Marcus Aitken


My name is Marcus Aitken, I’m 30 years old and I live and work in south London with my wife and my hairy son Rufus (he’s a cat). “A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.” A quote by the late, great Hunter S. Thompson. I try remember this whenever I feel stuck.

Image courtesy of Josh Cobb & Laurie Fletcher

I suppose, I rediscovered painting once I graduated from my art degree which is a bit backwards but I think it was quite a natural progression. During my studies, I was focused on sculpture and design from which I started a jewellery company. After a few years I found that I didn’t have the creative freedom I craved, so picked up the brush and here I am now.

Image courtesy of Josh Cobb & Laurie Fletcher

I guess a big part of painting for me is based around a fascination of the process of getting from nothing to a finished piece. Anyone who follows me on Instagram, will know I don’t tend to keep much hidden in terms of my processes as I try to show behind the scenes as much as possible. It’s as much a visual diary for myself as it is to show others. In terms of style, admittedly, its easy to get sucked into trends as humans are all just big sponges but I try to avoid this as much as possible and do what feels natural in the moment and not overthink it too much.  

There’s always an initial idea – there has to be. I don’t tend to keep a sketchbook, but rather an ideas wall which is a collection of odds and ends that I like for one reason or another and want to incorporate into my work at some point. I’m quite the insomniac and tend to think deeply about what a painting might look like late at night, so the physical act of actually doing the painting is more of a need than anything else. Sometimes I feel like I would explode if I didn’t actually execute the ideas running around in my head.

I think my biggest motivation is simply the need to create. For anyone who knows me well, knows that I am someone who always needs to have a project, so having this lifelong project has kept me sane in many ways. There are so many artists that inspire me, for different reasons. I guess taking a different viewpoint of this question is looking at a gallery which I am particularly fond of… Palais de Tokyo in Paris. It’s such a unique space and more than anywhere else, I always exit the gallery feeling like I did when I was 9 years old and just exited the cinema having watched spiderman – full of excitement and the belief that I can be and do anything.

Image courtesy of Josh Cobb & Laurie Fletcher

My studio is a loft space which I rent from my brother. Since migrating from my previous space (a shed studio that I built), it’s really transformed my practice having more space to do more ambitious works. I think a space really does narrate the energy in an artist work. I’m really looking forward to doing a residency in central London next month, and also in Italy later this year.

It’s a relationship. There will always be ups and downs, moments of frustration and moments of extasy, but overall I’m still in Love.

Piece with Artist. ©

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