Interview with artist Mark Powell showing at Hang-Up Gallery

Interview with artist Mark Powell showing at Hang-Up Gallery – words Bojana Duric

Located in the heart of Dalston, Hang-Up gallery has hosted over 20 exhibitions that have displayed works by over 50 artists – from Banksy, The Connor Brothers, Harland Miller and Mark Powell. Hang-Up has maintained a local following in the eclectic part of East London while growing its following to a national and international level.

To celebrate the gallery’s tenth anniversary, they have launched a ten-week festival of art and entertainment called Hang-Ten. The event will exhibit new works from ten of their top artists, and host various engaging workshops and talks, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the artists and their works.

Last weekend bic biro artist Mark Powell got involved with Hang-Ten for an intimate and engaging live drawing session. The artist uses anything as a canvas – from the Monopoly board game to the front cover of a National Geographic – and draws people he’s met throughout his travels using simply biro pen. The artist talks to Flux about drawing in front of an audience, his biggest artwork to date, and how his travels have inspired an anthropological point of view in his drawings.

Have you done live drawing before, or is this your first time? Is there more pressure to draw in front of an audience?

Mark Powell: I have done live drawing before. The last time was at Moniker Art Fair when I had a show put together by Frankie Shea – it’s always fun. I often draw sketches in pubs while having a pint too, and people always come over for a look and a chat.

You’ve created a staple in your artwork, where you use anything from the cover of a National Geographic magazine to maps from WWII as your canvas. What’s something you haven’t drawn on yet, but really want to?

Mark Powell: I’d like to draw on personal diaries people have kept over the years, and draw the owner on it. Might be a tricky one to convince people to agree to but it would make a great show, I think.

Your biggest biro drawing to date is 2 meters high. What made you want to draw a piece of artwork at such a large scale? What’s the story behind this image?

Mark Powell: Going bigger is more of a challenge, and I want to go even bigger. Maybe draw a series of great singers on old song sheets of theirs lined up together, a super group type thing. The drawing is about, for me at least, the mistakes that the country is making at the minute. The choices being made are laughable and destructive, and I hope it’s not real and going to happen!

Your artwork is very anthropological, and most of your inspirations are from the people you’ve met and talked to throughout your travels. Can you tell us about one of your travels that has inspired one of your most recent pieces?

Mark Powell: I always enjoy going to Australia and meeting Aborigine people or tribes in the Amazon. I’m hoping to create a book of drawings dedicated to them. I’m also planning on visiting a series of cities around the world and creating a ‘The people of…’ series of books.

Your work is currently being exhibited at Hang-Up gallery. Where else can people go to view your artwork?

Mark Powell: I show with a few other galleries here in London. And I sometimes show with subliminal projects in LA and a couple more on the west coast. I sell a lot of work in New York too so I’m looking to work with some galleries there as well.

Hang-Ten is on at Hang-Up Gallery, 81 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 8AD from 23 June to 2 September 2018.

Interview with artist Mark Powell showing at Hang-Up Gallery – words Bojana Duric


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