Mark Westervelt is a painter and native of Kansas City, Missouri. He specializes in large canvas pieces as well as small, intricate designs assembled using dried paint chips. Westervelt has taught his craft to aspiring artists from all over the Kansas City area and held exhibitions in galleries across the country. As co-founder of The Left Bank, an alternative art gallery established in 1987, Westervelt helped put the Crossroads District on the map as a destination for all things arts and culture.
What makes KC a great environment for creativity and the arts?
What I’ve seen is that Kansas City is a really affordable city. Art takes time and sacrifice and you can achieve that in KC easily because you can live well for not a lot of money compared to other places and still practice your craft. There’s always been a strong arts community in KC but now you have places like the Crossroads – which went from primarily a business district to now a vibrant arts area with artists living and working there.
What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
The neighborhood I live in now. I’m in the Westside neighborhood. I’ve lived here for the last 20 years and it’s great. I can see three generations of architecture right outside of my window.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
I enjoy the mountains…maybe not one specific set although the Southwest is probably my favorite geographic area.
What's your most treasured possession?
I collect indigenous artifacts and antiques. I have a lot of museum quality artifacts. Of course my laptop has my entire life’s work on it so it’s pretty important as well.
Who is your favorite hero from fiction?
Probably any arts character from fiction.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
I’m amazed at Picasso…an amazing creative force. I looked up to him not so much from a personal life standpoint but as a creator of art. But, there are so many other artists that I’ve been impressed by so it would be hard to pick one.
When and where are you happiest?
I’m happiest in the studio and I’m in that moment where I lose track of time and the process takes over and I’m just a conduit. That’s an interesting place to get to…you can think you might be in that moment but until you’ve had enough experience to compare it, you don’t know.