Marcus Bolt

Artist’s Statement

When did you realise that being an artist was important to you?

It seems always… I was surrounded by ‘amateur art’ as a child… I remember sitting on my artist grandfather’s knee while he drew and painted at his easel… my Mum and Dad drawing and painting at home… my older, award winning cousin’s drawings in ‘The Eagle’… and it was always my best subject at school, and something I did naturally all the time at home for the sheer pleasure of it. Somehow, I grew up knowing I would go to art school and one day be ‘an artist’. (‘To the Manet born’?)

What or who inspired you in the early days?

I guess it was my grandfather… he drew and painted in oils, made and played musical instruments, blew smoke into soap bubbles and made me cowboy hats from his old Trilbies, using a red-hot poker to make bullet holes. He introduced me osmotically to the concept of creativity as serious fun!

What inspires you/ motivates you today?

In general, the greats, from cave painters to contemporary conceptualists. In particular, Vermeer, Ingres, Cézanne, Picasso, Klée, Rauschenberg, Beuys (and more recently, Juan Gris)… it’s a long, long list…  Not forgetting David Hockney’s book ‘Secret Knowledge’ –  a new look at how many of the Old Masters used visual aids such as mirrors, lenses, camera obscura, camera lucida, plus the Renaissance technique of ‘squaring up’, all used to create preparatory drawings for their paintings. Not forgetting the great French and Dutch still life painters.

What do you think of your own work?

I’m excited by it. I feel so lucky to have found, late in life, a genre and a way of working I feel at home with, plus having discovered an innate ability to unerringly match real life colours in paint.

I love a painting while I’m working on it, but there comes a point when I’m keen to move on to the next, because of unearthing a new technique/getting a fresh idea etc., each painting informing the next. It seems to be true that a work is never finished, merely abandoned. But I have to admit, looking back at older work, I feel deeply satisfied with my output, sometimes surprised, thinking, ‘Did I actually do that!?’

What excites, frustrates, irritates or otherwise you most about art/ artists/ the art world?

Irritates: Celebrities greedily taking up limited gallery space with their spare-time dabblings, thereby denying young, life-committed artists exhibition opportunities… and, as a corollary, that ‘art’ can be more about ‘sellability’ and ‘celebrity’ than quality at the big gallery level…

What would you like people to be saying about your work?

‘Wow! I’d really like to own that! How much is it?’ or, as a friend remarked, ‘These are well drawn…’

 Why do you prefer the medium you work in?

 I prefer working in acrylics on stretched canvas. Acrylics dry rapidly, allowing overpainting and glazing, and can be applied as a smooth, flat area, or textured. It flows beautifully if painting a straight edge (or circular/oval shapes), but also works well with masking tape. It’s a water-based medium, so it’s easy to thin, easy to wash brushes and has no smell (important as I work at home in my spare room).  On top of that, there is a large range of colours from subtle tertiaries, through strong secondary colours, to powerful primaries. All in all, I find it the perfect medium. And I like stretched canvas because of both its tension and its ‘give’.