Californian street artist Mark Paul Deren, (a.k.a Madsteez) is a human colour wheel spinning on overdrive. From his scrappy little Ween doodles to his larger-than-life pop-soaked paintings and portraits, Deren’s vivid creations have caught the eye of an impressive list of commercial collaborators (not to mention Dennis Hopper, who himself has sat for a Deren portrait). Nike 6.0 are the latest to go mad for Mr Steez, inviting him to play mentor (or ‘weentor’) to emerging artist Evan ‘Stink’ Rossell on a colab shoe- the StinkWeen Braata. We caught up with Madsteez to chat about the project and his art… or at least we tried keeping up! It’s a twisted, ween-filled ride into a world that, as with his art, is always over the top... and where the tongue is firmly planted cheekwards.
Hey Madsteez, congrats on the 6.0 colab. How did it all come together?
Thank you, thank you!! I believe it was circa late 2008 after Pierre Le WEEN’s first attempt at using the Hadron-WEEN-Collider (HWC) was publicly considered a failure due to abnormally high resistance within the SUPERWEENCONDUKTOR. Little did Pierre know that it generated a sub-particle of the previously unknown WEENT!LL!AN genotype which subconsciously prompted Nike 6.0 to conduct a WEENTOR project with a new species.
How did you and Evan first hook up?
Evan (STINK) had been an avid believer in the WEENT!LL!ANs for hundreds of centuries. On our first encounter the seven hairs of his mexi-stauche were plucked, probed and penetrated under the WEENOSKOPE. His thermo-artistic readings were off the charts! Evan was still just a young WEENLING so naturally I adopted him into T!R, the “TERM!NALLY_!LL_RT!ST’S”. After 4our years of guiding him diagonally it was time to take off the training wheels and let him ride spider-style on the handlebars of my ’85 turquoise blue one-pink-wheeled-one-green-wheeled-one-purple-peddled Performer!
Nike 6.0’s Motel No Tell recently got the full Ween treatment. The joint looked crazy!
Just as Nike appointed me to 4-Star-General, the WEENT!LL!ANs invaded and crash landed their WEEN!F!ED DeLorean on the rooftop of the civilian-prohibited Motel No Tell. They inhabited and conquered the space, leaving behind a red fur tunnel, 2 galleries unlocking the mysteries of WEENOGLYPH!KS, a figureWEEN pyramid, 180-degree hydro-projection visuals, a candy mountain instantly causing the grass to grow orange, a subweenlation dot-matrix printer, and last but not least, chicken and waffles.
Seriously though, your paintings have a rich, fine-art-feel to them. Who has inspired your style?
I’m going to say my Moms, even though she is not quote-unquote “an artist”. She has a battery operated light-up WEENdazzled Christmas sweater for every day of December for Christ’s sake!!!!! Her unruly gaudiness, in-your-faceness and color palette ruined my life for the better!!!! Next, and again not an “artist” in painterly form (unless u consider….) is PEE-WEE Herman. Just today I bought tickets for when he performs live on stage in LA!!!! I guess I’m more inspired by people rather than their particular “art”. What can I say, I love to YANK!!!!
Pee Wee sure had some trippy shit... is the talking couch back too?
Pee-Ween is back and he's badder than ever!!!! I had no idea that Pee-Wee first started as a stand up comedy skit in the trenches of LA. I don't know what he's gonna bust out but I'm praying he's gonna have Chairey, Globey, the Pterodaktl, Miss Yvonne and maybe throw in a private trench coat show!!!!
What's it been like working with Dennis Hopper? He must be fascinating guy to have sit as a subject.
My experience with Hopper was personally so mind-blowing... He gave me a brief schooling on his “experience of life” but was more fascinated with me and what I had to say. He asked me question after question as if I was his subject. Which in turn I think helped create one of my best pieces.
We notice that the number four keeps popping up in your work... what's with that?
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. It’s a secret…
OK... Can you maybe share the origins of your Ween critters?
Mr.WEEN was the !ll-leg!tment child of countless meaningless marketing-meeting doodles that later WEENOLUT!ON!ZED into the WEEN!MALS during Y2K. Ever since, the WEEN!MALS have been crossed off the endangered species list and are haplessly breeding 104 yards from the WEENSV!LLE Domestic Airport runway.
Is there anything left to Weenify in this world?
EVERYTHING!!!… I want to be the thugged out Martha Stewart. I want to make toasters, nightlights, fishing rods, malt liquor, headphones (wait I already make those, eskucheme.com) shower curtains, cookware, cottage cheese, power drills, dog food, curling irons, the list goes on and on… But my main aspiration is to WEEN!FY the silver screen with a WEEN!MALS 3D Feature Animated Film!!!!
You’ve been amazingly prolific. Any chance of ever slowing down?
A few weeks ago I finally hit my breaking point. There was literally nothing left to give, not even a WEEN. I felt like I was making myself terminally ill and I couldn’t stop it from spreading. But it was a hideous experiment to realistically see how much I can mentally and physically handle. Next time it gets that rough I’m just going have to make sure I have enough bologna, peanut butter, bacon, liverwurst, Nerds rope and miracle whip to make it safely out of the WEENlaboratories.