Mark Stephenson - Carolina Country

Mark Stephenson

Painting | Misenheimer, NC

Mark Stephenson

Photo by Hannah Miller

Though he was drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil, Misenheimer native Mark Stephenson didn’t get serious about art until he moved to New York City in 1996. He joined the Art Students League and held an artist’s residency in Italy before returning to Misenheimer in 2006. He has exhibited at the Nature Art Gallery of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. When painting the green landscapes of Rowan and Stanly counties, he says, he wants to convey that sense of oneness with nature they inspire in him.

Mark Stephenson corn crib as canvas

North Carolina artist Mark Stephenson used an 1800s Stanly County corn crib as a canvas for his paintings (Photo by Mark Stephenson).

Judy Brooks Allred of Richfield, a Union Power Cooperative member, says Stephenson’s paintings of her family’s 1800s farm on Millingport Road do just that. Sunnybrook was started by her great-grandfather, Reuben Rogers, and in 1987 was given the state’s Farm Conservation award. She and her mother, Alene Brooks, have several of Stephenson’s Sunnybrook paintings, she says, and when looking at one, “I just welled up and started crying. There’s just something about this that’s so real.”

For his CSA paintings, which include some of Sunnybrook, Stephenson made canvases of planks from an 1800s Stanly County corn crib and flooring from an 1800s Salisbury store, both being torn down.

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