The GCCA is always honored to celebrate a long standing member in our Artist Profile feature and we are also enthusiastic to introduce you to new members as well. One artist couple who has recently joined our group is Mark and Diane Weisbeck.
Having relocated to the Greenville area just over one year ago, the Weisbecks immediately became members of the GCCA. Mark is a native of Buffalo, New York, Diane was born in the Bronx. Their intricate story of both their separate and combined careers begins in Buffalo. Diane was just finishing her B.S. in Art Education as a certified art educator, Mark had recently graduated with a dual major of architecture and anthropology from the University of Buffalo. The couple moved to New York City and Mark began designing and handcrafting modern lighting fixtures in their kitchen, which were carried in galleries around the country while Diane began her fashion career as an apparel buyer for Lord & Taylor.
After a few years, the couple heard about a 3000 square foot loft space that had just become available and Mark and Diane returned to Buffalo. Mark continued to design and produce award winning contemporary products, focusing on desk accessories, lighting and luxury leather goods. At this stage the Museum of Modern Art expressed interest in one of Mark’s innovative magnifying glass designs and ordered over 2000 for their design catalog, eventually becoming a best seller for the MoMA.
Having seen Mark’s design work featured in many magazine articles and newspaper publications, a Buffalo family approached him. They appreciated his artistic sense, could he design a memorial sculpture as a tribute to their daughter? It was at this moment that Mark’s career path began to evolve with an emphasis on sculpture.
Feeding their taste for the nomadic, the Weisbecks followed job stints that lead them to Boston and Chicago. In 2000, while in Chicago, Mark won the Changchun, China International Sculpture Symposium with his design for a 30 foot tall sculpture entitled, “The Expanding Influence of Peace.” The sculpture was built in Changchun using blueprints provided by Mark. The sculpture now stands in the world’s largest public sculpture garden.
Soon after the construction of Mark’s sculpture in China, the Weisbecks relocated to a 1930’s lakefront bungalow on one of New York State’s smaller Finger Lakes, not far from Rochester, New York. In 2002, Mark won a competition held by the New York State Department of Transportation to design and construct twelve large scale light sculptures to be placed atop the pylons of three new bridges along the I-490 Highway in downtown Rochester. At the time, this was the largest art commission fully funded by New York State in history and has gone on to garner many awards for the NYSDOT.
During this phase of their careers, Diane was working as the Director of Retail for a Rochester museum, sourcing global products and designing private label merchandise that promoted the mission of the institution. A number of the products she designed based on historic objects and artifacts in the museum’s collection were purchased by The American Museum of Natural History, for sale in their gift shop. Her success with international trend analysis and creating exclusive branded items lead to her positon as the Global Brand Strategist for an international IT company.
With her fashion, retail and luxury goods experience, Diane began combining her knowledge of high end global markets to write print and digital articles for luxury magazines, web content for international companies entering the U.S. market and Kickstarter campaigns for luxury start-up brands.
In 2006, Mark was invited by the Beijing, China Olympics Landscape Sculpture Committee as the only artist to represent New York State and asked to submit a sculpture proposal for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The sculpture Mark designed, entitled, “The Celebration of Ren,” was envisioned as a 50 foot tall arch based on a Chinese pictograph of the letter “ren,” which translates to people, or humanity. The concept of the sculpture is a three dimensional calligraphic brush stroke. The Olympic Committee created a number of copies of Mark’s sculpture model which then went on tour to over 50 cities throughout China and worldwide. The Chinese people voted for Mark’s sculpture and it won the prestigious “Excellent Works” Award. Diane likes to say that Mark is a true Art Olympian.
At approximately the same time Mark became the winner of the Corn Hill Landing sculpture competition, in Rochester. His 33 foot tall waterfront
sculpture “Water Spirits” was commissioned by the New York State Department of State to stand as the monumental signature gateway sculpture to the City of Rochester, NY. While Mark completed the construction, Diane organized the logistics of transporting the 2 ½ ton sculpture, arranging the flatbed truck, the crane and police escort to the site. She also coordinated the ribbon cutting during the ceremony and rode up 33 feet in the cherry picker to cut the ribbons that she had affixed to the top of the sculpture two hours prior.
The Weisbecks participate in community service whenever possible. In 2010 Mark was asked to speak about the process of fabricating public art and to create a sculpture for a high school in West
Irondequoit, NY. Mark collaborated with all 85 high school art students to produce a 10 foot tall aluminum sculpture which was installed in the library of the school. Every student participated in the decoration of the sculpture. The Weisbecks felt that for the students to understand the entire process of creating public art, the students, in addition to working together to create the sculpture, should be involved in the unveiling ceremony. The students became completely captivated by the entire process; writing music and poetry for the ceremony, producing a printed program, selecting the speakers, arranging for the unveiling and providing refreshments. The 85 students were incredibly proud of their contribution to the fabrication of sculpture. The Weisbecks relate that it was a moving experience for them to see the students so enthusiastic.
Other major sculpture works designed and created by Mark Weisbeck include the 13 foot tall “Blast Off!” rocket sculpture which stands in front of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York, as well as major wall mounted and free standing sculptures for the corporate, hospitality, healthcare, non-profit and residential markets. In addition to exterior building wall sculptures and large scale public art Mark also fashions smaller, 2-D and 3-D sculptures for all environments, both interior and exterior. Mark always crafts scale models using the actual materials to make it easier for the client to visualize the site specific sculptures.
The Weisbecks are now happily settled into their new home, affectionately called “Happydale,” in Greenville, NY, with a charming babbling brook and wonderful, lush forest that they explore on an almost-daily basis. Mark is presently working on adding a studio/gallery to the property to house the series of large scale wall mounted sculptures that is his current project. At present, Diane is working remotely on the interior design of a newly constructed dentist’s office in Wisconsin. The theme, “The Art of Nature,” will celebrate global inclusion and feature Fair Trade artwork that she has sourced from artists and cultures around the world.
It seems that the Weisbeck’s creative juices are practically overflowing in their new home in the Hudson Valley. They have asked that you introduce yourself the next time you spot them at an upcoming GCCA event, so they can learn about your story, now that you know theirs.
Visit www.weisbeckdesign.com and learn more about Weisbeck Design.
Mark Weisbeck building “Water Spirits” and at the Unveiling Ceremony with Diane Weisbeck in Cherry Picker set to cut the ribbon.