“Every piece of art displays a story”. But what is Mark Naren’s story? Well, Mark is the owner of The Black Couch Studio and Gallery. The Black Couch is a place where creativity has no limits. Offering everything from open mic nights, to group art and music lessons, the community can actively be involved in the arts. He has over 70 pieces of his own on the walls of the studio and has done thousands of others which have been featured in numerous art shows and sold for both residential and commercial use. His style of art has darkness and mystery. People who buy his art don’t solemnly come back to just visit Mark (even though that should be enough reason on its own since he is an excellent conversator). They come back for more of his art because each one of his pieces tell a story people want to hear more of. Mark does a great job along with Suzanne , his wife, at keeping art and creativity alive.
Suzanne is Mark’s gatekeeper the core of everything The Black Couch is created on. He even wears a key around his neck to symbolize her importance. He is the key-holder and she is the gatekeeper. She organizes every meeting, and records every single person who has entered the studio. She is the brain of this operation. Mark met his soulmate and business partner at the beginning of his art career . Mark was creating centerpieces for Suzann’s son’s Bar Mitzvah. When he saw her he knew he was “f**ked” as said by Mark, “If i was to create my dream woman on a computer it would be Suzann.”
Mark and Suzanne have used their talents to create something bigger than art. They created after school programs to help kids with their creative freedom. They believe if you start kids off early, releasing their creative expressions, you will build their confidence and it creates a certainty that they will be able to figure out who they are wor who they want to be. They have a need to let parents know what it means to be creative. It is an ongoing goal to get money put back in school art programs, because without art, kids will won’t be able to express themselves individually anymore. They recognize where power is and they want to fuel the littles ones early. Mark and Suzanne don’t stop there though. In just helping out, they have a philanthropy. They always give a percentage back to different community organizations and charities. Along as well with believing in feminism, another point that Mark made was how he wants this to be “women strong”. This past year, around 85% of the artists Mark has worked with have been women. It has inspired his creative movement is just powering the creative. “People need to know more about how creative Chicago is. They don’t know about our musicians as much as they do in other places”
Mark finds encouragement and inspiration through music. The Black Couch welcomed Ever Evolved and now work side by side. One upcoming event is Misfit In Me. The objective of this project is “to bring light to the hyper-creative, that have an incredible strong belief in their own belief system”. An event we can’t miss with live production, performances and art. Misfit in me is something that Mark has been dreaming about having, and is ecstatic to see it come to life. It exemplifies all of his motives and shows everything he has been working towards for so many years. Another project he has collabed on with EverEvolved is Art Cases and smart laces. Partnering up with Mike Booth (One of Ever Evolved’s MCs), their mission is to create art on phone cases and shoes. Everyone loves to stand out so , it’s going to be done with uniqueness of two products people use and wear everyday. They paint or mark up shoes and cases, each handmade with individual design, one will never look the same as another. Rhymster, another Ever Evolved artist, just started MC Boot camp. It is an all-around interactive course for all ages interested in expanding their skills on the mic. Its goal is to teach people to release their creative minds and unwind. It is to help develop skills in poetry, spoken word, and MC-ing. It also let’s you enjoy other’s art, and bounce ideas off one another, getting a really good creative flow going.
If you’re looking for unique art pieces, Mark is definitely the guy to see. If you want to meet him and see some of his art displays at a show, come out to Bang! Salon (1425 W ashland ave, Chicago IL) this friday at 7pm!
Feel free to stop by The Black Couch Gallery & Studio: Where: 4200 W Diversey Call: 847-321-5681
The Black Couch Gallery & Studio
-Lizzethe & Naihal