Canterbury Artist Mark Duggan
Recently, we had the pleasure of catching up with Mark Duggan, a collaborative artist with doodlewear, for an insightful conversation on our Creative Chats blog. From the picturesque city of Christchurch, Canterbury Artist, Mark Duggan is not merely an artist, but a skilled storyteller who wields pen and ink to craft vibrant and intricate images that spring to life on paper. From his dedicated home studio, Mark's imagination takes flight, capturing the essence of the natural world and everyday moments with captivating detail and a touch of magic.
Canterbury Artist Mark Duggan
Mark's Artistry: A Glimpse into His World
Nestled within his home studio, amidst the hustle and bustle of family life – with his wife, three boys, and two feline companions, Monet and Fuji – Mark Duggan brings his art to life. His works resonate with themes of nature's wonders, featuring a delightful array of birds, animals, and everyday snippets that often go unnoticed. His creations have found their place in collections both within New Zealand and across the globe, finding their way into the hearts of art enthusiasts.
A Path Less Traveled: Mark's Artistic Journey
When asked about his background, Mark shared how his journey meandered through diverse terrains. "My father was in the military, so we moved around a lot growing up. We eventually settled in Christchurch in the mid-80s. I’ve been here ever since," he revealed. Balancing his day job as a draughting cadet with his passion for art, Mark embarked on a journey of self-discovery. "I’m generally not a fan of the term 'self-taught' when it comes to describing learning to draw and paint. But that’s essentially what I am. Let's instead say... I've taken the 'off-road' path with my learning; carving my own track through the artistic jungle. Yeah, a few scrapes and bumps along the way... but the path is getting a little easier to navigate now. Hmmm… Who am I kidding? It's always a challenge. But that's half the fun!"
Drawn to Inspiration: Mark's Creative Muse
What sparks Mark's creativity? "Looking at my work and what I create, you would probably guess that animals are a bit of a recurring source of inspiration. It’s funny as it wasn’t an intentional choice. It just kind of ‘happened’. There are so many amazing creatures on this planet, that it’s hard not to be inspired by them. Having said that, I think I slowly drift between themes. A while ago it was statues and monuments; before that, buildings. I’m not sure what’s next," he shared. His artistic influences span the spectrum, from the legendary Van Gogh to local icon Bill Sutton, not to mention the multitude of online artists who continually enrich his artistic journey.
Behind the Canvas: Unveiling Mark's Artistic Process
Mark's creative process is a blend of method and magic. "It depends on the medium I’m using; however, the basic process is the same. First, once inspiration hits, I gather source material. This could be photos or quick sketches. Then I plan out the composition as a ‘thumbnail’ sketch. From there, it’s a matter of drawing, then redrawing. Followed by the application of ink or paint. With that, there’s some gnashing of teeth with frustration when it’s not going well, and victorious air fist pumps when it is haha. Then, a ‘masterpiece’ is born! Well, I hope it’s some sort of masterpiece."
Exploring Unconventional Avenues
We asked Mark if he had ever considered using unconventional mediums or techniques for artistic creation. He shared, "I mostly use traditional tools to create my work; you know, pencils, pens, paint. Having said that, I have experimented. For example, I created ink drawings with randomly found sticks or with some carved bamboo pens I made. The results were kind of cool due to their unpredictability."
Brushing Off Critique
Art and opinions go hand in hand, and that's the beauty of it. Mark recalls, "Here’s a real-life story to illustrate this. Picture this in your mind. It’s exhibition opening night, and I’m circulating around the space. I’m standing just within earshot of two women looking intently at my work. They were pondering the painting; when one turned to the other and said with a blunt tone, 'You know what?… (she pauses for a moment)… I just don’t like it!' Now that caught me a little off-guard, but that’s 100% okay. To me, that’s one of the joys of art. One person will dislike a work with equal passion to another who may love the work. I didn’t take it personally. It actually made me smile."
Defying Trends, Embracing Individuality
Trends come and go, but the soul of art remains steadfast. Mark shares, "Trends are something I don’t pay attention to. The way I work is my artwork is my personal reaction to a subject. You know, to something that makes me want to create an image on paper or canvas. Style and trends don’t really factor into that. Ultimately, the images I create are a bit selfish, in that I create them based on my own interests. And if it resonates with others, that’s magic!"
Evolution of Expression: Mark's Artistic Evolution
Mark's art has evolved over the years, maturing in technique and style. "Both in technical ability and style. I know I still have a lot to learn, so my style will shift again. My initial goal was to create realism-based images. Now with my pen and ink work, it’s moved to more of an illustrative style. Having said that, I’m curious to dip my toes back into that more realistic style again. I just don’t know when, or where this path will lead," he shared.
Favourites and Reflections: Mark's Artistic Gems
Among his many creations, one artwork holds a special place in Mark's heart. "'Otago Cottage' is a long-time favourite," he admitted. "There’s one artwork titled ‘Otago Cottage,’ which is displayed constantly at home. So it’s not on rotation. It’s quite different from what I create now, but it’s been with me constantly for many years. So I guess that one is the first that comes to mind. It’s a pretty cool artwork."
Weaving Magic through Creation
The best part of this journey? Mark shares it's encapsulated perfectly by the words, "Art is freedom. Being able to bend things most people see as a straight line." ~ Author Unknown. Mark adds, "Drawing and creating art kind of makes you into a magician."
Success Unveiled: Mark's Definition
Success for Mark goes beyond monetary gains. "The true meaning of success for an artist, I believe, is creating a connection and moving people," Mark emphasised. "When an image I create resonates with the viewer and they are moved by it; now that’s a success! I mean, how can you beat that?"
Navigating Challenges: A Glimpse into Mark's Struggles
Mark's challenges resonate with many artists. "Time and temperature!" he confessed. "There isn’t enough time in the day to achieve what I plan each day. This is an ongoing challenge. Plus my studio is a bit of a temperature pendulum. In the heat of summer, I almost melt, and in winter, it can be like an icebox. I really need to regulate that space a bit better!"
Social Media's Dichotomy: Mark's Take
Navigating social media's landscape is a mix of love and effort for Mark. "Well, to be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with it. For me personally, it takes a bit of effort to navigate through it. Having said that, the pluses I have gained from social media are worth the effort. I have been able to reach a worldwide audience with my work which is amazing. Also, I have connected with so many wonderful like-minded people and made some amazing friendships. That is pretty special. After all, art I believe is a great connector across all the world."
Beyond the Canvas: Mark's Joys
When not immersed in art, Mark revels in family, music, and movies. "Family, music, and movies are the trifecta. Family keeps me on my toes, running from making me laugh to cry haha. Music brings me audio joy and is a mood changer, and movies are pure escapism. I’m a sucker for a good sci-fi, so that’s a no-brainer to escape into another world there."
Advice for Aspiring Artists
Mark's advice is a beacon for emerging artists. "Not to be too harsh on yourself," he advised. "This whole ‘art thing’ is a marathon, not a sprint. If it’s not going as you planned, that’s 100% okay. Sometimes it actually turns out better than you thought it would. Just enjoy the ride."
A Journey Unfolds: Explore Mark's Doodlewear Collaboration Collection
Mark Duggan's artistic odyssey is an inspiration. Visit his Doodlewear Collaboration Collection, a testament to his creativity. Discover the synergy of art and fashion and become part of the narrative.
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