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Art & Life with Mark Hanson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Hanson.

Mark, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I studied Fine Art at University City Birmingham in the UK. I attended art school during the late 1990’s, at a time when “BritArt” was at its peak and when the role of representational painting was questioned over the ever emerging, dominate practice of conceptual art.

I learnt from the very beginning that in order to produce figurative art in such hostile conditions you had to have a sense of defiance. What my art education gave me was the ability to fight for my own identity as a painter which has laid down the foundation for my entire art practice and career.

More recently, in 2014, I studied for a Masters in Drawing at The Royal Drawing School in London. The school was partly set up to counteract the lack of traditional skills being taught in art schools. Here I studied life drawing and then later developed it into the practice of life painting under the tuition of Robert Dukes, a highly accomplished painter and alumni of The Slade School. The work I produced during this intense period formed the basis for my first solo show in London, Shoreditch at Mercer Chance Gallery.

Like most practicing artists, I made an account on Instagram as a way to promote my work. It was here that I first made contact with Jennifer Pochinski. I am a huge fan of Jennifer’s work, and we soon began to exchange messages of support. In April 2017, Jennifer suggested that I applied for a group show in Santa Clara, California for the show, Honouring The Legacy Of David Park. It was a great privilege to be invited and to take part in this project because Bay Area artists, such as Park, Diebenkorn, and Bischoff have had a great influence over my practice and my work.

For this reason, I was genuinely thrilled that my painting was selected for the show. Jennifer, being ever supportive, introduced my work to the Gallery owner Barry Sakata. He offered me a solo show at his gallery b.sakata garo in Sacramento for the following year.

The solo show took place in May this year, 2018 and was an incredible experience. Barry soon after invited me to be part of a group show in June called El Grupo Espectaculo. I had the privilege to show alongside some great Californian painters, Namely, Jennifer Pochinski herself.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a figurative painter. My practice revolves around plein air landscape painting, painting directly from the figure in the life room and working from my studio which is based in my home in North London, UK.

Though my figurative practice engages entirely in the pursuit of the thing seen and observing from life, the formal qualities, the abstract nature of painting, is of equal importance to my work. I have always attempted to communicate through the language of paint, and I believe that in my practice this language is first and foremost derived from observational drawing. Forms are ‘drawn out’ through the process of looking and observation. My aim is to discover the image through a series of hard-won battles, which result in a collection of lost and won attempts.

This continuous process, the act of constructing and deconstructing form, winning and losing the drawing, is of great value and interest within my work. All attempts are to render the thing seen, but the nature of painting is built on complex, paradoxical qualities. Form emerges, dissolves, re-appears and subsequently gets lost. It’s an ongoing search. My intention is to amalgamate these opposing, contradictory and separate languages into a coherent whole.

Therefore, opposing forces are common themes in my work, and my aim is to depict the tension that fuses both disparate parts. The result being a split, creating a fractured surface that suspends the subject in a state of flux. My interest within this spatial dichotomy, where edges meet, spill and bleed into each of its neighboring, demarcated areas, is prevalent in the construction of both my figurative and landscape work.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
The artist role is to ultimately reflect the human condition. Painting is an honest reflection of oneself in the here and now. My work has always attempted to tackle issues of how difficult it is to be a human animal.

The biggest challenge facing artists today is to develop a strong identity within an individual practice that is honest and authentic. One that stands apart from fashionable trends and answers truthfully to oneself. Finances are always going to be an issue because developing work requires daily commitment. Social media has greatly enabled artists to communicate with each other and without doubt has been an extremely valuable tool for networking. However, one has to navigate through it. What sets artists apart is good work. This can only be nurtured through constant daily practice.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I am currently working towards a second solo show at b.sakata garo. The show is scheduled for 2020.

Jennifer and I are both currently showing together in the UK. We are both represented by Judi and Brain Green in Tregony Gallery in Cornwall.

You can also see my work at and also on Instagram: hanson3415

Contact Info:

  • Address: Woodlands
    Saint Andrews Close
    N12 8BA
  • Website:
  • Phone: +44 7814022063
  • Email:
  • Instagram: hanson3415

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