Evans is a British artist who grew up on a farm in the mountains of Wales. He hand-etches leather hides by knife, removing less than a tenth of a millimeter of the leather surface. It’s a painstaking technique requiring incredible patience and extreme attention to detail. There is no room for error, as a slice too deep can not be undone. Mark’s medium is very unique in the art world and something he really stumbled upon by accident. When he was young, his grandfather gave him a knife and as Mark puts it, he fell in love. As a young man, he carved into the trees located around the farm. Soon he had secretly collected a sock drawer of knives and had acquired a delicate skill in their usage. In 2000, after a vain attempt to wash blood off a brand new leather jacket, he scratched the stain off with a knife, revealing the lighter shades of suede beneath. It was his “Eureka” moment. To save the jacket, he decided to turn that scratch into a portrait of Jimi Hendrix. When several people, including a buyer from Harrods, stopped him in the street to ask where he had bought the coat, it finally clicked – this was his art. He had recently graduated with a Fine Art degree but painting wasn’t getting him anywhere. Three years of experimentation followed before football stars and other celebrities began commissioning work. Then the financial crisis hit in 2007-08 and nearly ended his newfound career. A commission by multi-billionaire Russian businessman, Oleg Deripaska, was cancelled when the businessman lost $21 billion and cancelled the palace he was building in Moscow. Other commissions were lost too. The crash became inspiration though and he began exploring images symbolic of the financial meltdown. Dollar bills are parodied and a ferocious bull together with pigmy warriors sporting Rolex watches attack Wall Street. When a British entrepreneur agreed to pay Evans to produce up to 18 pieces for an exhibition depicting his vision of power and greed, hedge fund managers were among those who rushed to snap them up. Some of his amazing work is shown in the pictures below. You can see more at Mark Evans Art. Be sure to go to the “Film” section and watch “Kingdom Vs. Empire”, a short film showing the making of one of his pieces. The detail is just mind blowing.

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