‘The Open Door’ is my interpretation of the adventures of Alice in her wonderland. It’s driven by mental health. I will always do my research into each subject and that is what resonated with me with the links to the mental health side to the original story. The insecurities that Alice faced, being scared of adults etc. That was the driving force behind this piece. Everyone is touched by mental health in so many different ways and with so many different outcomes and contributing factors.
For me what is so interesting is what do you see when you stand there looking into that scene? Do you see an enchanted forest with the light trying to push through the fog or are you actually under water? Are they reeds and weeds with the jelly fish etc.? What I’ve done is try to trick you because I didn’t just want this to become a ‘Tim Burton’ type piece, there are parallels to my work and that’s why I love his films. The Jelly fish are there instead of toadstools, you can see the similarities with their shape but for me it was the idea of them swaying, with everything moving. That’s the idea when you’re in that state of mind and things are so intense and almost giddy, everything starts to sway, it becomes too much, a bit surreal. Or you can just look at it like you’re off your head! How do you interpret it?
Everything is littered out around you, the pressures that you face that will help you fall down. Like the drink, the oversized macaroon, they’re all symbolic. The mirror links to my ‘Snow White’ piece from this collection. It’s what you see looking back at you. ‘You’re too small’, ‘I’m too big’, ‘I’m mad’. It’s these things that you’re either told or tell yourself. Another link with that piece is that my concept with the ‘Queen of Hearts’ is actually Alice, that it’s a split personality. It’s her darkness that is trying to push her back down that rabbit hole and keep her there. It’s just me trying to put my take on it.
The door being central is key, the door to reality. It just shows how close that is to wherever you are and however far down you are. It’s how easy it is to fall back down. Amongst all of the darkness there is this lovely detail like the butterflies that I use so much to represent being free that are coming out from the shadows and rising up. There is so much to seek out and interpret, what does this picture mean to you?
I’ve loved creating this piece, it’s the widest scene that I’ve done and that’s for a reason. If you imagine when you are stood there, as I put you in the position of every ‘Storyteller’ piece, it’s how much you can take in that is in your line of vision. The key message is no matter how far down you are, how far gone you think you are; this sense of hope and help is always there, and nothing is ever truly impassable.
Edition Size: 20 + 5AP
Specification: Limited edition story book with custom frame, 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