Who would trade the security of an extremely successful business career for the risky life of an artist? Mark Yale Harris, co-founder of Red Roof Inns and founder of AmeriSuites Hotels, made the leap at age 63! Though a talented child artist, he followed his parents’ exhortations to seek a reliable business degree. He put himself through Ohio State University and then began 30+ years in the world of hospitality/urban development.
She Rides A White Horse, Mark Yale Harris
In the mid-nineties, Harris grappled with continuing his career path or upending his life to go after his true calling. He chose his new métier as an artist. He did have to adjust to being a “nobody” in the art world. However, as a self-made man who had begun with nothing, he understood this dramatic pivot required starting at the bottom. Respectful of this new role, he knew his craftsmanship had to be worthy to earn respect as an artist. While his business acumen was not a transferable skill, his work ethic of discipline and perseverance was.
Awakening III, Mark Yale Harris
In 1999 he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico to be mentored by Aleut sculptor Bill Prokopiof, as well as studying with Nez Perce sculptor Doug Hyde (both protégés of the renowned Apache sculptor Allan Houser). With consummate dedication, Harris learned to sculpt and over the years honed his technical skills as well as his artistic vision. Harris has a thriving studio practice in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado. His evolving body of work in alabaster, marble, limestone, and bronze evokes a duality – the aggressive hard side of life seen in angular lines and the soft side in curves.
Awakening III, monument (pictured with the artist, Mark Yale Harris)
Over the past 20 years as an artist, his dream has come to fruition. He has been featured in 100+ solo museum and university exhibitions, including The Royal Academy of London; over 200 group exhibitions; over 120 feature press publications, including Art & Antiques, American Art Collector and The Guardian; and his work is in numerous prestigious public collections worldwide, including Four Seasons Hotels, Hilton Hotels, State of New Mexico, and the city of Brooklyn, New York. His second act, returning full circle to a childhood interest, has been as richly rewarding as the first.