Born in 1984, London based artist and Illustrator David Marsh, aka Mesh137 has been systematically rejecting the established 'art world' since he first embarked on a fine art degree at Sheffield Hallam university in 2003. Horrified at his tutors statements that "there was no place for painting and drawing in the art world anymore” Marsh quickly left Hallam university and enrolled on an illustration degree at Westminster University London. Over three years here, he developed his highly original and instantly recognizable style of work, drawing inspiration from various counter culture movements such as skateboarding, graffiti, tattoo and street art, old records, pulp comics and movies and the art of ancient tribes and societies.
Marsh has a real eye for detail and always aims to give his artwork the highest grade finish possible. Skill and effort pay a huge role in the creation of his art. Some of his larger paintings with their busy compositions involving minute patterning, hundreds of individual crystals and meticulous finishes often require hundreds of hours of careful craftsmanship. His illustration work consists of vibrant interpretations of everyday objects like teapots or foods such as cupcakes, amusing characters like his sassy pinup girls and cutesy pirates and his trademark 'Mesh Band' members with their distinctive red skin, long black beards, facial tribal tattoos and tall, animal horned hats.
But if Marsh believes one thing only, it's that he likes to make pretty pictures - that is, he likes first and foremost for his work to be beautiful. He likes to make pictures and paintings that people actually enjoy looking at. A concept that seems to have been forgotten amongst the so-called 'High Brow' art world for many a decade. Furthermore he doesn't take himself or his work too seriously, after all as he puts it he's: "Making paintings, not saving lives or educating children." As such he displays a healthy and rather sly sense of humour in his work, regularly mocking both the world around him and his own person, with a particular penchant for visual and verbal puns.
Q:What is your artistic Background?
I've always enjoyed making pictures - ever since I was really little I was always happiest when I had some paper and pencils or felt tip pens to draw with. I also loved cartoons, comics, games, graphic novels, films and animation and I think these really pushed me towards wanting to be an artist of some kind, be it an illustrator, animator of painter.
Q: There are many different cultural references in your work, are you well traveled?
I haven't traveled much recently, but I was lucky enough to go to some amazing places like Mexico, Japan, Canada, New York and parts of Europe while growing up. I'd say everywhere I've been has had an impact on my work, but I think the modern and historical visual cultures of Mexico and Japan are the most mind blowing. But then as a massive hip-hop fan New York was like a pilgrimage! I'd certainly like to travel through work more - there can't be a more satisfying feeling for an artist then someone on the other side of the world appreciating your work.
Q:What are your inspirations as an artist?
There's so many! : Old comics - classic romance comics, 'Tales from the Future', 'Amazing Adventures' kinda stuff. Retro playboys, glamour and pinup art. Teapots, cupcakes, shoes, gemstones. Ancient tribal culture/art. Classic Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese art. Modern day street art, graffiti art and pop art. Old records - for the music and the covers! Anything with patterns on, 80's rap lyrics/clothes, the work of author Hunter S. Thompson, B-movie posters, trashy novels Skateboard culture, old skateboarding videos and magazines. Anime and Manga, classic video games, 60's poster art, being an insomniac, dark rum, golden beers, and finally the music, illustrations and artwork of way too many individuals to mention here!
Q: Your artworks are very intricate; you must have a lot of patience. How long does it take on average to create a piece of work?
I can produce a small painting in around a day or two, but one of my larger paintings with all the tiny details like the crystals and patterning can take me up to a couple of months. I like to give my paintings as perfect a finish as is possible which means working very carefully and slowly, but hopefully it pays off in the end!
Q:Which is your preferred medium?
I use a mixture of mediums : paint pens, spray paints, metallic and acrylic paints, crystals and materials like felt. I normally work on wooden boards andblocks because I love the look and feel of the wood and I can get a much better finish then on canvas. I also like to work digitally, producing work on my Mac.
Q:What would you like to put across to viewers with your artwork?
I don't like to take myself or my work to seriously, so I wouldn't say Im trying to get any real message across. I just like to make pretty pictures and have fun with my work. I do like to include a few cheeky/naughty bits in there that hopefully make people smile but I'm not really m aking any statements - maybe just that 'we should all calm down a little, be a bit nicer to each other and try to have fun and enjoy life. Oh and that 'pirate girls are hot'.
Q:Have you ever had artistic block and how did you overcome this?
I’m lucky in that I've never really had a pr oblem with artistic block - if anything I have a problem with having to many ideas at once and never having enough time to do them all! I have about ten notebooks crammed full of little sketches and notes and ideas for future paintings, illustrations, animations music etc. So it's is definitely not an issue for me!
Q:Do you see yourself as part of an art movement or would you rather not be pigeonholed in such a way?
Yes, I'm the founding member of a new art movement called 'Super Dope Spaced Out Next Level Fine Art Pirates'. No not really! But if you feel you must, then stick me with the 'Talented, hardworking people who are doing amazing artwork' movement or failing them the 'Overly modest movement'.
Q:When you create a piece of work, do you create with others in mind or for your own pleasure/indulgence?
When it comes to my art I try to work to my own tastes and make paintings I'd want to put up on my own wall but it's inevitable you'll be influenced by your audience on some scale when your selling work to make a living. And obviously with commercial work you have to meet a client’s brief, which can be quite ridged.
Coming up this September 10th, David Marsh will be presenting Visual Spendor- a solo exhibition at London Miles Gallery.
Make sure you watch this artist as he continues to capture the attention and win the hearts of art lovers all around.
Visit www.londonmiles.com for more information on his upcoming exhibition.
Or visit his blog : www. mesh137.blogspot.com/