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1) Who is Mark Rowden?
A printmaker, artist and father. Born in the UK, I moved to Sydney in the late 90’s. I make art works concentrating on relief prints. I believe that being an artist is simple = you just have to make art, no one else will make it for you unless you’re Andy Warhol!
2) Explain your current body of work?
My Current body of art has two strands, the overlapping connection is that they are all high contrast lino-cut prints. The first is a collection of memories of childhood, a playful grouping of images that have all been hand coloured. The second group is a collection of portraits that are more sensual and suggetive.
3) If you can pick one artist as an inspiration, who would it be and why?
As everybody says..this is a hard question. I can only narrow it down to three artists: Caspar David Friedrich, Anselm Kiefer and Alfred Sisley.
A very eclectic grouping I know, but I find they all bring a tonality to their works that I like. They produce is a vibe that I connect to, a sensation that provokes me into thought and generally gets me into the head space that allows me to work. Another big inspiration to me is snow. A friend of mine and fellow artist, Tim Smith, once described snow’s effect on the artist’s eye beautifully: “When the snow lands on the ground, it takes all the middle ground away and leaves the core information that is needed for the mind to connect the pieces”, which is exactly right and for me these artists have that tone in some of their works.
4) With your own art/art practice, where would you like to be in 10 years?
I’d love to be able to live off my art, have a permanent studio and inspire people with what I create.
5) What kind of art training have you had?
1 year of study at an art school in the UK and 4 years in Australia (at National Art School). On top of this I’ve done 8 years of fine art editioning for artists including Charles Blackman, John Olsen, Adam Cullen and McLean Edwards to name a few. Editioning is terrific training – you are teaching and learning at the same time. When you edition with a painter the conversations you have teach you so much.
6) Can you tell us about your process when creating an artwork?
It’s usually a three-step process: make a drawing on the block, carve it and then print it. The main thing with the printmaking process is how many times the image you’re creating can change throughout each stage, unlike a painting where each mark is seen straight away and that is the mark.
7) In the arts is social media helpful or not and why?
It’s a sure fire way to get your business out there. I use it all the time. I use Twitter, WordPress and Facebook, privately and through my ‘sydney galleries and art community’ blog. It connects people and I have tried to use it in away that the people know what they are getting with me, keeping it on subject and keeping focused. It’s like any other medium though – to make it work you have to direct it to the right people, the ones that matter, and you must keep your messages true and on point. But art can still speak for itself, if it’s good people will find out.
8) What was the funniest thing you’ve heard someone say about your own work?
The words that come to mind are “You’ve got detention”. I was never a word person and when it came to my English class it was all words! So when I got some home work to make up a story about anything, I wrote one page A4 of a great story, followed by nine pages of drawing to accompany it. My teacher said it was time to step up and write more, draw less, and my response was, “Isn’t a picture worth a thousand words?” Wrong response.
9) What is on the agenda for the next couple of months?
I have a solo show at the Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick opening Feb 7, then I’m part of a group show in Melbourne at Off The Kerb gallery opening March 8. Then my work will be part of ‘Conductor’s Project’, an art initiative at Museum and St James train stations, in June. Then after that a break to refresh and get the ideas flowing again, along with enjoying being a dad.
10) What is your advice to children who want to be artists?
Do it if it’s the one thing you wake up wanting to do and the last thing you are thinking about as you go to sleep. Don’t feel like you have to work with canvas or hung in an art gallery to be an artist either – you can be an architect, a graphic designer, or even create computer games.
Just put some art in your life, have fun and you’ll get there.
11) How are you finding the current art market?
Can’t lie, it’s hard out there and people are looking at new markets and new ways to earn a living. It’s not all about the money either but it sure does help you get the right equipment and space to make works. But just make art when and where you can, as long as you are making it, that’s all that matters.
12) Name four things that you cannot do without in your studio?
My computer, music to listen to, a good coffee from my local and a 4B pencil.
13) If you couldn’t be an artist what would you be?
Apparently I wanted to be a fireman when I was little so I’ll go with that.
14) Where can we find more about Mark Rowden?
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