This September sees the arrival of new art at The Pilgrm. We're very excited to be teaming up with London-based artist Marcus Aitken, who will be creating a selection of brand new pieces to showcase in our space. We spoke to Marcus ahead of the new exhibition to find out a bit more about his processes and the story behind his craft, plus some travel inspiration, reading material, and a bit of advice for budding creatives.
What kicked off your journey into art?I have always focused on being as creative as possible in everything I do, for as long as I can remember. I had a side hustle when I was growing up making and selling pop art portraits of my friends and their parents, which actually taught me a lot about the process from start to finish. My practice has gone in all sorts of directions since then from graphic design, film, sculpture, jewellery design and now back to painting again, but with a very different spin. My mum definitely instilled a creative drive in me having grown up watching her paint and write poetry.
How would you describe your style?Process, process, process, process, process.
Biggest source of inspiration?Everything! It’s hard not to be influenced by your daily surroundings. A big part and constant in my process is music. Many of the names I give my pieces are named after the music I was listening to whilst creating them. It also provides me with the tempo to create each piece at, which I hope comes through to the end product.
What would your advice be to young creatives?Work from the creative mind, not the competitive mind.
Do you have a favourite piece of art by another artist?“Painter” by Paul McCarthy. It’s a mad video made in 1995, where the artist pays homage and also takes the mick out of the art world. I saw the video when I was a teenager and it’s had a lasting impact on me since. He’s still creating with all this madness at age 74. I hope to keep up my own madness for as long as he has.
What about your own work - any favourites?I don’t think I can pick out one in particular. I make a lot of work that never ends up being seen as it’s not quite right for one reason or another, but the pieces I choose to show each have an element that I’m proud of.
Walk us through a day in the life of Marcus.Wake up, go to work (I work at Goldsmiths University during the week), finish work, go to my studio in Tulse Hill, paint until my wife calls me and asks me to buy some cat food on my way home (it’s for our cat, we’re not that weird). At this point, I either finish what I’m doing and go, or I make one more brush mark that will send me down a spiral of uncertainty about what I’ve just done and think that maybe I should just destroy the whole thing. Or I’ll love it and keep working on it until I finish and come home late, empty-handed, because the shop that sells the cat food is closed. It’s either a great night in the studio or a happy cat. Work-life balance.
Any special places we should visit?Palais de Tokyo in Paris. My wife is in love with Paris and it’s kind of a ritual that whenever we go, we visit this space. I love the building and the exhibitions are always amazing. It’s a very inspiring and influential place for me.
What should we add to our reading list?“Reasons to stay alive” by Matt Haig. I’m not much of a reader to be honest but this book has really stuck with me. Read it.
And finally, what's the dream?Own a Chateau in France with an outbuilding which I can convert into my art studio.
We'll be celebrating Marcus' new exhibition at The Pilgrm with an opening evening on 26th September. We'd love you to join us, but space will be limited so please RSVP via firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out more about Marcus via his website: https://www.marcusaitken.com/