I love how immersive the artist Mark Hearld’s world is: the woodiness, the dreaminess, that hint of chaos and how easy it is to lose yourself in his landscape. He possesses this rare ability to view the wonders of the natural world as if through a child’s eye.
A combination of lockdown and Brexit means we are not travelling as much and we are increasingly looking inwards. Like Mark, I’m looking at our homes, our gardens and examining this idea of Britishness and our local countryside.
A fascination with animals, birds, nature and plants lies at the core of his illustrations: a blue-eyed jay perched on an oak branch; two hares feasting on the spoils of an allotment or otherwise a swan standing on at the frozen water’s edge.
Flora and fauna are the driving force between his large body of work but he deftly operates in many mediums including collage, award winning fabrics and wallpapers, hand-painted ceramics as well as unique paintings, limited edition lithographic and linocut prints.
Born in Yorkshire, Mark studied at the Glasgow school of art and later gained an MA from the Royal College of Art. His style is influenced by the work of Picasso and also many artists from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and John Piper. He is also inspired by the neo romantic artist and illustrators, Keith Vaughn and Craxton which he admires for an English particularity of vision.
Says Mark: “I had a productive lock down and did things differently, a whole series of prints during the first lock down that I perhaps would not have done otherwise. I had a 19th century print press in my cellar and decided to explore that at home which gave an entirely different focus. It was work that was in part inspired by William Blake’s ‘Tiger Tiger” poem.
“I’m very lucky that my hobby is also my work: it’s a place I go to when the world is bleak, where I can create my own world. It’s a positive place to go to in my head.”