Growing up in Northeast Florida, Mark Lester drew inspiration at an early age from local natural environments. This interest translated over time into creating work that attempted to capture the sense of expansiveness and depth he experienced in these arboreal settings. Lester began pursuing a degree in Fine Arts from UNF in 2016 and was selected as MOCA's Student Artist-in-Residence in 2018. During this time these ideas began to catalyze more clearly in his work, and the residency became a formative experience for his development of construction methods and use of materials. After graduating in 2019, Lester took several years off to work and travel in Europe and is currently back in Jacksonville teaching ceramics and making his own work. He will be the ceramic artist in residence at the Guttenberg Center for the Arts in Guttenberg New Jersey for the summer 2022 term.
“My work is a blend of sculptural and functional ceramics, designed both for wall spaces and to be viewed in the round. Using clay as a base medium and incorporating other media as needed, I construct layered pieces that reveal just enough interior to suggest the existence of hidden spaces beyond what is immediately visible. The imagination is thus enabled to engage with the piece as an unknown and expansive environment.”