My name is Mark, I grew up in Michigan and found my way to Switzerland. There I became an Artist/Photographer and a Doktor of Science, without any particular intention to do so. I like visual thinking as much (probably more) as numbers and materials science, and this blog documents my art and photography activities.

My view of knowledge and learning was honed in the academic research world, where the free flow and communication of new ideas is the central point of societal advancement. So it seems natural for me to publish a blog centered on what I learn about: creativity, photography, and the changing world of the internet. I publish what I learn on these topics, just like I do for smart materials. I also regularly attend blog conferences in Switzerland and Germany, generally presenting about photography and visual images on the internet, and how these things enable communication and the flow of ideas on the internet and in the blogsphere.

I got into photography around 1998, when my parents took me and my sister on a trip to Alaska. Perviously I had learned Black and White darkroom techniques and originally started my photography trip at Detroit Country Day School in Mighigan. In Alaska I shot with a Kalimar SLR, the cheapest, crapiest, lowest quality photography instrument ever manufactured. Even my Holga/Woca is better than my Kalimar. I moved up to a Minolta 7 35mm camera for a trip to Bolivia in 2002, and now shoot with an assortment of gear, including a Ricoh GR digital, medium format Fuji GA645 and GA645W, Canon D2000, Minolta 7D, and the Sony A900. I got into off-camera lighting and flash techniques around 2006 and now am focusing on using Photoshop to bring out those final tones and colors in my images.

I am currently based in Winterthur, Switzerland and work out of my apartment studio.  If you like what you see feel free to contact me for specific projects.

I’m still writing my artist statement…

The American Peyote Story

The American Peyote conept has little to do with small white pellets spawned from certain cactus plants growing in the southwestern deserts of America. The name came into my mind one summer night at a bar on Woodward Ave. in Detroit called the Magic Stick. Then, late one night while building up a finite element model at my job I decided to start a website to supplement my journal writing.
I had just returned from South Dakota where I’d started reading the book “Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions.” When first introduced by European traders, whiskey was believed by Native Americans to induce visions. Therefore, whiskey was called Mni Wakan, translated as holy water. For some folks alcohol and drugs have become the easy answer to distract their minds from the search for purpose and religion in life. I have found little need for such foolishness, here photography, writing and sober creativity form the framework of expression.

Physically Peyote is a drug, which might melt the brain, but spiritually it represents a door – which when walked through, (not unlike Blake’s Doors of Perception) helps to heal the soul (so I’ve read). The American in American Peyote represents the core influence of my art, photography, and writing – I’m an American and my perceptions in art, science, and creativity has been heavily influenced by the country of my birth. I’ve never subscribed to the notion that drugs are required for enlightenment, and instead take the less traveled route, opening creative ambitions using tried and developed skills – being unsettled with the words, art and images I see day to day and am on a quest to make my own – using the creative medium to heal the soul.

American Peyote is a collection of distinctly American inspiration with a focus on photography and writing. Writing, photography, thoughts, ideas, all inspired, composed and published in my interpretation of the American Dream. In short, American art in words and pictures that seeks to heal the soul; or if nothing else seeks to entertain and induce thought.

The focus will change, I’m interested in storytelling, which takes the form of essays, gear reviews, photos, economic principle, political forces, imagery, and whatever else I dream up.  Eventually it may become more video-photo integrated.  I write about these things because I feel a desire to, and because it doesn’t exist anywhere else in such a form.  Those who follow these pages might read about trips in the mountains, trips through photographic lighting techniques, and ways to enable creativity and the drive to develop the thinking tools you need to create the art you’d like to look at day to day.

-American Peyote Executive Editor