Mark Franz is a designer, artist, and educator whose exhibitions and primary research projects involve the creation of interactive installations that reflect on issues of violence, dislocation, and other social constructions important in contemporary cultures. Recently this work has been exhibited as part of the PhxArtcade in conjunction with The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Art of Video Games presented by the Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, AZ and at the Leuphana Centre for Digital Cultures in Luneburg, Germany. Franz’s secondary research involves creating custom hardware and software for audiovisual performance and installation, and references the art historical current of visual music commonly discussed as part of animation history. This work has been exhibited at Pixelerations at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University in Providence, RI, the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, IL and the Currents International New Media Festival in Santa Fe, NM. As the Chair of the Graphic Design area, in the School of Art + Design at Ohio University, Franz teaches courses in Graphic Design, New Media, Visual Systems, and Interaction Design.
My art is informed by two separate disciplines: Literature and Design. In regard to my research in Literature, it has been common for me to focus on 20th century American Literature, and its preoccupations with subculture, moral climate change, and political disenchantment. These ideas are prominent in my research and artwork, and it has become my pleasure to find unique ways to communicate these ideas visually. Poetry, as an excellent model for the non‐linear narrative, as well as its ability to concentrate imagery, is a primary source for inspiration in this regard. These ideas provide a strong foundation for pursuing further development in the design world.
My interest in design began primarily in the graphic arts as a chance to bring poetic imagery to life and was extended, as it became a possibility to reach a large audience through innovative design. The field of design has been plagued by its power in advertisement and its ability to be profitable. However, several artists throughout recent history have been successful at overcoming this obstacle and have been able to use design as a tool for communicating social responsibility. I strive to do the same. In the field of motion graphics in particular, motion design has been used extensively as a tool for storytelling and poetic expression. Inside these opportunities is where my art comes to fruition. It is often stated that people desire to hear the same stories told in different ways. While this may be too simplistic, it is true that there are a few themes in literary history that are often repeated, themes that resonate a uniquely human experience. My artwork works to capture these themes in a non‐linear fashion as a marriage of poetry and design. Often this proves to be a difficult endeavor, but it is this challenge that helps me stay passionate and diligent as an artist.