"...what I hopefully trap on the paper, is one of a story that isn't being told aloud."
Hang-Up: Can you tell us what the biggest learning curve is that you have dealt with in your career as an artist?
Mark Powell: That would be learning to be patient with my work rather than anything external to being an artist. And the curve never stops becoming more of a curve.
HU: You have mentioned that you often start your drawings with a loose sketch and then refine the details over time - can you walk us through your process for refining and finalising a piece?
MP: I generally start with light pencil work and due to a lack of patience, I get going with the pen. I find it more fun for the detail to come from nowhere.
Mark Powell original works
HU: How do you choose the subjects for your pieces, and what qualities are you looking for in a subject?
MP: I try and find my subjects from anywhere, like in old National Geographic Magazine etc. The quality I find most interesting and, what I hopefully trap on the paper, is one of a story that isn't being told aloud.
HU: Who has been your favourite subject to date and why?
MP: Either Basquiat or James Baldwin. If I don't feel like drawing but need to in order to occupy empty silent time, I end up drawing those two.
Mark Powell in his studio drawing James Baldwin
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HU: How has your style and approach to your art evolved over the years?
MP: I always try and make each drawing better than the last and I have found myself going larger and using many more interesting ephemera. With commissions, it is fun to incorporate the subject directly with the 'canvas'.
HU: Money and time are no object - What would be your ultimate project to work on?
MP: For a while now, I have been wanting to do a 'people of' series. To travel to various cities and countries, meet people and have them write a story of their life. Whatever story they want to share and I would draw them on top of those handwritten notes. Like 'People of London', 'People of Reykjavik' etc. And I would love to meet small tribes and draw their entire population and record some of their histories too.
HU: What projects do you have for 2023?
MP: I’m having a couple more shows in Paris this year and preparing for a large solo one there next year too. I have a few other little bits in London. And I have a few big personal life things that will steal a little time though too!
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