He was big in the 1980s in New York. He paints figures with no face in a very simplified way. His studio in New York is called Kostabi-World, clearly referencing Andy Warhol’s “factory”. The story is that MK doesn’t do any of his own paintings – he was paying his girlfriend, an art student $10 per hour to produce his work and then selling them for thousands of dollars. The art is just as much about manipulation of the media as visual art per se. I remember his name was mentioned on an episode of Miami Vice and I laughed wondering what machinations were undertaken to obtain that bit of product placement.
“All this is much easier if the paintings are good. If they’ve got punch. I’m told that my market is mostly made up of married couples under 40. They’re drawn to the work like a magnet and they can handle the price. The subject matter speaks, the blending is perfect (or at least good enough), the colors sing and lure (or at least aren’t muddy), the contrasts are clear and logical, the forms bulge and interlock, the shadows absorb and diffuse, there is mystery, there is clarity. It’s about our world. And it’s all committee-approved and they can’t get enough of it. A good Kostabi is a perfect product. Who wouldn’t want one? I mean really” – Mark Kostabi