Artist of the Year » 2022
Title Always on the Move
Dimensions 24" x 36"
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is pleased to recognize Mark Susinno as the 2022 Artist of the Year. A renowned painter and passionate angler and conservationist, Susinno specializes in game fish and fly-fishing scenes.
“I moved to the Florida Keys in the early 2000s and redirected my passion for collecting sporting art from trout to those species found on the flats,” says Bill Legg, who chairs the Artist of the Year Selection Committee. “A friend and also a collector of fishing oriented art introduced me to Sandy Moret, who at the time had an art gallery in his old Florida Keys Outfitters location. The painting that jumped out at me was a wonderfully rendered barracuda about to attack a red fly. It was my first of Mark’s paintings and now adorns a wall next to one of his tarpon. I love his work.”
Born in Washington, D.C., Susinno grew up in the Maryland suburbs of the nation’s capital until moving to Brooklyn, N.Y., to attend Pratt Institute on a merit scholarship. Upon graduating with highest honors and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting in 1979, Susinno went to work as a torch-cutter and truck driver for a scrap metal and dismantling firm in Brooklyn. Following a two-month cross-country road trip, he left NYC in 1982 and relocated to Maryland, where he continued to dabble in artistic pursuits while working at various non-art-related jobs, including as a fabricator of bulletproof doors.
A turning point in Susinno’s career came in 1985, when he won the 1986 Maryland Trout Stamp contest and decided to concentrate on art professionally. Since then, he has specialized in painting underwater depictions of freshwater and saltwater game fish and scenes of fly-fishers pursuing their quarry. Susinno’s passion for angling informs his art.
“I’m a fisherman and that fact affects how I approach making paintings of game fish,” he says. “I enjoy suggesting the sense of light and space of the shallow-water aquatic environment, but I also feel the need to present the fish themselves such that they are recognizable to the average fisherman, who is most familiar with how a fish looks when it is out of water. When painting fish (either in oils or acrylics), my main focus is on creating an interesting abstract arrangement of shapes, colors, textures, and patterns, which I hope will also convey a more or less convincing impression of an underwater scene.”
Over the course of his career, Susinno has added twenty more fishing stamps to his list of credits, including the 1991 First-of-State Pennsylvania Trout/Salmon Stamp and the 2005 First-of-State Texas Freshwater Stamp. Since 1987, Susinno’s limited edition prints have been published primarily by Wild Wings, L.L.C. His work has also appeared in Field & Stream, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Sporting Classics, and in Lefty Kreh’s Advanced Fly Fishing Techniques and Ultimate Guide To Fly Fishing.
An ardent conservationist, Susinno uses his artistic talents to support the fresh and saltwater fisheries that inspire his work. “I have donated art to many nature-related conservation organizations over the past three-plus decades, and I would encourage lovers of wildlife art to donate to their favorite organizations as well,” he says. “This becomes more and more urgent as some corporate interests turn government away from its role as protector of the environment, leaving non-profit nongovernmental organizations as the last line of defense.”
Susinno’s love of fishing and the need to gather reference material have taken him around the world, from Alaska to Labrador, Scotland to Florida. Susinno’s wife, Roxanne, is also an avid fly fisher and accompanies him on many of his excursions. They reside in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.