Mark Tansey was born in California, into a family of art historians. From a young age he attended art classes at the San Francisco Art Institute and went on to study at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Tansey later enrolled in the graduate program at Hunter College in New York City.
Tansey’s paintings are often allegorical, with fantastical subjects that reference philosophical, literary, and historical themes. Using archived clippings and photographs, he creates collages as preliminary studies for his paintings. He applies multiple layers of gesso, brushing and scraping the monochromatic paint onto the canvas. Each painting is detailed in technique and meaning, while the single hue allows focus to remain on the complex ideas presented.
Tansey lives and works in New York.