The Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize Judging Panel is a selection of highly respected and renowned individuals in the art world, who cover a wide range of viewpoints and varied tastes for all movements, mediums and types of Fine Art.
In the latest of a series of interviews, we ask guest judge Mark Foxwell, the questions many artists have asked us. These including understanding what famous art and artists the judges like, more about the judges' expectations, their involvement in the art world, the exciting projects they are involved in and their own tips to help your career. If you have any new questions, feel free to comment below...
Mark is the Creative Director of Genesis Imaging and has been a photographic printer for over 40 years. He has worked closely with both renowned and emerging photographers and artists. His prints have graced the walls of some of the top museums and galleries in the world, including MOMA and Tate Modern. He has been a guest lecturer at a number of London Universities and a portfolio reviewer for numerous platforms. He is consumed by photography as it is as much him as his DNA. His current aim and hope is to give back as much as he has gained from his passion.
See more about Genesis Imaging at genesisimaging.co.uk
Q1: Tell us about your pathway into the Arts?
A1: Straight out of school I started an apprenticeship in printing at Vala Studios, the first lab in London to do Cibachrome prints direct from transparencies. After a couple of years, I moved over to the BBC in-house printing department
which was part of the graphics department. Here I worked on projects such as the title sequence for programmes and props. 40 years later, after working across many labs to hone my skills, and weathering the move from analogue to digital, I’m still printing for photographers all over the world. It’s my passion and my craft to be able to take a photographer’s image and translate it to a physical print.
Q2: What are your values within the arts – why do what you do and what do you wish to champion and develop within the art world?
A2: Honesty when making work. We all start out imitating others, picking up elements we like from various artists and photographers and replicating it. But I think being able to support photographers in finding their true and honest voice, and their own style, is paramount to the creation of interesting, emotional work. We must ensure artists and photographers have the time and support to find this.
Q3: Tell us what you have been working on most recently?
A3: I’ve been working with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography recently on a large scale exhibition called CIVILIZATION, which is currently on show at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. It’s been great fun (and a challenge!) working with around 140 artists (and this is only a third of the show), it took 7 years to get to this point. At the other end of the scale I’ve been working on some fantastic student and recent graduate projects, it’s great to work with those at an emerging level and support their development. We support a lot of key events throughout the industry and in May 2018 we did a lot of work with Photo London (we’ve been the Print Partner for the fair since it began). It was really exciting to produce a colossal 5 x 3 metre wallpaper for Ed Burtinsky; the piece was the first interactive work I’d produced and came to life when an iPad was held up to sections of the work, with moving image. Great to watch visitors interact!
CIVILIZATION, Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography - National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea
Q4: Where does your interest in photography stem from?
A4: My school’s Camera Club! I’d always been interested in design and I originally wanted to study Silversmithing at Camberwell. I decided to pursue photography as I could make a more stable living, although it certainly still relies mostly on passion!
Q5: What photographers or projects have really caught your eye in recent months?
A5: On Abortion by Laia Abril is a project I’m very fond of (I have given away five copies of the book as gifts). It is thought provoking and an important social piece of work, the exhibition in Arles made me aware of her work and is a good example of photography and installation. Firecracker remains an organisation that I am passionate about supporting. It is a very good source of photographers in the photojournalist style. Genesis have been lucky to support their grant for emerging female photographers since it started, and it’s been great to watch their impact grow.
Q6: As the judge on our new Photography Award what are you looking forward to seeing in entrant’s applications?
A6: Heart and soul. This may sound slightly intangible, but it’s evident in work, and I don’t need to understand your work completely as I will have my own preconceived ideas, which will colour my decisions on how I interpret a project. When you are expressing real, authentic emotion through your work it will always come through. Technical skill is not the be all and end all, submit the work you are really passionate about: it is part of the journey and will only add to your knowledge and growth of your practice as an artist.
Q7: If there is one piece of advice you would give those thinking of submitting work to the photography award what would it be?
A7: Make sure you’ve thought about the work beyond a digital file, if you want to exhibit a project you need to think about how you want that to look beyond the screen; what size do you want images to be printed? What substrate or paper do you think will work best with them? How will the installation affect what mounting and finishing works best? I spend a lot of time with clients at Genesis working these elements out, but if you can think about them prior it can really help. There are many options with producing photography nowadays, think about it as another integral part of your practice and not just a necessity to showing your work in a physical space.
Join our newsletter (click here) to be notified of the next issue of interviews with the judges as well as invites to our exclusive events for artists and news on the art prize.
Interview by Caitlin Smyth
Oaktree & Tiger Team
Art experts giving advice to emerging artists to build their careers and find success. Organisers of the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2020, artist agent and art consultants.