Escape Into Life “a conversation with Mars Tokyo”
Psychadelic Face #50 8.25"w x 5.25"h
Coastlines: New Orleans
Psychwoman #22 8.25" w x 5.25" flair pen
Mark Kerstetter: First, the cool sounding name - Mars Tokyo. Two places - one in outer space and one in Japan. What does it mean? Who is Mars Tokyo?
Mars Tokyo: I should have it tattooed on my forehead--but I'm opposed to tattooing. The name actually came to me in a dream in 1991 around the time I was forming my rubber stamp company. In the dream, the name signified the alienation I've always felt as an artist (aka Martians are the aliens) and then the Tokyo, represented the Japanese people. Who were the only people to survive an atomic bomb. The survival + the alienation seemed to represent what is at my core. I've also always admired Japanese block printing, and as a printmaking major in college, I studied a lot of it. The stamp company featured my own hand carved designs. Not in wood, but in soft plastic eraser material.
M K: You are a survivor. Do you also feel like an outsider?
Mars Tokyo: Don't get me started! I am so outside you can't even find me. I'm outside of the outsiders. I make the outsiders look like insiders. I have exactly what it takes to fall through any crack possible……..
Mark Kerstetter steals time away from restoring an old house in Florida to write and make art. His poetry is forthcoming in the July 4th issue of Unlikely Stories and he is the author of the blog