So, as I write this narrative, it is a week or so into the summer holidays, my daughter is sunning herself in Spain and I’m watching the sheer frustration of my mate who is struggling to get his two young boys to do anything meaningful whilst he is sat with me having a cuppa. You would think that bringing a football and his boys to the studio grounds with a vast lawn, lake and woods would be a sure thing for them to have a great time but sadly no. Without their phones or tablets they don’t have any desire to be kids and go and play. Sad really. Whilst I appreciate that not all kids are like that, nor do I think every child wants to act out the adventures of the ‘Secret Seven’ or ‘The Famous Five’, it just reinforces to me just how things are so glaringly different for us when we where their age. Oh, the good old days eh!
It was an age where everything seemed so much more fun and when kids really played with freedom and imagination, and the only 'influencer' was the person who told you to be back for tea. So, when the bell rang out, it kick-started six weeks of scorched grass and grazed knees, grabbing your bike and having the absolute time of your life, day after day, and for the days when it rained, there was kids TV! Luckily our innocent little eyes were oblivious to 'Bungle' being a bit, well, dodgy! So where do you go when you've burnt your arse on that huge metal slide in the park?... To the Lido of course!
I have such vivid memories of my summer break from school as a kid growing up in the 80’s, is that because everything was bolder and brighter back then or because I, like you, really lived and loved every day. It is those days of being free and with your family and friends that stand out over any major holiday abroad. I lived close to a great park back then, the river was just down the ‘court’ from our house, and we were just a 5-minute train journey to our local outdoor swimming pool. It’s funny because I’m pretty sure that it didn’t look like what I’ve just created, but that’s the whole point isn’t it. Everything is always bigger and brighter when you reminisce.
The lido that you see within ‘Skool’s Out! 2’ is based on the iconic ‘Saltdean Lido in Brighton, primarily for its cracking architecture, I love how the community there have kick-started the renovations to bring it back to life. Secondly, the client who commissioned ‘The Memory Remains’ is from Brighton, so it continues the story where those toys went with their new owners. Like I said before, the holidays were all about being with your family and friends, so there are bikes everywhere and two deckchairs in view, one for you and one for your best mate. Toys and teddies are littering the Serengeti-esque grass and taking over the pool. I like to think differently, so I’m going to bet my ‘Fat Willy’s hat that this is the first time you’ve seen Humpty riding an inflatable flamingo!
I’ve thrown everything into this piece, it’s chaotic and wonderfully random and comes from such a great place. I never set out with a set list of references to include, and this is a cracking example of how, when you open your mind back up, you are overwhelmed with those little details that have remained dormant for years. It’s a piece that I didn’t want to stop but it had to or risk becoming like one of those ‘Where’s Wally’ jigsaws! I genuinely hope that my love for my childhood shines through here and that it stirs up so many amazing memories for you lot, my collectors are fucking brilliant, and we are all in this together. So, dive in, there’s no risk of verruca’s or floaters and heavy petting IS allowed here!
Edition Size: 45 +5AP
Specification: Limited edition fine art print, hand signed by artist.
When workload allows Mark embraces client commissions and has enjoyed amazing success to date. If you have been inspired by the work that you have seen and have a specific idea or simply a seed then please do get in touch.
This piece is ultimately a gritty prison cell scene from within Shawshank State Penitentiary that features a good number of references to the movie plot which is dominated by the escape element but where this has been adapted to represent a more conceptual message that reaches out to a greater audience than just those who love the film itself.
Shawshank Redemption is such a powerful film, not just aesthetically but one that conveys such an enduring power of hope, perfect for my work and the message that I look to portray as often as possible. I have set about creating a scene that is at first study an engaging take on the plot, a window into Andy’s cell but through modifying the tunnel element to the piece it exposes a greater depth.
The tunnel is shallower yet no less dramatic, almost window-like. I have set the view through this window to show the iconic shoreline scene of Zihuatanejo - Mexico. This creates a more direct and blatant vision of where Andy hopes to be one day once free. To reinforce this I have chosen to indicate that the hole in the wall was covered in fact by a simple picture of the same scene rather than of the poster from the movie that is torn down by the Governor. This creates a different take on the original narrative whilst more importantly reaches out to so many of us that have innocent aspirations, hopes and dreams.
The beach view could mean leaving their worries and their fears behind and creating a new life for themselves or it could simply represent a holiday. Both are of equal importance as a something deemed more simple could represent a much much bigger challenge through restrictions such as money or other restrictive factors. Andy hoped to walk the sands of that beach from being wrongly incarcerated for close to 20 years and subjected to a terrifying ordeal, to another person it could represent their hope of one day being able to travel after being set free from the shackles of debt, cast over them from someone else’s doing, both represent good being restricted and caged, birds aren’t meant to be caged.
The image through the wall represents something different to everyone who has hope and fights to keep hold of it. Most often a task that appears huge and impenetrable can be chipped away at through time with something simple. The fact that the breakthrough was made with a tiny hammer is why I have placed the tool in the foreground, supporting its importance but reinforcing its size. On all levels it showcases the call to those have been dealt a bad card in life to not just accept it, to establish a way to win and to be free and to achieve ones’ dreams rather than giving up and accepting, to get busy living or get busy dying. The objects placed within the scene are a mix of actual objects that those who know and love the classic movie will recognise and some less obvious, more conceptual details that make you think.
Good has flown away, illustrated by the dove feathers whilst the bad remains only to look out in isolation, symbolised by the solitary black crow that is featured to represent the corrupt Governor who is left to peer through the hole in defeat. The browned falling oak leaves symbolise time escaping for Andy’s friend Red to gain freedom and set out to find what Andy had buried under that solitary oak tree. Andy was a lover of Chess, his time in prison and his plot to escape were a tactical battle, culminating in a masterstroke by the ‘Pawn’ in defeating the ‘King’, this is depicted subtley within the scene.
The other details I will leave for you to find and consider. I genuinely loved watching the Shawshank Redemption years ago, albeit back then more on face value, now, with way more life experience I embrace absolutely everything that it stands for and I hope that I have done justice to a true masterpiece.
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Collection: Lost in Hollywood
Edition Size: 25 + 5 AP
Specification: Custom framed, limited edition fine art print, hand signed by artist.
So, this piece literally came out of the blue! In May 2020, as part of my ‘Lost In Hollywood 3’ collection, I created a piece entitled ‘Q-Division’ - a conceptual piece designed to celebrate and combine all of Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies. ‘No Time To Die’ was due to be released that year and I wanted to mark the finale of his fifteen-year tenure as Bond with something special. Then the pandemic took hold, and it is only now (September 2021) that the film finally makes its long-awaited appearance. I was in the middle of creating a piece for my ‘Retrospective 3’ collection when an idea was born, and I just had to run with it. Despite having a clear plan for each month, it was something that got into my head, and I just thought, bollocks to it! I’m doing it! So here we are, with ‘Underwater Love’.
Memories of the classic Bond films as a kid are vivid and special and I cherish them. I lost my way with several of them after that but became drawn to them more for the beautiful introductions that showcase the lead song, they are works of art in themselves. ‘Skyfall’ was an incredible example of this, but it was the hypnotic and surreal qualities of ‘Spectre’ that stuck with me. It is just brilliant! I guess, it is that quality that I strive to inject into my work, and it has driven this piece. The scene is dominated by the beautiful Aston Martin DB10 that is flanked by the backdrop of Rome as Bond waits to welcome Madeleine Swann. The two characters add a real quality to the piece as their eyes are on you, helping to put you in the scene, or just outside of view. If you look closely, you will see that her dress is starting to morph into a mermaid’s tail, it is a beautiful addition.
My portfolio has a good number of underwater pieces, it is the concept of not knowing if you are above or below the surface that I love. So, for this piece you will see that the octopus that creeps and curls itself throughout the intro to ‘Spectre’ is present and is coming towards you, but is it through the air or making its way through the water? ‘Underwater Love’ explores the concept of being under ones’ spell, hypnotised, giddy by their presence and power. Where you are influenced or controlled by one through being fascinated, enchanted, or seduced. Reality gets blurred as you retreat into your own, very different world. This is the point where it could get heavy, intense but that is for another day. If you embrace how I think and work then you will get what this piece can truly symbolise, but it can simply be enjoyed for a beautiful scene made up of beautiful characters, a beautiful car and a beautiful city. So, even though Daniel Craig’s time as Bond nears its end, my apparent love for mermaids lives strong!
Collection: Lost In Hollywood VHS
Edition Size: 20 + 5AP
Specification: - Hand embellished - Floated poster and double mount - Custom spray-painted frame - Sticker decals - Hand signed by artist