Mark, have you always wanted to be an artist?
No. After leaving art college I didn’t paint for several years. There’s only so long you can avoid a calling though. Art is in my blood, it plays a huge part in my outlook in life.
Your art gives the viewer a sense of mood and atmosphere; has this always been your style of choice and if so why?
Yes. I believe that art can take you anywhere you’d like to go. There are several times I have stared at a painting only to forget everything else in the room. In order for a painting to captivate the viewer then it should depict a strong sense of mood and atmosphere.
How would you describe your creative process?
Intense. If I’m really into it, I tend to forget the doom and gloom of society and become totally engrossed in what’s going on the canvas. This is certainly a benefit, particularly this year.
Where do you seek inspiration?
My inspiration can come from so many different places. I’m very observant, and something of a people watcher. My inspiration can come from sitting in a bar, a coffee shop, watching a film, or hearing a piece of music. The opportunities are endless.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up quite early and hit the gym several times a week. This really wakes me up and prepares me for the day. Then I’m in the studio. I’ve spent a large amount of time over the last two years working on miniature figure commissions, so my easel time has been somewhat limited. However, one way or another I build a portion of canvas time into the week. If I don’t do this then I tend to get frustrated.
Which artists, living or deceased most inspire/influence your work?
My earlier inspirations were predominantly Rembrandt and his magnificent use of light. To this day, his work never fails to amaze me.
Do you like to listen to music when you create, if so what sort of music do you listen to?
Yes. I can’t even wash the pots without listening to music. In fact, I don’t do much without listening to music. It depends on the nature of what I’m working on. If I’m loosely fleshing out an underpainting from a sketch or working on something casual, it can often be Bowie or Billy Idol. If it’s further on into a painting and I really need to concentrate, it tends to be something a little lighter such as Dusty Springfield. Whatever it is, it won’t modern. It’s always music of yesterday. I never get into new artists.
If you had one piece of advice for someone seeking a career in art what would it be?
Have an additional source of income. As anyone will tell you, it’s not easy. Particularly in these harsh times. I would advise working in a part-time role while making sufficient time for your art. You may never make enough to survive purely on art sales, so it pays to be diverse. Also, don’t sell your work for peanuts. Only the artist knows how much time and effort goes into each individual piece.
If you had a dinner party and could invite 3 guests, living or deceased who would they be and why?
That’s a great question.
Quinten Tarantino. To me, his films are like watching a work of art in progress. It’s not necessarily about how it starts or finishes, it’s about what he wants the viewer to experience. There is a power, a force if you like, in Tarantino’s film’s that’s very hard to match.
Johnny Cash. One of my all-time favourite musicians. I would love to hear about his time on the road, his life experiences, his love for June Carter. I could sit and converse with Johnny Cash for days on end I am sure.
Joan of Arc. What can you say? One of the most fascinating women ever to live. History gets so diluted with time. Now that would be one hell of a dinner party!!
What does the future look like for you?
My work will continue to evolve in a natural progression. I am very curious to see what I produce over the next twelve months, and how this will fit within my portfolio. While I can often source work from painting miniature figures, I am aiming to keep this at a minimum so I can commit time to traditional oil paintings.
View Mark’s gallery.