myself challenging myself, pushing myself through. And like I say, really wanting to be a person that can be a good storyteller, when it comes to what you see me or my artwork, and what it relates to, you know, when you're drawing somebody that's, you know, I call it character, when you're watching something, or drawing somebody that's an elderly person, and they have all their, you know, all the different wrinkles and all that kind of stuff in their face. It's a story, it's a, it's an amazing story. In You know, sometimes you just have to sit there and you'll listen to it. And, you know, a lot of times listening to it, is when you just when you look at somebody, and you can see the wear and the tear, and the stories that you can only just imagine of what you can physically see. That's what really drives me, man, I just I really, like, I find people interesting, I find life interesting. And to be able to try to create that on paper, to me, is amazing. So, yeah, that's, I guess that's what drives me
Stuart Murray 33:15
Dude, that fires me up inside, you're speaking my language. I'll tell you that much. I'm curious to hear your take on it. As an artist, why is telling that story? Because you mentioned the word story at least four or five times there, why? Why is telling that story is so important to you as an artist.
Mark Seamans 33:36
I just find them so interesting. And it just takes your mind in so many different directions. You know, you think of the challenges that everybody's had in like, you know, we watch movies to see to see the story, right? But when you can really look into somebody, and you see the, the soul from their eyes, like I say, and then the the skin and everything doesn't doesn't matter if you're, you know, an elderly person, just sometimes the way that when you look into somebody's eyes, you can just you can see it, you know, and to me, it's just such an interesting and amazing thing to see that it's just why wouldn't you want to show that to the world? Why wouldn't you want to try to tell people that you know, and with me with my drawings is that's where exactly where I want to try to show it to. And I think that that's I think a lot of people do understand that, when it comes to help, especially how popular I've become as a as an artist and people, you know, people want me to try to recreate that story of their, of their dog or their grandparent or, or whichever. So that's, you know, they reach out, you know, it's easy to take a photo and put it up there but there's a certain amount of depth that you can get when you're recreating something like that. And withdrawing when you can do it, you can do it properly. You can really, you can really look in To the soul of somebody can really look into that person and really sit there and make you think like I say, I'm a thinker. And I find people interesting. And I find stories interesting. So if I'm looking at somebody, I look at their eyes, and I look at all their details, all the characteristics of their, their face, and their body language and everything. And I'm just, I try to figure out what their story is. To me. It's just such an interesting thing to, you know, your imagination can run wild with people and, you know, photos and drawings and all that kind of stuff. So I just, I guess, in some ways you can, you can almost call me a storyteller to a certain degree that that's what I like to try to do. Right with my artwork. So yeah,
Stuart Murray 35:41
I think that's brilliant that and I would absolutely call you a storyteller. I think. And it's interesting, too, because what comes up for me there is, I almost am teleported back to our primitive ancestors who sat around the fire. I think so much of human evolution came from stories, right? Like, just from people, literally sitting around a fire and telling something and going beyond the words of the story. But to what that story does for us the emotion that it can evoke in us this sense of curiosity, you talk about the soul or the spirit, like this idea that we are something more than this little meatsuit on a little finite journey, right? There's something when you start to think, you know, it's like, oh, what happens when I die? What happens all these things, but there's just this feeling that when I see art, even when I see your work mark, there's a, there's a particular like aliveness that I feel that just comes through me, it's amazing.
Mark Seamans 36:45
And that's exactly what I tried to achieve, right. And you know, when you hear that from people, but it's nice to hear, obviously, but like I say, at the same time, you know, I have a lot of my original artworks hanging on my wall, in even though I've drawn it, even though I spent hours and hours, on certain pieces, when I can come back to it at a different time. It's like when you're rewatching a movie, or you're reading a book, or anything like that all sudden, it's like, you look at it, or you're watching it or whatever, and you feel like you just learned a new part of it. Right? So that's the same thing with me with my with my drawings is that if I turn around, I walk away, and I come back to day two or week or month later, and all sudden, as I look at it, it's like, I look at it, and I can remember part of my story too, right? So yeah, it's it's really interesting, when you just keeps going from one, you know, one generation to another with stories, and you didn't always have podcasts, we didn't always have YouTube videos, we didn't have all that kind of stuff. So it's, it's really neat to, you know, legendary ways of trying to, to hear somebody's story was really drawing all that stuff. So
Stuart Murray 37:57
totally, it's amazing. Do you have a paint, there are a drawing that you have, or multiple that kind of stand out to you as some of your favorite? I imagine that's tremendously hard.
Mark Seamans 38:11
Well, you know, what's funny, in the I think you'll get this answer, actually, from a lot of artists. And it's really weird, because like, even with my commission pieces, and all that stuff, is that, you know, my favorite piece is literally the piece that I'm working on in the moment. You know, I really take a lot of time and effort into each piece. And if you have the right photo, like I say, you get extremely excited about that particular piece. Like, you know, I drew a rhino there. Actually, yeah, so, wow. Yeah. So I drew that I draw I drew that Rhino with with pastel. And to be honest with you is one of my first pastel drawings I've ever done. And, you know, when I drew that, that was, every time I've get a minute to step away. That's what that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to be working on that piece. And it was just the most exciting thing going on. And then you know, now, I'm currently working on a Conor McGregor drawing. And, you know, that's my favorite piece. But I'd say I keep pushing myself to the next level with with each piece that I do. And, you know, I feel like, every time I do something, I feel like this is my best piece that I've been I've done so far. And it's my favorite, right? So today it's Conor McGregor. Next week, who knows? Depends on what I decide to draw.
Stuart Murray 39:43
That's amazing, man. It there's something for me. Where when I meet people it doesn't. The actual activity is less relevant than that underlying fire that motivates that activity. There's something Because I'm somebody who's certainly when you're talking about that, thinking a lot, and always wanting to transmute that into something to be of service, you know, there's this fire in me that's lit and just hearing you talk, I don't really draw much. But it You're certainly just sparking my fire of desire man.
Mark Seamans 40:23
And to be honest, like it doesn't even, you know, it doesn't matter if you're an artist or not really, it's just a matter of that can be applied to so many different different areas in anybody's life. You know what I mean? Like, doesn't matter what you do, you know, you'd be, you could be a mechanic, you could be whatever software, you can build software, you know what I mean? If you have that drive, no matter what you do, then you're gonna be able to create amazing things. So
Stuart Murray 40:49
totally, I think it's one of the key aspects of a Life Fully lived.
Mark Seamans 40:55
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, for sure.
Stuart Murray 40:59
So, Mark, the work you've been doing is absolutely incredible. Like your your paintings, I know that most recent one with Conor McGregor and doing it on the negative is just a work of art, I think you have to be had, but I'm wondering where what's it going to look like as you move forward? Because no doubt, the way you are, things will continue to pivot and grow.
Mark Seamans 41:23
While you know exactly like I was saying there earlier, you know, when I really tried to challenge myself and I tried to, I like creating. So you know, same thing with bar work, it's different. Like I try to create new things, I want to try to create new ideas. Like when I was building my furniture, and I was building those kids beds, I was building stuff that you didn't see, right. So you know, what I'd really like to try to get into, I don't want to say try, because I find a lot of big fan of the word tribe, what I really what I'm going to be getting into, as time goes by is I'm going to be doing more original art pieces, like stuff that isn't necessarily just a photo that you could see, you know what I mean? Something that when somebody would go by, and they could look at it, they'd say, like, you know, that's, that's a Merck Siemens piece, like, that's something that Merck, Siemens Drew, you know, to me, that's really what I strive for. And just to kind of get out there more and try to, you know, have more of a world reach, like, right now, I've definitely been shipping, we've been shipping all over the world with, with my artwork, you know, I've shipped to China, I've shipped UK, down in the States, I ship a lot to west, a lot of stuff out west. Yeah, like Ireland everywhere. And it's, it's pretty cool. So, you know, I'd really like to try to get out there more and just really let my roots get further and, you know, looking more into, you know, wholesale stuff and that kind of thing to trying to work at, like say, when I can create actual original pieces of something that you don't, you couldn't just see a photo of something that just is completely out of my imagination type thing. And that people hopefully will be interested in really like and want to buy and put on their wall and then, you know, get into more of a wholesale theme too, so that I can literally just sit there and just draw whatever I want to draw in the moment, whether I'm in a good mood or bad mood or whatever, have that story show on the on the canvas or on the paper or whatever I'm working on that day, and then be able to put my story into other people's houses and homes and businesses and all that kind of thing, right? So I'm really hoping to get this rolling into, you know, in the wholesale world as well. As you know, social media I sell quite a bit on social media. So just to kind of get the word out and keep growing and I like that's how I like to be man I like to grow and I like to move forward in the world's limit. Right? So
Stuart Murray 43:53
that's very clear that you'd like to grow and move things forward. I think the world will be a better place with with more people with that those same aspirations for sure. So where can people find the work you're doing if they're interested in checking things out? Or even maybe purchasing some of that?
Mark Seamans 44:13
Well, right now my biggest following that I have, I guess is through Facebook. I have my art by page on their merch, Siemens artwork. Or also I have my website at www.markseamans.com. You know I have a lot of different pages different places where you can see my work but you know if you go to either the Facebook or even my website there's different links there that you can click on that shows you have you know, Instagram and all that kind of thing so I you can find me anywhere it's really in just a matter of you go online you type my name in which is pretty original name to you and you should be should pop up with a lot of different places to find my work so
Stuart Murray 44:57
amazing and I'll make sure those are listed for Everybody in the show notes below so that they can all tap right into that. And last question for you, what is your big vision? How do you see humanity moving forward? To me, it's,
Mark Seamans 45:15
you know, I really think, you know, people to, you know, stop, stop trying or stop just thinking, you know, start trying to do things more, you know, to me, that's kind of where it is, you know, even if you can take things or something that you've always thought about would be fun or neat, or whichever, and try to knock, you know, something off your bucket list. Like, even if you tried to aim for one thing a month or one thing every two weeks or one thing a week or something like that, like, you know, people always say to me, you know, I wish, I wish I could draw, I'd love to try drawing or something like that, we'll stop trying, you know, start doing this kind of how I like to see it. And that's, you know, that's how I am. And I think that, you know, not that I know all the answers by any means. But I just think that if people, people think that it's impossible to do stuff, because they haven't, they just they either they try or they don't try, they need to do it. You know, to me, it's got to get rid of the trying part of it and just move forward and get outside of your comfort zone. And then next thing you know, you're going to be doing something that you really enjoy, and you're going to realize, oh, I can do that again. Then you do the next thing. Then they do the next thing, that kind of thing. So
Stuart Murray 46:26
hell yeah, brother. That's very Master Yoda. Thank you. Appreciate that. Listen, man. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you. I feel really inspired and feel the drive to go out and do something go create. Thanks.
Mark Seamans 46:45
Appreciate it, buddy. This was fun.
Stuart Murray 46:52
I hope you enjoy this episode of the connected movement podcast with my guest, Mark Siemens. Once again, a big thank you to our sponsor, Karen Phytoplankton. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts. And you can also find me on Facebook and YouTube pet the connected movement. Thanks again and see you next Monday.