Chichester Open Studios Artists
Creating in a Time of Isolation – Mark Gatehouse
Posted by Nicola Hancock on 28th April, 2020
Mark Gatehouse, from Online Venue 1, shares his strategies and discoveries while living through the time of the corona virus pandemic.
... No Art Trail? No problem! A corona painting a day in Donnington. Without the opportunity to create and make, I would be lost at this time.
How is your creativity of benefit during this time of self-isolation?
I have been in isolation for more than 6 weeks now as I share a home with my mother who is in the high risk group. At first it was a positive experience during which I produced many new paintings.
When it became a more formal lockdown, I reacted quite badly, which was a bit surprising as very little had changed from my normal level of isolation. However after a couple of weeks feeling dried up, I am surfacing again. The loss of all the planned events for the summer was particularly hard as I had been working full pelt on a number of series and now have a massive trip hazard at home!
To try and improve this gloomy state, I decided to start showing a picture a day to keep the gloom at bay! It is now week 2 of this project and so far I have received a very positive reaction. Being at the end of a cul-de-sac the footfall is sporadic. So now the picture a day project has expanded to 3 sites:
Stockbridge Road Post Office
Why does the medium you choose to work in, fulfil your need or desire to be creative?
I am a total fan of acrylic. The ability to treat it like watercolour or thick enough to embed 3d objects. I love the transparent glaze opportunities and the fluid dynamics that are accessible. I also love the fact that when it all goes wrong you can just paint over it. In my virus series I have been working with poured acrylic; it’s great, like painting with lava.
What is your most loved tool or piece of machinery, and why?
Currently, today, my absolute fave is my nail gun. I am making up easels to start my second covid art site.
More creatively, I am a brush fanatic and currently particularly in love with the blending brushes from Princeton. I get a lot of use out of a 4 inch firm foam decorators roller. But my ultimate painting tool would have to be a hot air gun from The Range. Cheap as chips, quieter and easier to handle than a hair drier. When you have ADHD, drying times take on a great significance.
What are you working on at the moment?
I tend to work obsessively; 2 or 3 weeks of producing up to 10 images a day then I burn out for a week or two. I am currently coming back into the zone. As someone who primarily trained with lens based media and has primarily taught digital arts and game design, I find my interest magnetised by the gestural and formal elements of painting. How many different readings can you pull from a few brush strokes? How can you develop a coloured square that holds peoples attention and why? I am interested in the reality of the misunderstood, the glanced object in the corner of your eye, the faded memory.
Currently my interest lies in three areas:
1. Virus I have been working with poured acrylics to create images of virus like creatures for the last two years. Currently, they are selling faster than I can make them!
2. Sussex A vaguely autobiographic series of thoughts about the sea and the Downs.
3. Neolithic Art made before someone invented art schools and decided what was good.
4. Boundaries have been an underlying interest for many years. The edge, frame, transitions, blur etc. This was brought into closer attention recently when a neighbour tried to annex a chunk of our patio for his extension as the boundary was in the wrong place. Simultaneously my lovely therapist pointed out that I had a rather aberrant approach to boundaries. Both came together to produce a continuing stream of images, leaking into much of my other work too.
Where can we see your work now?
Or, if you live in Donnington, there will be an image a day on show outside the Post Office and down the end of Wiston Avenue. People seem to like my stuff and even pay to own it.
During lockdown I am donating 50% of sales to Life Centre, Chichester’s Trauma Counselling Charity. All cards accepted!