Mark King was born in Bombay, India to British parents in 1931. King’s childhood was one of exotic experience and privileged education. After graduating from La Martiniére College in Calcutta, the sixteen-year-old King sailed to England to attend Bournemouth College of Art. There he studied painting, sculpture, architecture and theatre design. Subsequently, he spent seven years as the resident scenic designer at the Oxford Playhouse Theatre. In 1961, he decided to concentrate on painting, and he moved to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Louvre. It was there that he developed his impressionistic style, influenced by the wealth of examples of European masters.
Mark King describes his approach to painting as ninety percent preparation. “It takes a great deal of time for me… but once I begin, I work with great impetus, with immense bursts of energy. It is not until the last ten or fifteen minutes before completion that I am able to see where the painting is going and to catch the mood of the moment.” Change has played an important role in both King’s art and life. “I have a need, artistically, for exposure to new ideas and images,” he says, and it was this need that brought him to America in 1968, a move that prompted a shift in his working methods. A landscape painter in France, King began to expand his subject matter to include sports. With his work as a sports artist King found the camera an indispensable tool, and began to work from photographs. Since coming to America, Mark King’s work has found a wide acceptance across the United States. His artwork has exhibited around the world and he has been so fortunate to develop an identifiable style and technique, with a painterly brushstroke that maintains more realism than other post-war impressionists, that has an international appeal.