Introduce yourself, where are you from?
I am originally from Manchester.
What was it like growing up?
Growing up has it`s difficulties for everyone so mine was pretty similar to most peoples experiences.
How many years have you been painting and drawing for?
I have been painting since i could hold a pencil, it`s something i`ve never thought about not doing.
You’re self-taught, was that a difficult process?
Being self taught was the only way i could pursue my love of figurative art, as soon as you get in the education system they try to knock out of you any hope of pursuing your goals.
How do you think your development would have been different if you went to school?
I went to art school and did the basic foundation courses but i wasn`t too interested in writing about art i just wanted to do it, so it would of restricted my development whilst i would of been writing 10,000 word essays.
What made you decide you wanted to become an artist?
I had no choice, i was working as a butcher and when the firm folded painting was the only other thing i could do, so it was either that or a job at Tesco (a supermarket).
Were you prepared to be a starving artist forever or did you have a lot of confidence in yourself?
I was always working whilst doing life drawing classes and trying to improve my work, i didn`t have any thoughts of where i could get to, but thought if i could get better than those around me i had half a chance.
How would you describe your work? What parts of yourself do you see in it?
My work is based on what i saw growing up, the only place i felt really at home was the local gallery and was amazed at the victorian collections all these places had, so i tried to absorb all i could see and take it into my own practice, so i suppose i would describe my work as a continuing fascination with the wonder of applying paint, and scraping it down and doing it again.
What emotion or feelings do you get from looking at your work?
I am always trying to keep looking at what happens when i apply paint, i`m not usually aiming to start and finish a painting but all of a sudden something happens which makes you go wow, but i still don`t know why.
You’ve gained acclaim as a figurative artist, what aspect of your focus or technique makes your art so successful?
I like to think that some level of technical ability is present, but i am also trying to produce something positive which i hope people identify with.
Where will you take your art next, how do you see it changing, evolving and maturing in the future?
I hope i can carry on developing what i do, i would like to work on a larger scale and also develop some of the themes and ideas that constantly jump around in my head.
Which artists would you consider your mentors or main influences?
I alway try to take something from any art i see, i would look at the line work of Egon Schiele, and the compositions of Degas, also the subdued tones of Rembrandt and see if i can incorporate these in my work. So i think i am always looking for something that makes me think about my own approach to what i am doing.
Which are you currently interested in?
I am currently fascinated by artists like Odd Nerdrum and Hughie o Donoghue, but also anything else i see around me.
Describe the perfect meal.
Just made a pea and ham soup, my fathers old recipe, and it doesn`t get better than that on a freezing cold night.
Do you think the world can ever achieve global peace? Would art play a hand in it?
If the world is ever to achieve global peace i think it can only be done by art, it has the power to take us from the constant belief that life is a struggle for superiority, and makes us realise we are all the same and just want a bit of self expression.
Take a look further at Mark Demsteader’s art:
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