Betsy was born in Rockford, Illinois to loving parents – a schoolteacher and a lumber contractor. Recalling Betsy’s first time making art, her mother recounts how she inadvertently left a marker uncapped on the living room’s coffee table. With it, toddler Betsy scribbled all over the marble tabletop. Returning to the room and after recovering from the shock, Betsy’s Mom remembers how amazed at how pleasing something in the “drawing” was and ran next door to her Mother-in-law’s house, exclaiming, “We have an artist here!” At 3, Betsy told her mother, in a calm and matter-of-fact way, that she was just her “Earth mother” and that her real mother lived on another planet. Later that same year, her parents let Betsy stay up to watch the historic, first manned, Apollo moon landing. A few years later, Betsy’s family took an airstream camper trip throughout the Northwest US and Western Canada, introducing Betsy to First Nations, American Indian and Intuit, artwork and people. Betsy attributes to that early encounter, her love of beads, and the power to incorporate mythological and spiritual understandings through art. To this day, Betsy admires cultures where art is a sacred creation and acts to bridge the spiritual with the mundane.
Supernatural experiences heavily influence the subjects in Betsy’s art. While in her late teens, Betsy had a powerful experience of precognition through a dream in which she felt she floated out of her body, through the ceiling, and then hovered over her home.
There, she watched a man trying to enter her bedroom through its window and immediately moved back into her body, bolting upright in fright. Betsy raced over to her window, locked it, and was relieved nobody was there. But, the next night, her mother awakened Betsy in a panic as someone tried to break into that same bedroom window Betsy had fortuitously locked the night before. Betsy continues to explore the metaphysical through her work, believing, “our bodies are the vehicle of interface between the physical and our spiritual source.
At the age of 12, Scott tried carving his own likeness in wood and recalls thinking that it really wasn’t him carving at all, but “as if someone else was doing the carving through him.” When Scott was 30 and living in Milwaukee, he used a meditation technique his mother had taught him as a child to better fall asleep. As he began the meditation, he felt a sudden “circular wave of energy” loop through his body. He recalls immediately standing up, walking out of the room and down the hallway, experiencing a new phenomenon known as astral projection. The occurrence had a powerful effect on Scott, and still influences the subjects he now explores in his work. One of the driving mysteries behind Scott’s work is what are humankind’s unknown capacities and potentials and from where have we come?” Scott still carves little birds as gifts for his beloved artist partner of 20 years, Betsy, and helps her with construction of the sculptural armatures she envisions as the base for her giant beaded works of art. Born in Rockford, Illinois to a homemaker and a Hostess Cupcake delivery driver and print sales rep, Scott was just 8-years old when he carved a little sparrow, learning the craft from his Dad, himself a self-taught carver. After this initial success, young Scott wanted to carve a chickadee and built a trap to get one for use as a live model reference. The little bird was so stressed from capture, Scott had to set it free.
Mark Winter refined his art of welding, metal working, and painting by owning his own auto body repair shop in the formative years of his adulthood. Upon realizing the unrest delivered by his curiosities and drive to create Mark quite quickly pursued a career as a full time sculptor. Still rooted in this beginning, Mark implements 100% recycled scrap metal and parts.
The found objects can and have been anything from tractor bodies to toaster elements to typewriter bits. Collect, sort, cut, manipulate. These are the precursors to Mark’s process. He then welds them together into the highly emotive creatures he has become known for. Typically leaving the existing paint on the steel, Mark has mastered the balance of enhancing and resurrecting what was while simultaneously animating a commanding and novel presence in these one of a kind pieces of art. Mark resides in Milwaukee with his equally creative love, Beth Bojarski. Robots, hybrids, monsters. The aberrations of Mark Winter’s mind demand your attention.