Interview with Marcus Aitken

“I love that so many of the shops are selling from local artists and designers, it creates a stronger bond in the community and makes customers patrons of the area by buying and supporting locally.”

Tell us a little about yourself and your journey to becoming an artist.

I’ve always had a continuous flow of creative projects on the go for as long as I can remember. For the past 5 years painting has really been my focus. I studied a graphic design degree in London but came to the realisation in my final year that I was more interested in creating work from my own brief rather than someone else’s.

My work has gone through various stages, from sculpture, film, digital manipulation and at one point owning my own jewellery business. I think everything has influenced and played into what I’m doing now. For me, painting has given me complete freedom in my creative pursuits.

What is your favourite piece and why?

I don’t have a favourite piece. What I can say is that I create many pieces that never see the light of day as they haven’t been a success one way or another. Everything that I show on my Instagram or website are pieces that I am proud of and each have elements that I feel are successful in their own right.

What does your work aim to say?

My work doesn’t have a particular message. For me, it’s about an exploration of material and gestural mark-making. Music also plays a big part in my work as it dictates how I approach each piece dependant on what I am listening to at that time

What does a day in the life of an artist look like?

My studio is in Tulse Hill, so it’s pretty convenient for me as it’s just a couple of stops from Gipsy Hill station. I like to start fairly early as usually the first hour is set up time. I treat my practice like a 9-5 job and give myself set break times, however I sometimes work late into the night if I get a bit carried away with what I’m doing, which is quite often.

I would also say that a good 2-3 hours each studio day is taken up by art admin…its actually quite a big part of being an artist. It’s also pretty useful at times as it gives me some space from my work so I can go back into it with a fresh viewpoint.

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Typically, I mostly use Acrylic paint in my work, however experimentation with my materials and surfaces is key to my practice. I started painting on wood about a year ago and it has really changed up the way I am working now. The way I work has generally stayed the same in that I approach my surfaces face up instead of the traditional way of painting on an easel or wall-mounted. By painting this way, it has allowed me to free up my gestures and mark making from all angles by moving around my work.

Who / what inspires you?

It’s hard not to be influenced by everything! Social media is an interesting tool as it can be amazing in that every possible resource you want to see is in the palm of your hand but can also be too much and end up clouding my focus at times. I try to go art exhibitions every few weeks whether it be small exhibitions by emerging artists or the well-known artists in the household name galleries. It’s really useful to see what is trending and why and its rare that I come away with not feeling inspired, even if the work isn’t to my taste – there is always something to take away.

Why do you love what you do?

Painting gives me complete freedom. I don’t think I could ever stop painting, it’s engrained in my being and I am so grateful that I can earn money from my passion

Can you tell us why you think art within the local community is important?

Being an artist relies on support. When me and my wife discovered Crystal Palace years ago we instantly clicked with it and knew that we would move here eventually. Just by wandering around the triangle you instantly feel that there is a strong community in Crystal Palace, especially supporting small businesses and creativity. I love that so many of the shops are selling from local artists and designers, it creates a stronger bond in the community and makes customers patrons of the area by buying and supporting locally.

See Marcus’ entry HERE

Image above – Photography by Mildred

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