The Cafe Leila patio in Berkeley was shaded by umbrellas over marble tables. Marcos Weiss and I found a table that seemed right for a long conversation about his art work. During our conversation, essentially an interview intended for Paint Rag Magazine, I learned some of the facts about him. Most of them surprised me. I had assumed him to be someone who had been raised in California, and had turned out to be a very interesting young painter. He had somehow developed, and was developing, a painting style that was compelling to look at. When we began to talk, however, I saw that this was not the case at all.
Marcos Weiss was born in Brazil in 1983. His mother is Filipino and his father was German. When Marcos was four years old his father died. Since life would be financially easier in Germany his mother moved him and his older sister to Weil der Stadt, a small town in southern Germany, the birth town of the great astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler. Kepler’s work, formulating the laws of planetary motion, played a key role in helping Sir Issac Newton set down the laws of gravitation. To me, it is significant that Marcos Weiss and Johannes Kepler shared the same town, because Weiss’ paintings step outside of the earth’s gravitational grip and look upon us all from up above. Marcos sees through the eyes of an astronomer and a fractal mathematician.
In his early days Marcos drew Disney cartoon characters. He often sold these drawings to schoolmates for the American equivalent of fifty cents. This later was to play an important role in his life, because it taught him that he could draw and receive money for his art work. This understanding later allowed him to put himself through art school, ironically, by selling his paintings.
At age fourteen, he and his mother moved to the United States. His sister remained in Germany to stay with her boyfriend. It was in Santa Cruz that he began making paintings, impressionist and yet geometric works of the local cannery, buildings he found interesting that were previously unpainted by other artists. These paintings were sold to friends who knew and loved these buildings and became his means of putting himself through two and a half years of art school at the California College of Art in Oakland. Just prior to this, however, he had returned to Germany, as a German citizen, to fulfill one year commitment to serve in community service, caring for elders. He then returned to the United States with a Green Card.
At CCA he studied painting under David Huffman who became a primary influence in his art. Marcos came to the realization that he did not need to limit himself to a ground level view. His work moved upward, to space, where he could peer down upon freeways and trees as geometry, as pattern, simultaneously abstract and realistic. He literally transports the viewer, instantly, to a place of zero gravity, weightlessness, and to the perception that the abstract world and the world of concepts of reality are the same.
Viewing a Weiss painting is a physical experience. One is alone and above and most of all immersed in a feeling of placid peace and silent attainment. I have written many articles about how the viewer shares in the artist’s level of presence, on how art is software for human consciousness, but few painters illustrate this principle as clearly as Weiss. Marcos Weiss paintings induce in the viewer an awareness that has evolved to a place of absolute witnessing from above. Gaze at these paintings, and take away with you the feeling of being full-filled and without resistance to the whole and all of its parts. Like an astronomer, Weiss’ paintings invite us to witness the whole picture, seeing it’s abstract mystery and its simultaneous eternal familiarity. Weiss paintings are in every spatial arena at once, microscopic and cosmic in scale. All I can say to Marcos Weiss is, thank you for sharing your level of awareness with us.
Article and interview by Ross G. Drago
Paint Rag Magazine