"Who knew Fairbanks was so fabulous! " Michelle
You may not know him by name but if you’ve flown in or out of Fairbanks since 2008, if you’ve visited Bassett Army Hospital on Fort Wainwright, or if you’ve found yourself at the intersection of 10th Avenue and Cushman Street downtown, then you’ve undoubtedly seen the work of sculptor Mark Fejes.
Mark grew up in Fairbanks. He lives in a unique house in the hills (which he designed and built himself), and he works out of a building (which is also owns, designed and built) on the corner of Well and Good Streets in the railroad industrial section of Fairbanks just north of downtown. His father was a Russian interpreter for the Army and his mother, Claire, became a well-known and important Fairbanks artist. His sister Yolande runs the Alaska House Gallery, where she carries on their mother’s tradition of supporting Alaskan art.
Visiting with Mark is always a unique experience. Music will be playing. There will be the constant rolling and smoking of cigarettes, and brewing and drinking of coffee. He will stoke the fire often, drop witty quotes, and goad you with his wry sense of humor. He’s a lover of ideas and possibilities. He can build anything he can imagine and the man can cook.
Like most Fairbanksans, Mark cares a lot about the town. His current passion is for the new green space (formerly known as “the triangle” and “the gateway feature”) that will be situated in the middle of the FMATS Illinois Street Reconstruction Project. He is serving as a member of the Art Selection Advisory Committee and is excited about the possibility of bringing more good public art to Fairbanks. He is equally excited about getting everyone in the community actively involved with the project.
Mark hates interviews and although he granted me one, I’ll keep the conversation between us. Here instead is a studio visit via photograph: