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Mark Satchwill

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
Well, since my childhood. I showed an aptitude for drawing and painting from a young age and was lucky enough to have teachers who recognised it and encouraged me. Art was my favourite subject at school and the art room was the hang out of my friends and I. I drew all the time, doodling and sketching and decided I wanted to be an artist when I was quite young. Most people thought I would go into fashion but that wasn't really what I wanted, though it was an interest.
What is your medium of choice?
Watercolour. I work almost exclusively in watercolour now. I started using watercolour and gouache at school and I've stuck with them over the years. I found I could get the results I wanted with them and I could work fairly quickly, which I prefer. It's not really highly valued as a medium which is a shame.
What are your motivations for creating?
Hmm, that's quite a tough question. There is the obvious thrill from creating something - being able to present something and say "I made that!". I particularly enjoy painting portraits so each time I begin one there is the excitement and challenge of capturing not only a likeness but something of the person's character. Can I do it? Will they like it? The thrill of a sale. The sting of criticism. Money is a motive, to a certain extent. Personal expression is pretty low on the list - I don't use my art to express my feelings, not consciously anyway - of course, you can look at my work and maybe get some idea of who I am but my work is more about other people and their characters and image and personalities. I guess I also create to be happy - to enjoy myself, to have fun.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
Portrait artists such as Holbein, Sargent, Hockney. I always loved artists such as Edward Burne-Jones, J.W. Waterhouse. Mucha and Klimt, and Illustrators like Rackham, Dulac and Beardsley. I like the photographers Pierre and Gilles, David LaChappelle and I also like kitschy stuff, religious art, film posters and pulp book covers. Also fashion designers Like Vivienne Westwood and Gaultier, as well a a myriad of images of pop stars and movie stars.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
Well, faces are always what has most prompted me to pick up a pencil or paintbrush, and that's still true. Artist-wise I like Mark Ryden and Terry Strickland.
Read anything good lately?
I've been re-reading a lot - Antonia Fraser's "Marie Antoinette", because I've been working on a series of paintings of her and other figures from the period of the French Revolution and Philip Pullman's "Northern Lights" - I am thinking of doing some work based on this one too. It 's set in a parallel world, very similar to our own, except people have what are called daemons, a companion in the shape of an animal (they are essentially their soul). Children are being abducted, for reason unknown, and a young girl, Lyra, loses a friend and goes in search of the truth. Intelligent and beautifully written, and bursting with ideas and invention.
What are some of your artistic goals for the future?
Well, I started painting seriously at the end of 2005 - though I finished my degree in 1989 I had only painted sporadically having become disillusioned and losing confidence. I'd had an exhibition in 2000 but then had dropped it again and had not painted for five years. I had another exhibition, a small portrait based one early in 2006 then was at a loss. it was only in November I began selling online, so less than a year ago. So my artistic goals for 2007 were pretty simple - just to keep going!! I just want to keep painting really - no big ambitions, just to make a living as an artist. I think that's hard enough. I'd like to do more portraits and I'd like to do some larger pieces - this year I've worked small ACEO size a lot. I want to continue my historical portrait series of ACEO's, and maybe do a series based on Saints.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
That I've had a great time at EBSQ so far - lots of very talented and friendly people, lots of good information and the shows are great fun too. That I hope I can continue to produce work that's interesting and beautiful and of merit and that I hope they will continue to come and look at it.

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