”With the countdown to my own demise well underway, I have found myself gripped by the need to paint and make images that reflect this, to create images that are strong, arresting and, perhaps inevitably, ask more questions than they answer. They use paint to leave an ‘after-taste’, an impression, a fleeting feeling that perhaps will change, just to a small degree, the way people look at life. That's really my ambition for work I do.”
Ideas are distilled from a wide array of source materials, often initially influenced by images from new technologies and the media. Sometimes collected, gleaned or found the images Mark uses stand out as being ‘right’. “But equally”, he says, “I can find inspiration by simply sitting in front of a bunch of sunflowers for two or three months, sketching their various states of decay.”
These images are then collated, transferred into a digital format, and manipulated: overlaying, cutting and pasting, adding filters and effects, and drawing again and again until the study has something about it that feels like it has the potential for beginning a canvas. This is then printed and taken to the studio as a reference. These studies are very private, and usually only ever seen by Mark. Some drawings are used as templates but others simply facilitate the generation of new ideas.