Mark Westberg

Take 5 : Mark Westberg

Young and extravagant Artivist takes us into his world

Mark Westberg is a musician of various artistic trades and talents, hailing originally from Seattle, WA and now currently residing in Santa Fe, NM. He loves and appreciates a plethora of musical styles, and personally specializes in the folk punk, grunge, and rock and roll-influenced genres as a singer-songwriter and occasional band member. He plays both electric and acoustic guitar, sing, and write primarily my his material (and sometimes unique renditions of other people’s work).  He would like to use what I do artistically, and as a queer and mentally divergent performer, to help inspire others to express themselves authentically, as well as to live their truth.

How old were you when you started music?

My first introduction with music was at a rather young age having grown up in a theatrically-based family. I was roughly around 4 or 5-years-old when I began my involvement with the performing arts, and when I started actually taking playing and writing music seriously was when I was around age 13.

You seem to have a bigger mission than just music… can you unpack that for us?

Being a mentally divergent and queer artist, as well as an artist of many trades which also includes drawing and painting, I want to use my various talents for the purpose and relatively newer terminology known as “artivism”, which is essentially activism through artistic means. I want to use what I am capable of artistically to help empower and ignite a greater sense of liberation for those of us who reside under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, as well as for those who may have been looked down upon in part due to their struggles as a person on the autism spectrum, of a variety of other disorders, and people with mental illnesses as well. I would also love to use my creativity to work and stand with other movements and groups besides the ones I am naturally a part of. I also enjoy incorporating travel with the artistic side of me.

What would your message be to a younger version of yourself?

I have quite a few things that I would say to my younger self, but I suppose one of the most important messages to “him” would be that it’s okay to feel lost, messed-up, or out of place sometimes, and that struggling can either corrupt you or it can be used as a further and positive catalyst to how exciting and fascinating your life can truly be. Never allow those who tell you that can’t do something or that you can only be “one particular way” to be the defining permanent stamp on your journey as an artist and as a human being. Your a person, not a permanent record file.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Let’s go with five of my musical influences:
a) Richie Havens
b) Pete Townshend
c) David Bowie
d) Jim Morrison
e) Dan Auerbach
And who are your biggest life inspirations? Why?

This could be an answer that goes on forever, but I would say that some of my biggest and most important inspirations are simply the other artists of whom I have encountered and even befriended and worked with in my life. You not only learn from them as an artist, and sometimes even become mentored by them, but you take a lot of influence with you from them as an evolving and growing person. I can say more than enough about myself as an individual, but it would be rather disingenuous of me to suggest that those who have become great life-long friends of mine didn’t have a significant amount of influence on who I have transformed into at this moment, as well as how I will likely continue to evolve in the foreseeable future. Listening to and learning from other artists, and even those in my life who also aren’t necessarily artists, is extremely important to the growth of my creativity and to my own spirit.

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