Marek Szczesny was born in Poland in 1939. In the latter half of the 1950's he attended the State Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk as a free, auto-didactic, student. In the 1960’s he was associated with a group of artists from the 'ZAK' students club in Gdansk. He worked as a scenographer for the group, created posters and showed his first works. During his years in Poland he worked as a set designer for film, created book covers and spent formative years working in the mountains of the Tatras specializing in winter mountain rescue. His later works would integrate his experiences during this time into his paintings and works on paper.
Marek Szczesny moved to Paris in 1978 where he shared a house with his friend, the film director, Agnieszka Holland, who praised his work and encouraged his painting. They were both part of a group of émigré artists and intellectuals who had left Communist Poland, seeking creative and personal freedom abroad. He decided shortly after not to pursue work on films as he wanted to devote himself entirely to his painting.
In 1978 Szczesny obtained a Ford Foundation scholarship. Since this time he has exhibited more than 30 solo exhibitions, as well as participating in many group exhibitions. Selected exhibitions include Agi Schoning, Gallery, Zurich; Rosa Turetsky Gallery, Geneve; FIAC, Paris; Akie Aricchi, Paris; The National Museum in Poznan, Poland, “Polish Art of 20th Century”; Contemporary Center of Art, Toulon, France; Osaka 2001 Triennale International Exhibition of Contemporary Art; and Galeria Foksal, Warsaw. Between 1996 and 2008 he was awarded grants in the United States four times: Edward Albee Foundation in New York; Bemis Center in Omaha; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation; and the Gottleib Foundation, New York. He lives and works in Paris.