“MAD started out with just me and my laptop. I slowly started picking up more and more work, and the company grew from there.” In February 2001, MAD Studios was born. By 2020, the team grew to 115 employees, comprising MAD Studios, MAD Dev, MAD Labs, MAD Factory, and MAD with five locations spread throughout the country.
When done properly, a work of art can leave a lasting impression. It can stir thoughts, evoke emotions, and generally leave the recipient changed in one way or another.
The same, of course, can be said about an interaction. In the case of Marc Aptakin, founder of MAD Studios, the seed planted early in his career by Emerson Dorsch’s Brook Dorsch has finally come to fruition.
As an up-and-coming creative, Marc was given the opportunity to use the space of what was then known as Dorsch Gallery — a beloved gallery with underground, punk rock vibes that catered to the local artist community.
Here, Marc was able to develop not just his talents, but also his sense of community. Brook’s hospitality meanwhile, was not an exclusive ordeal. In fact, he regularly provided space in his gallery for workspaces, accommodations, and some of the best bullshitting and conversation that proved to be a long-lasting inspiration for many South Florida Artists. This championing of this community inspired Marc to pay it forward.
Eventually, Marc acquired a warehouse of his own in which to provide a creative space for local artists. This soon became an outlet for the likes of Jen Clay, Richard Vergez, and other prominent artists who’ve left a mark (no pun intended) in the South Florida scene.
PASSION OVER PROFIT
Today, MAD Arts strives to continue supporting the community by helping artists facilitate their initial ideas and adding our agency expertise and resources to help them create experiences that may have otherwise been out of reach.
As a studio driven by the continuous desire to explore and strengthen the cultural and artistic significance of our creative community, we give of ourselves to make this possible.
In an effort to sustain our goals of strengthening our community, we’ve developed a commission structure that is purely for the artists. The commissions we take are invested in other artists to help facilitate their projects. Thus creating a cycle of paying it forward.
Sofia Bastidas Vivar works under the auspices of the Ignite/Arts Dallas at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. As the current SMU Meadows Curatorial Fellow and Pollock Gallery Director, Bastidas has curated diverse and dynamic programs that focus on supporting existing platforms that engage cultural discourses and catapult creative co-production, communication and sustainable forms of organizing.