Clay captured Mark Yasenchack’s imagination when he was 6 years old. The grey oil-based modeling clay that never dries out, fascinated him. Whether it was buildings with miniature people, spaceships with miniature aliens, or sharks eating miniature scuba divers he worked with the clay for hours and his parents worried he was nuts. Later, referring to the clear overlapping pages of an encyclopedia, he made cadavers with all their organs (floating them in a vinegar and baking soda froth) and his parents were relieved he wasn’t into drugs.
Yasenchack is grateful for the influence of his Aunt Dee, a creative do-it-yourself teacher/artist, and his grandfather Pete, a work-aholic who could do anything. Of course Yasenchack’s had to rebel against all of it, frustrated by Dee’s perfectionism and Pete who had little time for anything but work. But now he realizes the work he does differs very little from the work they did; Yasenchack crafts things for people and wants the work to be excellent like Dee and find the same peacefulness in working as Pete did.
It was the time spent in the ceramics studio during his final year at Baldwin-Wallace College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, which started his career as a ceramic artist. The focus on glazed wheel thrown shapes gradually evolved into hand built vessels with small details of glaze.
New materials and subjects intrigue Yasenchack while he works with collage and encaustics. The ability to overlap images, thereby linking them visually and relating their meanings, inspires him. Working with words, from a prose poems he writes, and text fragments from old books, he can address some of the more personal themes and idea.