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Five Minutes with Marcus Aitken

Artist Marcus Aitken

Marcus Aitken has always known that he would put his creative prowess to good use. Like many young people growing up, the dream of fronting a band persisted but Aitken found visual art best encapsulated exactly what he was trying to express. Replacing the microphone for a paintbrush, the South London-based artist has been producing artworks that continue to garner attention worldwide. We sat down with Marcus to discuss new projects, the possibility of still becoming a rock star, and the many contemporary artists that currently inspire him.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

From a young age I’ve always told people I wanted to be either a rock star or an artist (I’m still working on the rock star part). Expressing myself through art in any form has always been high on my priority list, so for me it has never been a want, but more of a need to be an artist.

Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?

There is so much out there that inspires me on a daily basis. As I’m sure any current artist will tell you, Instagram is full of amazing artists doing amazing things! Although it’s great to have this resource readily available to seek inspiration from, it can actually be a sensory overload at times due to the sheer amount to look at. Some of the artists that are killing it right now are Andrew Salgado, Richie Culver, Stephen Smith, Lydia Blakeley and Oli Epp, to name a few. In terms of the household names, I’ve always loved Cy Twombly’s work as I feel I can really relate to the energy he exudes.

Artist Marcus Aitken in his studio in South London
Artist Marcus Aitken in his studio in South London

Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?

Both. Typically I create work alone in my studio which I love as it’s the space I am most happy in. I’ve also recently been working on a few collaborations with other artist friends and brands. Sometimes, because I become very focused on what I’m doing, it’s really great to just take a step back and think about a project in a different way by working with someone else’s idea. Ultimately, I think collaborating is all part of being an artist as it’s the people you meet, work with and sell to that shape your career as an artist.

Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?

I’m just about to start a project with a new art magazine called Soft Punk. I love what these guys are doing and I’m really excited to be part of it and create something specifically for their third issue, which will be available to buy in various countries across the world. The work I’m creating will focus around ‘the physicality of painting’.

Head over Heels, From the series Physicality (2020), Marcus Aitken
Head over Heels, From the series Physicality (2020), Marcus Aitken

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?

Rock star! Once I finished my art degree I was lucky enough to work in the creative industry as an Art consultant, Design Freelance consultant and Gallery Manager. Even if I wasn’t an artist, I would have continued to be surrounded by art in its various forms and contributed to the industry one way or another.

Have you found any other artists on Singulart whose work you admire?

When I was asked to join the platform I saw a few artists that I personally know from doing various art fairs like Daniella Schweisberg, Fintan Whelan and Mark Maxwell, who are great people and great artists. A few new artists works I have discovered are Jorin Bossen, Edith Torony, Christiane Lohrig and Adam Bartlett – all of which produce beautiful work.

What advice could you give to young artists starting out?

In the words of Rihanna “ work, work, work, work, work”. The age old saying of “whatever you put in, comes out”, is so true. You’ve got to be proactive and get people’s attention. It often happens that brilliantly talented artists have their work go unnoticed, so make sure you are being seen both online and offline. Lastly, building a network of people who support your practice – whether it be friends, fellow artists or collectors – is also really important because these people will be essential in your growth as an artist. 

Click here to see Marcus’ profile on Singulart