Mark Stoddart

Graphic Designer / Illustrator / Artist, Scarborough, ON. Born: Nottingham, UK.

After graduating from Sheridan College, Mark embarked on a successful career as a graphic designer, until the death of a close friend compelled him to return to his true calling, painting. His work has since been exhibited at several galleries and private events around Toronto, and his portfolio of paintings of Jazz icons have received widespread acclaim.

Mark’s artwork combines a passion for music and sports with a spirit social activism and a commitment to “educate, empower and unite.” His paintings reflect his personal commitment to celebrate the passion, struggle and accomplishments of Black entertainers and athletes. Mark’s Homage series is part of his 40@40 Collection, which has included music icons such as, Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix, and includes more than 20 paintings of legendary athletes portraits of Jim Brown, Fergie Jenkins, John Carlos, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Satchel Paige and legendary Canadian athlete, Harry Jerome. The paintings depict the familiar stories of iconic Black athletes who broke colour barriers and came to stand as symbols of American and Canadian culture. The history of the Black athlete in sports in many ways mirrors the social history of Blacks in North America.

While growing up, one of Mark’s favourite pastimes was collecting and designing T-shirts. Although it was a childhood hobby, his young entrepreneurial mind was laying the groundwork for future aspirations. The LIWI (1968) T-shirt is a ‘konceptual’ campaign that runs with the slogan, “LIVE IT WEAR IT.” The mission of the LIWI68 T-shirt campaign is to improve lives by mobilizing the community to create positive change. As a visual communicator, Mark feels it necessary to do more than just convey information; it has become his personal mission to create art that moves people to act.

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Favourite Book: The Alchemist, written by my favourite author, Paulo Coelho, is a beautiful fable about following your dreams. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Favourite quote: “The imprint you will leave behind as a VISIONARY in this universe will have nothing to do with your business card; it will have everything to do with your integrity.” – Mark Stoddart

Given the chance, what would you love to do that you have not done yet? Take a trip to the motherland – Africa.

Who inspires you? Our ancestors and their enduring strength. The pyramid builders, physicians, metaphysicians, alchemists and mathematicians. And the great men and women who are alive today – the athletes, musicians, composers, writers and activists.

Why do you do what you do? Being a visionary is no small feat. Historically, they are stars that burn so bright and so hot that they burn out much too soon. They leave behind a brilliant legacy, but usually are not around to bask in that brilliance. So I feel compelled to do more than just convey information. It has become my personal mission to create art that moves people to act. All of us have a stake in each other’s success and likewise all people, no matter their position or means, have a role to play in advancing the common good.

Motto: Free your mind. Love yourself. Dare to go against the grain. Live your life as it was meant to be lived.

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