Forging and fibs: Mississippi man tells story of art forging career

Forging and fibs: Mississippi man tells story of art forging career

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - A Mississippi man who is the center of a new documentary recalls a past of lying, re-creating art, and tricking the best of the best in an art forging career.

"Art and Craft" tells the story of prolific art forger Mark Landis and the museum registrar who spent years tracking him down.

Landis lives in Laurel, and is considered one of the best art forgers in the world.

By many, Mark Landis is considered the star of the film "Art and Craft" but that's not how Landis feels about it.

"I was a happy subject, but I certainly wasn't anybody's star," said Landis.

His skills with a pencil or paintbrush are indisputable. For three decades Landis fooled museums across the country into accepting his fakes into their collections. He said it was all on impulse.

"If they had said thank you very much, be on your way, you know, I never would have done it again. But everyone was just so nice," said Landis.

He never took money for his paintings, but rather found fulfillment from receiving the attention and approval of others.

"They really did treat me like royalty. I thought, well, gee, I really think I will keep doing this and I kept doing it for 30 years," said Landis

Landis said he would often change his story and appearance in order to keep things interesting.

"I would say I often lie, but I'm never untruthful," said Landis.

His love for movies were always influencing his persona.

"I was watching this movie 'The Swan,' it was about an aristocratic family and the uncle was a Jesuit priest and I was like well, gee, why not."

Landis considers himself a philanthropist, but after 30 years, the museum registrar caught up with him and the fooling had to stop.

This adventure is why he is happy to be a subject in the art and craft.

"I was a lonely old shut in sitting around thinking, what am I going to do now?"

The film's state premiere screening will be on January 22nd at the Hattiesburg library.