“playing jenga under a fool moon”

Doesn’t this look like one of those “artists in their studio” photos that you’d find in an art history book … well, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly where this photo is headed. Today I’m interviewing TWO talented ‘n successful artists at the same time… two talented ‘n successful artists who also happen to be a married couple. Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson live together, make art together, have a daughter together, teach together, and yes, they even show their work together! In fact, they’ve got a show opening next Thursday, June 7th, at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles (Culver City). I’ve been lucky enough to get to know this hilarious, insightful, talented couple over the past few years, but this episode gave me a chance to ask ALL of my very important questions… like who made the first move!? Listen right up there under that super cute photo of Esther & Mark from 2002, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First, a zine. Now if I’d had this ahead of time, I wouldn’t have had to ask Mark about his childhood in Las Vegas:

Ok, now I have more questions.

Speaking of zines, I give you the BUTT BOOK:

Hilarious! This is one of many collaborative creative projects these two do when they get together with all of their amazing friends. Butts as a zine theme … pure gold.

So, I’ve interviewed Esther before – both on the podcast (Ep.28), and also for my new book about women artists. Her “memory” paintings are a beautiful, funny (and sometimes sad-ish) nod to her childhood:

Gah! I love them so much! She doesn’t have any sculpture in this upcoming show, but I couldn’t control myself … I had to put that tornado in.

Next … Mark’s records! Paintings, ceramics, googly eyes, and Lionel Richie:

Seriously … SO FUN!

I got to hang out in their home studio last time I was in LA, and it really is filled to the brim with fantastic stuff. Here’s a tiny peek:

Love! AND, that final piece above is finished and ready to hang in the new show… it’s the FOOL MOON painting Esther was talking about. Yet another serendipitous moment 

Ah yes, and here’s one more moment (brace yourself if you’re afraid of heights):

A post shared by Mark Todd (@mark_todd) on

No. Just NO.

Almost finished, but clearly I have to show you Esther’s bulldog cowboy boots:

… and since Mark doesn’t have boots that are this cool, here he is with a dinosaur. Thanks so much to Mark & Esther for doing this with me! I’m counting down to hanging out with them when I’m in LA this fall! Speaking at Art Center, eating mac ‘n cheese, and hopefully painting a butt on something. Thank you to Saatchi Art and Thrive for supporting this episode, and of course, big thanks to you for listening. The final episode of season two will be up next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Esther, Episode no.28
  2. Esther on Instagram / Mark on Instagram / Lili on Instagram!
  3. Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
  4. Aaron Smith, Episode no.90
  5. Martha Rich, Episode no.1 & Episode no.72
  6. Fun Chicken (their online shop!)
  7. Kolaj Fest, New Orleans
  8. JUNE 7, 2018 … Their show at Vielmetter Gallery, Culver City CA


comments (2)

  1. Kaylee Dalton /// 06.05.2018 /// 12:27pm

    Mark and Esther seem like the most down to earth people! Maybe they will adopt me?

  2. the jealous curator /// 06.06.2018 /// 7:13am


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