The Artist Taxi Driver (UK)
Mark McGowan (b. 1964) is a British street artist, performance artist and prominent public protester who has gone by the artist name Chunky Mark and more recently The Artist Taxi Driver. By profession, McGowan is a London taxi driver and occasional University speaker and arts tutor. McGowan is known internationally for his performance art including shock art, street art and installation art, and as a stuntman, internet personality, video blogger, social commentator, social critic, satirist, political activist, peace activist, and an anti-establishment, anti-war, anti-capitalist anti-monarchist and anti-power elite protester.
McGowan abandoned the Chunky Mark persona in late 2010 and fully adopted the "Artist Taxi Driver" persona for his web blog on YouTube, where he films himself alone in his taxi between fares, often wearing dark sunglasses, and in which he rants passionately and emotionally about the news and issues of the day. The Artist Taxi Driver's official YouTube channel (still under the "ChunkyMark" name) by 2013 had thousands of videos made by McGowan, with almost 30,000 subscribers, and his most popular video viewed 220,000 times. Under the artist name "Chunky Mark", McGowan entered the mainstream news in the early 2000s known for his unconventional, satirical, comedic and often absurd approach to public protest and demonstration. Chunky Mark conducted hundreds of performances in the UK and dozens around the world, stirring up some international attention, further debate on 'what "art" really is', controversy; and both support and mockery alike from intellectuals, the art world, private corporations, the police, the military, the tabloids and the public. Often McGowan has not applied for police permission beforehand.