Mark Sheeky was born in 1972 in Crewe, South Cheshire in an average working class family, and educated in a catholic school to an above average but not exceptional level. Always a self-learner, his first passion was computer games, and he taught myself how to program on a home computer, later learning how to write music for his games, before self-publishing his work with limited success! In his early thirties he started to paint oil paintings and he’s now a full time artist.
Mark has one painting in the Cheshire art collection at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester and he has exhibited widely throughout the country, winning the Grosvenor Art Prize in 2013. On his small record label he has released over fifteen music albums in different styles, largely created using software he designed himself, and in 2012 he self-published his first book, an illustrated poetry collection.
Self taught or art school?
I’m self taught in all things. My first love was computer game programming and I needed to teach myself that. Perhaps learning new things is what I enjoy most?
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
Such a difficult question! In painting, some fine old master, a Leonardo da Vinci perhaps, as it was when fresh.
How would you describe your style?
Imaginative. Most people say surrealist.
Where are your favourite places to view art?
Galleries, museums, art opening events.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
Beethoven, for his solitary commitment to mastery of art, the battle with himself to be the best, the cusp of the classical and romantic. I feel like both myself, and must keep aiming towards the piano in this respect. Ingmar Bergman, for his incisive analysis of relationships and showing many truths within. In painting I’m often inspired by female surrealists more Dorothea Tanning, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo (who denied being a surrealist, which I can totally understand). I like Francis Bacon too for his expressions of dark emotions with control and panache and compassion, and in triptychs, so he had great thought, control and sensitivity. His work often looked disturbing, but he was not disturbed. These three were true geniuses, I think.
What or who inspires your art?
I am driven to create the best work I can, I’ve pledged my life to art, my love. I’m connected to humanity by thin threads. My imaginary friends, Beethoven, Marcus Aurelius, Isaac Netwon, and others, support and inspire me.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
I work in my bedroom, of my parents house. It’s a 3M square space. I paint in oils, I make frames, cabinets, cast in plaster and resin, carve and gild, make jewellery fron sheet metal, compose and produce and publish music, write and publish poetry and literature, develop and sell software, posters, products, and run a sound effects library; all from this space. It is neat, organised, efficient.
Do you have any studio rituals?
Several. I keep a diary of all of my artworks and a list of “spells”, but these are technical procedures rather than anything esoteric. It wouldn’t be efficient to try and remember the best way to do things, so I write them down.
What are you working on currently?
Many things, as ever. In painting I’m working on pieces inspired by the writing of enlightenment philosopher Sulzer, his rules for art inspired young Beethoven but have been forgotten and haven’t been applied to visual art; so I’ll create “symphonic” works with unified themes a structures. At the moment I’m working on a cabinet work, a gilded chest with a painting inside, in a style of perhaps Kit Williams. I have a book in progress, short letters to a loved one. I’m performing piano, and with other artists so I’ll record a solo piano album in the first half of the year, I have a six week solo exhibition in Chester in February that needs lots of planning too. So many things in progress! I normally paint 20-30 oil works per year, but that is slowing down due to lack of storage space.
Where can we buy your art?
I have a full shopping cart system on my website www.marksheeky.com, which I programmed myself (although, it seems that PayPal will soon demand a https website, annoying as this will make things cost a lot more!). I exhibit where I can and have sold a few works at a recent pop-up shop, but I have no permanent gallery or display, a series of transient ones.
What are your ambitions?
These are infinite! From a state funeral, a personal museum (a little like Neuschwanstein Castle) and eternal adoration, to the more earthly of owning a community art space/club that shows avant garde works and performances, to just having a place of my own and a girlfriend; but if I die today I’ll be happy. My goal in life is to share my genius widely and to the best of my ability, that is all, and I do that.