Former guitarist and song writer in punk/indie bands
Born Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Aims to get own work into Tate Gallery to help improve the standard there. A passion for art, antiques and music (no particular order). He and his wife, Tully, have the worlds largest Stuckist art collection.
How I started painting
For the last ten years I have been a dealer in art and antiques in partnership with my wife, specialising in the sixties and seventies, particularly work by artists such as John Piper, Stig Lindberg (Swedish designer / artist), Lucienne Day, John Clappison, etc. However, I have also developed an increasing passion for new 'underground' art, which I first encountered through being a fan of Billy Childish's music. I discovered he also produced paintings, which I greatly admired, so I added him to my collection.
This led on to finding out about other "Stuckist" artists, including Charles Thomson, Joe Machine, Eamon Everall, Sexton Ming, Ella Guru and Paul Harvey, whose art I was also really impressed by - I acquired some work by them too. In 2005, much to my surprise (and that of some others, I think, including my wife), I evolved from just collecting artwork to making it myself. The catalyst for this was that certain artists refused to sell me their paintings!
My researches led on to two artists, who had been exhibited by the Stuckists, but were no longer with the group, namely Stella Vine and Gina Bold. It seems that if you admit to even knowing the Stuckists, then these artists will not permit you to purchase their work. I found this out, when I emailed Stella in the middle of 2004 and got the reply, "Go fuck yourself." I was also informed that my emails attempting to buy work had been circulated to various galleries, where I would now not be welcome. (I normally find the opposite to be true!) Following this, I had an email exchange with Gina, seeking to buy work, but this came to the same - although more politely phrased - conclusion for the same reason. I thought it pretty childish and a real shame. I am a great admirer of their work, and think both artists have great talent.
Feeling frustrated after running into two brick walls, I thought the easiest way to get new paintings was to do them myself. I don't have any doubts that my work falls into the naïve category, although I prefer to classify it as "punk" art. This is my musical background and I see my visual work in the same way. I started painting at the end of May 2005. I have no formal training - my only qualification is a love of art.
From university onwards I have been in numerous bands including the Fat Tulips, Confetti, The Pleasure Heads, Oscar, Servalan and Sundress - to name but a few - and released dozens of records. I have also published/edited several fanzines (most famously the underground C86 fanzine "Two Pint Take Home") and jointly run my own record label "Heaven Records"
The attitude of all of this has been from a DIY basis. As Andy Warhol once said, "If you want to sell paintings you have to make paintings", so that is what I decided to do.. Some outstanding musicians have proved that all you need are 3 chords and a cheap guitar to come up with a classic. I find it much more interesting to listen to some low budget production record full of life and energy with lots of good ideas, (e.g.early Clash and Velvet Underground, The Vaselines, The White Stripes and, of course, Billy Childish with the Buff Medways etc.) than some over-produced bland pomp like Athlete, Coldplay or U2.
My naïve style is inspired by the St Ives school of artists such as Alfred Wallace and Bryan Pearce. My first series of paintings “artists in art” focused on other artists. I have become interested in the way artists are as keen to project "themselves" as their artwork - most notably Tracey Emin and Gilbert and George. This prompted me to start a series of paintings putting the artist where they want to be - as the subject. I painted a work satirising Tate Chairman, Paul Myners - he visited the A Gallery in Wimbledon, where it was on display and asked how much it was, but didn't buy it. I moved from paintings artists to painting celebrities, partly motivated by an inclination to satirise Stella Vine's treatment of them. Here are some notes on some early works:
Billy Childish: Truth, Lies and Audiotape
Emin: She's Made It..... as a Disco Diva
Stella Vine: Embracing the Tree of Celebrity
Saatchi: King Charles and the Economics of Art
Mark D first exhibited with the Stuckists in September 2005 at La Viande gallery, Shoreditch, in the show "Painting Is the Medium of Yesterday"—Paul Myners CBE, Chairman of Tate Gallery, Chairman of Marks and Spencer, Chairman of Aspen Insurance, Chairman of Guardian Media, Director of Bank of England, Director of Bank of New York. A Show of Paintings by the Stuckists, as Refused by the Tate Gallery. Guaranteed 100% Free of Elephant Dung.
A solo show took place in April 2007 at the Art Organisation gallery in Nottingham, where Mark exhibited his own work as well as his extensive collection of paintings by leading Stuckist artists. The show is reviewed on the BBC site (8.5.07)
Mark D (exhibiting as Mark Randall) shows two prints in the Large Weston Room, hung by Eileen Cooper. The room description ends "Mark Randall displays a lino-print showing a skeleton lolling in a rowing boat. Its title sounds ominous: Duchamp Is Dead and All Adrift at Sea." A report by Sarah Greenberg, RA Magazine Editor, has a photo of Mark, "a ‘Stuckist’ artist" (9.6.10). A slideshow (click to image 9) with a commentary by Eileen Cooper says, ""I think this is a first time exhibitor - somebody with a point of view and something to say. I believe this is a self-taught artist who joined the Stuckists. It's gritty and witty; he's making a comment about the resurgence of art post-Duchamp." These are the first mentions of Stuckism on the RA web site.