This month, local artist Mark Ellender is back with his third Viva cover, illustrating our theme of ‘independence’. “It’s about going against the tide, going out on your own, doing things under your own steam,” he says. “Have you seen the speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford? It’s fantastic – in a nutshell, it’s all about following your heart and striking out on your own. I wanted to somehow put across that entrepreneurial spirit – ‘everything else is going on over there, but I’m going this way’ – I think that really fits in Lewes.”
We agree, and we love the eclectic mix of images that Mark’s covers always bring: the Harvey’s chimney puffing away on top of the man’s hat; the fish, quite literally, out of water. “A lot of my work starts as a stream of consciousness,” he explains. “I just sketch and sketch, and whatever comes out of that will or won’t find its way into a painting.”
One theme which tends to rear its head fairly frequently in Mark’s work is Easter Island. “I love Pacific island art and it’s almost impossible for that not to show up in everything I do. The masks, the statues – I remember being struck by them as a kid, seeing them in National Geographic and just thinking they were amazing. I’m just absolutely fascinated by the mystery of how the devil they got there – some of them are four metres tall!” Mark finally got to make his trip of a lifetime to Easter Island back in October; he appeared in the Spread the Word slot of VL#136, holding his Viva, of course.
Mark produces bespoke paintings and murals to commission, as well as smaller scale illustrated works. He has also designed and illustrated a children’s book series. Until now his work has predominantly been in acrylic on canvas, because of its fast-drying nature, which allows his hands to keep up with his mind, but his plans for the coming year are to build on his digital skills. “I’m not going to step away from the easel completely,” he says, “but I’d like to be able to go back and do a bit of editing. I really like artists like Shag, and seeing the work they do with it, that’s something I want to try out.” Perhaps when he’s back with his fourth cover, it won’t be a painting at all…
Check out some more examples of Mark’s work at markellenderblog.wordpress.com