We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Hertzel & Fengwan Qing and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark Hertzel & Fengwan Qing, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
We met at Cal State Long Beach while completing our B.F.A. in Sculpture. The two of us connected over a school art sale that we helped run for our club and we realized we had a real knack for working together making and selling our goods. Our love of art and creating is what brought us together and eventually would push us into our business. After a few prop making gigs we had several people ask why we weren’t in business for ourselves with all the skills we possessed. At the time, we had separate plans after graduating in the spring of 2020, so the thought had never crossed our minds to start a business together. Then the pandemic came and threw all our plans out the window. Our last semester was cut short and all we had planned was ruined. Like a lot of people we felt a bit lost in it all, but despite the craziness of 2020 and the disruption it caused, we were reminded of the comments we’d hear from people about our work. We came to the conclusion that now more than ever was the best time to really throw ourselves into building a creative business that would be our own. We wanted to start something where our imaginations are the only things guiding what we do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We each come from vastly different environments creating our varied and unique backgrounds. Mark was born and raised in Southern California while Fengwan spent her life in China until coming to the States for college. Fengwan’s art is rooted in exploring her culture and heritage while shining a light on Chinese social art movements from the 1960s to the 70s. She works with traditional mediums like paper, paper pulp, paints and stains and is an active makeup artist on film sets. Mark has focused on the collapsing divide between machines, or robots, and humans and the merging of organic and mechanic elements. Using body molds, he casts deformed and voided figures as a way to explore where one ends and the other begins and how the definition of what is human is changing. Our combined skills and backgrounds are what drives the work we do. Each of us can offer different viewpoints and modes of thinking that often lead to some pretty amazing things. This is what we want to capitalize on and what we hope makes us stand out from the rest.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Both of us are fairly new to the DTLA experience as we just moved into the area at the end of 2020 and the pandemic kept us inside much of the time. But we love all the museums and galleries that are in LA and outdoor classics like the Griffith Observatory. We also live down the street from Little Tokyo so we are definitely taking friends there to grab some good food and of course…boba! Outside of downtown we are exploring good Chinese restaurants east of LA, eating tacos at El Sauz in Long Beach, hanging out at the beach in Santa Monica and just out exploring.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is dedicated to all our friends, family, teachers and strangers who have supported our ideas and visions, provided valuable feedback and have helped us realize that this venture together was possible. Without any of them, none of this would have happened.
Other: Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaJinPopShop
Xiaoyu, Iris Li