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Mark Sutherland

My purpose as a model shipbuilder is to express traditional 19th century marine design and aesthetics through the lens of my own experience and artistic sensibility. My desire is to enhance the expressive elements of the maritime arts through my own design interpretations while being true to historical accuracy, form and function.

My professional career as a craftsman began in 1979, when I was twenty-five. I had been preparing for this since age four, when I realized that ships and the sea were the major interest in my life. In the 18 years since 1979, I have been immersed in the same imagery: ships and boats of the 19th and early 20th century, along with scrimshaw artifacts, decorative ship carving, and figureheads.

A major influence on my work has been my direct contact with antique marine folk art and scrimshaw through conservation and restoration projects I have done. Because this activity requires matching construction and paint styles, it has helped me develop my own style through the synthesis of all that I have learned. Consequently, I try to impart an antique aesthetic into my new work. What I have learned from the disassembly and restoration of these artifacts is virtually unobtainable through institutional study.

All my work is based on a long tradition of maritime ways and knowledge. Specifically, wooden ship and boat design and construction, masts and rigging, figureheads and decorative carving, color schemes and maritime history. I have assimilated all this through research and working on period artifacts. To maintain integrity with these maritime traditions, my work must be historically accurate as well as aesthetically pleasing.