Marcus Goldson: Stars on 45. Puskin artprint A4

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Marcus Goldson

was born in Mombasa, Kenya and has a degree in Fine Art (Sculpture) from Winchester School of Art in Hampshire, England. Since 1993 he has lived in Budapest, Hungary.

Although he originally trained as a sculptor, Marcus turned to watercolours at about the time of his move to Budapest. He says that "Watercolour is an efficient medium especially when you have lots of ideas to get through; it dries quickly, is easily portable and is very durable."

At the same time he was also inspired by the watercolours of David Roberts, Winslow Homer, J.M.W Turner and David Hockney. Most of his pictures were painted in situ and involve real people and places. The bigger, more detailed pictures have been built up from many drawings or watercolour sketches and again, are based around people and situations that have been witnessed by the artist. Sometimes, for the sake of narrative, characters that are not seen normally together are placed in the same picture.

Humour is an important element in the pictures. Again it has not really been created but rather discovered in the reality of the situation and mimicked in the paintings, sometimes embellished or exaggerated. Apart from in the more academically orientated landscapes and cityscapes (with exceptions) the pictures are painted in bright, vibrant colours reinforcing the positive message of the work.

Subject matter could include anything. In a city like Budapest one can witness anything from the plain hilarious to the weird and macabre in a matter of minutes on the same street! Essentially the pictures show people being people, dogs being dogs, pensioners behaving badly and everyone generally being themselves in a place that is always rewarding to paint.

Another important part of Marcus's output are his animal designs and palm trees, ostensibly to remind himself of home but nevertheless quirky and interesting pieces in their own right. The designs featuring African wildlife came about through looking at pattern ( in carpets, prints etc) on his travels to places like the Middle - East and Africa and also the desire to paint an elephant or zebra from a different perspective and point of view other than that of standing contentedly under another lone thorn tree. Palms are part of the iconography of hot countries and Marcus has created many large pictures of different kinds of palms in a variety of techniques, bringing out their unique characters (which they all have) and their idiosyncratic situations. They also add a slice of exoticism to your living room on a dreary winter day!

Growing up in Kenya has had an obvious influence on his work, this can be seen in terms of colour and subject matter but also in a sense the simplicity and ease in which the pictures can be read. Travelling widely (and lightly) in the Middle-East, Africa and Asia has driven Marcus crazy with the abundance of paintable scenes.

He says, "In places like Cairo or Damascus I'd finish a painting, turn a corner and feel an overwhelming need to paint another one. I'd drive Ildi (his wife) crazy because I would spend over half the day sitting on the edge of pavements trying to finish a picture there and then. I wanted to complete the pictures there because it somehow made them more valid, all the dust and everything sticking to the painting as well. In the end I had to stick to a quota of paintings to do everyday i.e. far fewer than I would normally produce) otherwise I would do nothing but paint all day long. Also, doing these kinds of paintings gave me an appreciation for details. A lot of places can generally look much the same as another but if you put in details that are specific to the place, like people's clothing, street signs, brands of cigarette, moustache styles, cafe etiquette etc. then you get the complete picture and it shows a specific place at a specific time. I pay a lot of attention to details in my Budapest pictures, because it is important to the narrative of the picture what someone is eating or drinking, what colour and style their earrings are, what brand of beer, wine, coffee or ethanol that businessman is having for breakfast etc."

Marcus has also worked as a set designer for theatres here in Budapest and as an illustrator for a variety of magazines including Cosmopolitan, FHM, Playboy, Pilvax, The Cairo Times and Egypt Today magazine. He is currently illustrating for TimeOut Budapest. Marcus has also exhibited his work in many well known and some not so well known Sörözo's and cafés (appropriate to the painting's themes) in and around Budapest in the past ten years and will continue to do so. He also exhibits his work regularly in Kenya and the UK.

Selected list of Exhibitions

’Equals’ Gallery. Oswestry.UK Oct 2008 – May 2009.
Rhododendron Galeria. Budapest.June 2008.
IF Gallery. Budapest. April 2008
MU színház Galéria.Budapest. Nov 2007.
Eckermann Café. Budapest. Sept 2006
Angelika. Budapest. April 2006.
Café Vian. Budapest. Feb 2005.
Café Csiga. Budapest. Nov/Dec 2004.
The Crater lake gallery. Naivasha. Kenya. Dec 2004
Sixtus Kapolna. Budapest. June 2004.
Gallery Watatu. Nairobi. Dec 2003.
Castro Bisztro. Budapest. May 2003.
Café Csiga. Budapest. April 2003.
Wrexham Gallery. Wrexham. Clwyd. UK. Nov 2002.
23rd District Cultural Centre. Budapest. April 2001.
The Karen Club. Nairobi. Nov 2000.
Slavonska Pozega Arts Society. Croatia. Nov 2001.
IH. Cairo. Egypt. 1998.
Rouen Town Hall. Normandy. France.1994.