Published on February 27, 2013 | by Teral Atilan


Mark Titchner: Independent artist

Mark Titchner

Titchner was a Turner Prize nominee in 2006 [Image: Jon Durr]

Mark Titchner may not be London born and bred, but when entering his spacious studio filled with his latest works it’s easy to see why he feels at home in the capital. Originally from Luton in Hertfordshire, Titchner has spent a number of years here getting to know the city very well.

“South London has adopted me, I’ve lived in London longer then where I grew up, this is where I feel at home,” says Titchner from the warmth of his Camberwell studio.

Titchner has always been a hard worker, and for him art has always been a large part of his life. “[Being at] CSM was hard work, you’re trying to work a lot out when you’re at college, but it was a really good place as its in central London with great access.

“Deep down when I was in sixth form I knew I wanted to [be an artist] but I didn’t know how to become [one], or whether it was a real job, I wanted to but I just wasn’t sure if I could.”

Turner Prize

It’s a good thing he did as he was nominated for a Turner Prize award in 2006.

When choosing a university to attend he says, “I wanted to go to London, I was painting and looked. It was really simple really, it was near record shops.”

Titchner describes his art as a dialogue about how you receive thought and ideas: “My art is aimed at anyone who sees it really, I try make it [so] that anyone can engage with it as soon as they see it.

“I work with words but I try to use simple language even if the ideas are complicated, I think of it as advertising, if you see something you’re kind of pulled in by it.”

Titchner seems very relaxed. He is currently working on his pieces for his exhibition next year, and says that his designs on wood are a lot easier and a lot more fun.

“They take three weeks instead of three months like the acrylic pieces, and I get to use chisels and hammers and burn wood which is fun,” he adds.

“I think of it as advertising, if you see something you’re kind of pulled in by it.”

“Getting accepted [by CSM] was pretty good, however one of my worst memories [was that] I got paint stripper in my eye, it was pretty bad, I just graduated and I was clearing the studio out,” says Titchner.

When it comes to his work, he doesn’t really have a favourite piece. “It depends on what mood I’m in, some of the ones I had at the beginning [are probably my favourite,] I seem to have reused them and they keep coming back, ‘If you can dream it you must do it’, that’s been repeated a lot.

“People think they’re inspirational quotes but they’re the reverse, they’re more like from the other point of view, making you think why haven’t I done something. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the strength and will and belief to do what the slogan says,” adds Titchner.

Going from university in to the art world was a huge transition, and Titchner admits it wasn’t a simple one either. “It took about six years for me to really be in the studio a lot, I was working and I didn’t do an MA, I wanted to be an artist and that meant doing a lot of different jobs.


“I tend to work in pairs, if I’m working a lot on video I do a lot of physical work [at the same time] because I need to balance it out, in terms of favourite I equally enjoy working on the computer and then smashing something and hitting it things.”

Mark Titchner's south London studio

Titchner’s base is a studio in South London [Image: Jon Durr]

“I wanted to go out there and work and be an artist independently like everyone else.”

“My biggest love is my son, being able to come to the studio every day rather then having a proper job.”

It’s clear that Titchner is passionate about his job, although he doesn’t see it as a real job; he sees it as more of a hobby.

Reflecting back, if he didn’t become an artist he thinks he “wouldn’t have stopped making art but I would have been doing what I was doing then, which was working and going to the studio at night, which is hard work, but I don’t know where I am now so I don’t know, its all up and down.”

While he may have left college determined to make it in the real world, Titchner hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning one day. “When I graduated I didn’t want to go back to college, I wanted to go out there and work and be an artist independently like everyone else.

“Maybe in five years I’ll be back at college, maybe its time to go back, but hopefully I keep going, being able to keep going and hopefully being able to do some better work.

“My advice for any artist is to get ready to work hard for a long time, unless you’re rich, it definitely helps if you have money as you don’t have to worry about anything.”




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