Mark McClure‘s current work around the Olympic Park in Stratford / Hackney Wick has aroused much interest to the public in London but worldwide as well. Graphicart-news recently published his amazing sculptural, a 210 metres woodwork that includes 10 more sculptural, geometric artworks – each 7 metres x 3 metres – which are made from wood reclaimed from the Olympic Park during its transformation and from local businesses.
I had the pleasure to interview Mark and find out more about his work and passion.
1. Hello Mark. Welcome to my “home” of creativity. Please, tell us about your work. When did you first started as a designer?
I create graphic, abstract artwork – from wooden sculpture through to murals and mosaic. I’ve pursued both design and art since my teens and went to college to do graphic design. I started out doing painting, screen printing and collage as a way to get out from behind a computer and it snowballed from there. I still do graphic design – I think both the art and the design help and inform each other. The areas between art and function also intrigues me – I’m interested in how the two coexist and how they can be combined.
2. What first draw your interest in woodwork?
The collage and mixed media paintings I did early on involved planes of colour and structural shapes and because the paintings were partly inspired by architecture and urban shapes – it felt an obvious step to actually use physical shapes instead of painting them onto a canvas. I regard some of the more layered work as wooden collage – or painting with wood. It’s a really forgiving material to work with. Using recycled and found materials also means the wood often retains remnants of it’s past – wether it be paint, scrawled graffiti, stains or nails left behind. This is both beautiful and interesting as it adds a sense of narrative.
3. In what form of art would you put your work and why?
Just graphic art. I’m not a big fan of labelling artwork… that’s something that tends to be done retrospectively. Ask me again when I’m dead! 🙂
4. I can see in your work an architecture influence. Do you derive some inspiration from architecture? Is there any specific architect that you admire?
Definitely. The pieces reflect the world I inhabit – visual and physical snapshots of the urban environment. So they take on the shapes of buildings and the landscape of London – along with the movement and sensations of everything within it. I wouldn’t say I admire one architect in particular – but I’m a huge fan of Brutalism so Ernő Goldfinger would be high on the list.
5. What would you say to the designers that wish to follow your woodwork style?
Just get stuck in – always keep on doing… new ideas usually come out of doing rather than thinking.
6. Tell us about your latest work, the Olympic Park Uphoarding.
Uphoarding is a 210 metre long wooden mosaic along a hoarding around the Olympic Park in Stratford / Hackney Wick – along the river opposite Stour Space, Counter Cafe etc. It was commissioned by LLDC and Moniker Projects as part of the Living Walls project and was both enjoyable and an epic labour of love – working with some great people for about 12 months to produce something which still blows my mind to see it finished.
It’s made up of ten key pieces – each 20 feet long and 8 feet high – which were made using wood recycled from the Olympic park and businesses in the surrounding area. Everything from old hoardings, parts of the Olympic Park buildings, scaffold planks, film sets.. it all went into the mix. So there’s plenty of leftovers fromf their earlier use – bits of graffiti, signage and knackered wood all included. I’m looking forward to seeing them weather and change over the years.
You can see more of it on my website – www.markmcclure.co.uk – and here – www.livingwalls-london.com/uphoarding/
7. What’s some interesting feedback you’ve received? Did it make you see your own work from another angle?
The feedback has all been great – it’s been a real buzz to hear such good feedback. In the world of gentrification etc that such art commissions are tied up with – it’s a plus for the work to feel welcome.
8. What do you express via woodworks?
That’s a tough one. I just need to make stuff.. simple as that 🙂 When it works – it works!
9. What other forms of designs are you doing or would you like to do?
There’s the graphic design I mentioned – but I’m also drawn to environmental and functional design. The crossing over between art & function is something that I find exciting – so that could encompass anything from urban planning through to lighting and digital interaction. It’s all about how we interact with
the environment we live in. This is all stuff I’d like to explore through my art and how I apply it to different things.
10. What is your opinion on social design? Do you think artists can influence and bring change?
Most definitely. As in the previous question… it could be as simple as public art being made to engage and make people smile, it could be politically driven art to raise awareness of issues. The change may not be a direct result – but anything that draws the attention of people to an issue is having influence.
11. In your opinion, what makes a good design?
I see that as the difference between art and design. Design is done to a brief – so if it fulfils that brief, then that’s a good start. But good design often goes unnoticed… we tend to notice things when they don’t work.
12. Where would you like your work to lead you? Do you have any aspirations or plans for the future?
I just want to keep pushing my art – and hope to have a solo show in the next year or so. I also plan to cross some boundaries into different areas and simply to apply myself to interesting projects with interesting people – so long as it does’t too much time sat behind a desk!
13. What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Do what you enjoy… you’ll produce your best work if you care about it.
Thank you Mark!