Marc Burckhardt's paintings are at once, foreign and familiar. He paints in a figurative style that intentionally casts off current trends towards investigating mass reproduction, opting for a homemade, folk feel, but with a sophisticated edge. Burckhardt embraces tradition as a means to explore private realities and perhaps the larger American contemporary condition; still he is wary of offering easy interpretation. The artist says, "rather than speak too much about my work, I want the pictures to make a statement for me." Burckhardt is an artist with one foot planted in illustration, another in art historical academia, poised to leap into his own brand of deeply personal art and symbolism. "I'm not interested in art for art's sake, "I want to say something about identity."
Born in Germany and raised in Texas, Burckhardt admits that place shaped some of his artistic sensitivities and tastes. He draws links between his work and folk traditions found in Germany and admires the work of German Renaissance greats like Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Younger. Burckhardt grew up and went to college in Waco, Texas, which he describes as "a bizarre place to be," one where he was a bit of an outsider, who enjoyed drawing and learning about art.
Burckhardt holds degrees in art history and printmaking and began his career as an illustrator and teacher, earning him a living and accolades in his field. He continues illustrating for publications such as Texas Monthly and Rolling Stone, but confesses a desire to do more personal work. "Instead of my work being dictated by external forces, it is more and more, an internal conversation, something personal and even universal." He acknowledges a dialogue between the gallery work and commissioned illustration though, saying, "I find that my commissions sometimes push my thinking and image making into a whole different place. There's a back and forth."