Mark Ward’s art rocks. Based in South London, he creates work inspired by Americana mixed with everyday images that encourage the viewer to think outside the box of their surroundings. In addition to that, they’re RAD to look at! His work has appeared as signature collections for Stussy, Burton Snowboards and Nike, and his clients range from Adidas to Harper Collins Publishers. Here is what he had to say about some of his work:
Stussy Artist Series
I’ve been working with Stussy over the years, and I was honoured they wanted me to create my own series. I created a series of 3 artworks based on existing Stussy icons and phrases. I just did my spin on them and let the images build organically – I guess I’ve got a thing for building objects from other objects. There’s a crown made from snakes, cockroaches and basketballs. A spraycan made from mirrorballs, bleeding lips and sunglasses, and a skull made from old audio equipment. I used the phrases to help bind he images together, and make sense of them in an abstract way. To me it feels like a true collaboration which is relevant to Stussy as a brand, rather than selecting some random artwork on a Stussy shirt.
Growing up in England I was always fascinated with America. Everything I was interested in came from the States. Cartoons, BMX, skateboarding etc. When I was about 10, American sports started to get air time on British TV. It all seemed so much more exciting than more the accessible sports to me, with the large mascots and iconography associated with the teams. A Flaming basketball for a logo (Miami Heat) is such a leap from stuffy crests found on football (or should I say soccer) jerseys. I guess I made it into a much bigger thing in my head. I wanted to live in that world that I was being shown rather than my apparent grey London environment.
Having now grown up and visited America on several occasions I’ve realised that world doesn’t exist. Malibu beach isn’t an episode of Baywatch. When I went there, there was one old guy surfing in a wetsuit with a hood due to the water being cold. Not one bikini clad woman in sight. Somewhere along the line the TV shows got distorted… I guess my personal work is trying to cling on to that sugar coated place, while at the same time injecting the everyday mundane reality.
I was asked to paint a wall in a PR agency in London. They gave me free reign to do what I wanted. Sometimes I find it hard when people ask you to do that, as there is no visual problem to solve – no boundaries to play with. I automatically got blank canvas syndrome. In the end I decided to just paint what flowed from me. I thought I’d take the literal word of paint and create an abstract brushstroke across the wall. It’s loosely based on one of Roy Lichtenstein’s famous brush marks.
My work is informed by old skate graphics, pop art, comic books, xeroxed flyers etc. I think the end piece reflects my aesthetic and I was glad that it pushed my work in a different direction. I’m now working on a show next year integrating more brushstrokes into the body of the work.
Visit Mark’s site: http://www.markwardstudio.com/
Follow Mark on Twitter: @markwardstudio
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