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Artist talk with Marcus Nelson


Acrylic on canvas

200 x 200 cm

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a London based painter interested in questioning the traditional ideals of masculinity and male mental health. 

Where did your passion for art begin?

I may not have been painting since I was a child but I've always been creating one way or another.I clung to art in my teenage years and stuck to it mostly because I could never figure it out.


How would you describe your work to someone?


'Toe to toe ain’t nowhere to go', 2021
Acrylic on canvas
130 x 170 cm

What are you currently working on?

This past summer I had a solo exhibition that took me a long time to prepare for.
Since it ended I am building a new body of work and preparing for some group exhibitions that will go up in the coming months.


'Keloid' (170 x 130cm)
'Adhesion' (170 x 130cm)
'Contracture' (170 x 130cm)

2021, Acrylic on canvas

When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?  

I always start with a rough idea of what composition I'm going to work on by digitally processing photos in Photoshop or collecting images found from boxing, combat involvement or pretty much any male performance activity. Once I have this sketch I draw directly on the canvas and the improvisation and intuition take over. Often the end result looks very different from the original sketch, but it only serves as a boundary within I can go wild.

Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?

Of course I am inspired by many historical artists, but many of my influences come from things seemingly unrelated to art. Experiences with male friends and family, and years spent in the boxing and mixed martial arts gyms form the backbone of what I am trying to depict through my work. I have also been inspired by books like  “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness” by Eric Fromm, and “The Boy Crisis” by Warren Farrell because I want to try and understand the equally ugly and tragic behaviours of men and why they occur. 


'Give Me Shelter', 2021

Acrylic on canvas

100 x 100 cm

What are your plans for the remainder of this year?

I would like to do some residencies overseas and see a bit more of the world outside London if I can, and close out next year with another solo show

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