The Wallington Gallery welcomes MP Elliott:
Mark Paul Elliott is an artist originally from North Manchester. He has also lived and worked in former mill towns such as Rochdale, Bolton and Oldham.
Having worked in the banking industry for most of his life, in 2007 he relocated to Lincolnshire where he returned to education and obtained a 2:1 BSc degree in Computer Systems Engineering before successfully gaining employment as a Junior Computer Systems Engineer.
Life events towards the end of 2013 guided Mark to take up oil painting, a passion he had always wanted to try. Mark was a budding artist from an early age but it wasn’t until he moved to Lincolnshire that he became intrigued with art and artists that had originated from his Northern roots.
During the next few years, Mark researched and documented much of Manchester and Lancashire’s history through old photographs, books and film. It was during this time that Mark became an avid follower of the Northern Art scene.
Having always known about L S Lowry, Mark was introduced to other Northern School Artists including Trevor Grimshaw, Theodore Major and William Ralph Turner to whom he says “they have taught me more about Northern Art than any art tutor could have taught me in a lifetime”.
It is these artists that influence Mark the most and he puts this down to his working class Northern roots. “Having grown up in a working class family in North Manchester, you learn to find the beauty in all that is around you. I remember as a child making patterns in puddles that had been polluted with oil, the rainbow effect that this mixture causes and the way you can manipulate the pattern using your imagination and a broken twig!”
Mark is a self-taught artist who believes this will allow him in time to experiment more with the work he produces. He feels by leaning new techniques and styles himself he is best able to master whatever it is he is trying to achieve. Mark explains “I have learnt so much already and much of what I do best, I have found by trying something new, sometimes by mistake!”
It is his experimentation of oil paint that helps Mark produce varying textured techniques in his paintings. Some of his paintings are smooth with little texture, some of his paintings have a very heavy impasto texture whilst some are made up from the crusty remnants left behind on his palette!
Mark says “I personally just like to paint whatever I feel at any one moment. I never go into a painting thinking I am going to paint this or that. I literally let the painting paint itself. I have started many paintings thinking they were going to be landscapes and they have ended up being seascapes and vice versa, thus now I just go with the flow. One thing that is does affect my paintings is my mood. The thicker the paint in a painting, the more anger I feel I am releasing, being able to throw that paint around and manipulate it into something of beauty helps give great stress relief whilst my more subtle paintings are those done whilst I am reminiscing. As for my subject matter, when people say it is ‘Grim up North’, I say, actually, it is ‘Beautifully Grim up North’ and this is how I like to portray Northern life, it may be dark and dull at times but there is always a brightness if you look closely enough for it.”
One thing Mark has noticed in his short time as an artist is that his work does not just appeal to those from the North of England. In today’s online world of social media, Mark has gained thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter from all over the globe and he says “I love the fact that my work is seen and enjoyed by people from different backgrounds and it is surprising how I have heard similar life stories to my own from people in other countries and with different cultures, it really puts in to perspective how similar we are as a human race”.
As for the future, Mark feels his work will evolve further over time. As a self-taught artist, he does not feel restrained on what work he produces and he feels extremely happy to have finally given in to the urge to paint.