Having hopped one door down, Material Gallery mark the opening of their prim and proper new home with a spellbinding showcase of work by Marcus Walters.
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‘Unplanned Magic’ is the title of an intriguing exhibition by our friend’s across the road from i-D Towers at Material Gallery. Previously showing at Material’s Ludlow branch, Marcus Walters brought his colours, graphics, texts and talents to London for the gallery-cum-bookshop’s recent relaunch. With a penchant for printing and a flair for form and colour, Walters’ work is a vibrant mash-up of graphic shapes, illustrations and hand-cut typography spelling out sanguine sentiments along the lines of “fill your eyes with colour,” and “find more beauty.”
Having set-up his own design studio New Future Graphic, Marcus has produced work for Levi’s, BBC, Honda and yes, he’s the man behind the illustrations of the first Innocent Smoothie carton you scrutinised over long after you’d finished the juice. Alive, kicking and better than ever after its recent relaunch, i-D online headed into Material to get the scoop from Marcus on his ZAP sketch book, CSM studies and future works for the V&A.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from? I have quite a varied style and therefore a variety of things inspire me. I love simple graphics, typography, screen-printing, mid-century design, folk art, old textiles. Inspiration generally comes from anywhere at anytime (I like to keep my options open).
Are you a doodler? Yes, massive, that’s how all my work originates. I always carry around my trusty ‘ZAP’ sketch book. My first idea goes down as a drawing even if it will eventually be a screen-print, digital image, or a multi-coloured collage. My books are also a personal diary of ideas and thoughts – I often find that an unused idea for a project can inspire work for something else.
How did you meet Joe and Lucy from Material? In their shop in Ludlow, I have family in the area and noticed the shop when on a visit a while ago. It had lots of interesting pieces in the window so just went in for a chat. I’m always on the look-out for the right kind of places to stock my prints and Material is a stand-out shop, especially in Ludlow.
Tell us about your studies at CSM… At Central Saint Martins you definitely got out what you put in. I enjoyed experimenting and investigating what is ‘art’ and ‘design’ (I studied Graphic Design) – something I feel like I continue to do. The graphic design course was quite forward-thinking and experimental, which was a bit daunting but also very exciting.
How did you come up with the exhibition title ‘Unplanned Magic’? Titles can often be an issue, especially in group or joint shows! My theory is – make it ambiguous but intriguing. Even though I was confident of how the show would work there was an element of me experimenting with over-printing* layers of my illustration which was difficult to visualise beforehand, so that bit was Unplanned, to a degree. The Magic was intended to be the end result – something unexpected and new.
Most of your works are produced by hand, how long does it take on average to produce a print? The most time-consuming aspect of creating any new work is the idea behind it. In terms of this latest show I have had a constant revolving series of prints on the go so it’s hard to pinpoint when each layer was added. For me it’s a fresh way of working which is enjoyable to work on. Hopefully this shines through the artwork – I like to think my work can make people happy!
You’ve already started up your own design studio and worked for everyone from Levi’s to Coca-Cola, what’s next? It has been a busy start to the year working on this show and another forthcoming at the Here Gallery in Bristol during April. I am also working on a few groups shows and an exclusive print for the V&A shop. I love the notion of being an applied artist and collaborating with other companies on products which is something I am looking into for the future.
Marcus Walters’ work is on display at the fresh and dandy new Material Gallery at 3 Rivington Street, magic yourself down there forthwith!
Text: Felicity Kinsella