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Mark Jenkins (artist)

Mark Jenkins (born 1970) is an American artist who makes sculptural street installations. Jenkins' practice of street art is to use the "street as a stage" where his sculptures interact with the surrounding environment including passersby who unknowingly become actors.[1] His installations often draw the attention of the police.[2][3][4] His work has been described as whimsical, macabre, shocking and situationist.[5][6] Jenkins cites Juan Muñoz as his initial inspiration.[7][8]

Mark Jenkins
Embed Series No1. (Mark Jenkins installation).jpg
Mark Jenkins' Embed sculpture.
BornOctober 7, 1970
Known forPublic art, installation art, street art, sculpture

In addition to creating art, he also teaches his sculpture techniques and installation practices through workshops. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

Life and CareerEdit

Storker Project

Jenkins was born in Alexandria, Virginia, but first began experimenting with tape as a casting medium for creating sculpture in 2003 while living in Rio de Janeiro. Wrapping the tape in reverse and then resealing it, he was able to make casts of objects including himself. One of his first street projects was a series of clear tape self casts that he installed on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Jenkins became immediately interested in the reactions of the people and considered his installation as much a social experiment as an art project.[9]

Tape Giraffe

In 2004 he moved back to Washington DC and in 2005 he began working with Sandra Fernandez on the Storker Project, a series in which clear casts of toy babies are installed in different cities to interact with their surrounding environment.[10] Jenkins and Fernandez continued to create other installations using tape animals--dogs playing in litter, giraffes nibbling plastic bags from trees, and ducks swimming in gutters. Other outdoor projects which explore culture jamming include Meterpops, Traffic-Go-Round, and Signs of Spring.[11][12]

In 2006 Jenkins began the Embed Series. The tape casts were filled with newspaper and cement and dressed to create hyper realistic sculptural duplicates of himself and Fernandez. These new lifelike sculpture installations created confusion causing some passers-by to make calls to 911 which caused police and sometimes rescue units to arrive on his "stage".[13][14]

Signs of Spring

In 2008 Jenkins collaborated with Greenpeace on an awareness campaign, Plight of the Polar Bears, to draw attention to the melting Arctic ice caps. Jenkins created realistic figures appearing to be homeless people but with plush polar bear heads. The installations resulted in bomb squads being deployed to destroy the works subsequently creating controversy over the regulation of public space in the post 9/11 era.[15][16][17]

Jenkins has participated in public art events Interferencia (Barcelona, 2008), BELEF (Belgrade, 2009), Dublin Contemporary 2011, Inside Out (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, 2009),Living Layers (Rome, 2012) and Les Vraisemblables (Nuit Blanche, Paris, 2014).

Indoors Jenkins has exhibited internationally in galleries and museums as well as continuing his Embed Series in public settings such as cafeterias, schools and building lobbies. Solo shows include Glazed Paradise at Diesel Gallery (Tokyo, 2008),[18] Meaning is Overrated at Carmichael Gallery (Los Angeles, 2009), Terrible Horrible at Ruttkowski;68 Gallery (Cologne, 2014), Moment of Impact at Lazarides Gallery (London, 2015)[19], and Remix at L'Arsenal (Montreal, 2016).

In 2018, he and Fernandez created Project84, in London, England.[20][21][22] The work was designed to raise awareness of adult male suicide.[20]

Commercially, Jenkins collaborated with the fashion brand Balenciaga[23] at stores including Colette (boutique) and Selfridges.


Publication by JenkinsEdit

  • The Urban Theater: Mark Jenkins (2012) ISBN 3899553969

Publications with contributions by JenkinsEdit


  1. ^ The Surreal Art of an Urban Prankster The Huffington Post, April 16, 2012
  2. ^ Testing the Limits: Artist's project misunderstood right off the bat, but it drew attention to art Winston-Salem Journal, October 11, 2009
  3. ^ Police remove another piece of artist's work Winston-Salem Journal, October 15, 2009
  4. ^ Artist's mannequin awaits permission to startle people Winston-Salem Journal, November 3, 2009
  5. ^ Urban Theater mb!, April 17, 2012
  6. ^ Don't call 911! The terrifying life-like sculptures bringing panic to the streets The Daily Mail, Feb 2, 2012
  7. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  8. ^ The Surreal Art of an Urban Prankster The Huffington Post, April 16, 2012
  9. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  10. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  11. ^ Mark Jenkins's Traffic-Go-Round BoingBoing, March 14, 2006
  12. ^ Signs of Spring Laughing Squid, March 31, 2008
  13. ^ That's Mark Jenkins All Over The Washington Post, July 23, 2006
  14. ^ A Minute With: Street artist Mark Jenkins Reuters, February 1, 2012
  15. ^ As Arctic Sea Ice reaches 2008 low, Street Art project highlights shared fate of polar bears, humanity Greenpeace USA, September 18, 2008
  16. ^ Homeless Polar Bears Ask for Change The Huffington Post, September 17, 2008
  17. ^ Mark Jenkins homeless polar bear prank BoingBoing, September 30, 2008
  18. ^ Mark Jenkins and Miho Kinomura: Glazed Paradise The Japan Times, June 19, 2008
  19. ^ "Lazinc – Mark Jenkins - Moment of Impact". Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  20. ^ a b Barr, Sabrina (26 March 2018). "Harrowing sculptures appear on top of ITV buildings to raise awareness around male suicide". The Independent. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  21. ^ Marris, Sharon (27 March 2018). "Project 84: Charity CALM calls for action on male suicide". Sky News. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Eighty four harrowing suicide statues appear on roof of ITV studio". Evening Standard. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  23. ^ "The First Demna-Designed US Balenciaga Store is as Off the Wall as Expected". Retrieved 6 June 2017.

External linksEdit