Lucie Loves... Art // Mark Powell: Drawing on History exhibition
I was recently invited to attend a private view of bic biro pen drawings created by Leeds lad and artist Mark Powell. This was to be the first solo exhibition of his work at Hang Up gallery. On receiving the email invite, and a few jpeg samples of his work, I was instantly hooked. I knew that this was an exhibition I couldn’t miss. I was drawn (excuse the pun) to the intricacy of his penmanship and the mixed-media effect of layering his biro upon antique envelopes, historical documents, newspapers and maps.
I had a great chat with Mark and his friend Jim. We talked about working in call centres, doodling for the entertainment of work colleagues at Ladbrokes, training as a Fine Art Painter at uni in Huddersfield (if I remember correctly…) and their tattoo collections - these boys are INKED and eventually about Mark taking a risk in coming down to London to set up as an artist. A risk that’s most-certainly paid off.
Living in London there are so many art exhibitions and creative things to do, as advertised in Time Out London and many other arts publications, that you often take them for granted a bit. The fact that these things are readily available on your doorstep or only a ‘London Hour’ away is such a privilegeI decided to make an effort to fulfil my cultural longings and headed east to N16, the home of Hang Up’s highstreet gallery space.
At university, I used to study Illustration as part of my BA Visual Communication degree at BCU. For a year or so I was torn between choosing to specialise illustration or photography.
Like Mark, I used to hoard scraps of old wallpaper, newspapers, fabrics, packaging and old books to be worked into collages and illustrations. It wasn’t until some years later, after moving out of my uni house and back home to my parents, that my mum persuaded me to throw out those once 'coveted’ now 'rotting-in-shed-outside’ boxes of paper. It was a sad moment.
However, in the end photography won. The solitary nature of illustration lost out to my inner-need (and curious nature) to meet new people and find out their stories. I specialised in documentary photography and never looked back. Although I always will have a huge amount of time for illustration and many of my uni peers have been lucky (read: mega-talented enough) to craft a career for themselves out of it.
And so, I’m a sucker for the visual arts.
Be it photography, sculpture, film, animation, fine art, illustration or textiles. If it catches my eye it very often stirs something inside of me and awakens emotions; a need to be more creative and to take inspiration from everything that surrounds me.
Mark Powell’s Drawing on History work is the result of hours and hours spent bent over his desk, pen in hand, drawing and drawing for a solid month and a half. A real labour of love. It’s been time well spent, as you will see when you visit the exhibition for yourselves.
Drawing on History runs from 27th July to 1st September 2013.
56 Stoke Newington High Street
London N16 7PB
Mon - Tues by Appointment
Wed - Sun 12pm-6pm
Photography © Lucie Kerley