Inspirer Series Lecture: Mark Hearld

Artist Mark Heard delivered a lecture as part of the Unit X Inspirer series in March 2016 to a full capacity lecture theatre of students and staff from across the School of Art.

A graduate of Glasgow School of Art and the RCA (MA Natural History) – Mark described a journey through drawing and print to a career that now incorporates a wide area of activity as both artist/maker/exhibitor and most recently curator at York Art Gallery for  The Lumber Room. Mark takes his inspiration direct from nature, making bold visions of landscape, birds and animals using a wide range of techniques and processes, inc paint, print, collage, textiles and ceramics.

The abiding memory of the talk is one of collaborative learning and an understanding of the importance in the relationship between printmaking or ceramic technician/craftsman and the artist/maker. Also not entering the studio with predetermined outcomes in mind and allowing the ‘spoils’ of the process to be recognised as starting points for unrelated works. Mark encouraged students to develop the ability to explore through process towards the unknown and yet at the same time be steeped in the contextual and historical antecedents of a technique, a movement, a group of artists rather than attempting to follow a particular style. In many ways encouraging a culture of play, but with broad contextual research as your guide.  A way of attempting to reconnect us to the places we live in through the appreciation of everyday objects and the way they can link us back to personal memory, time and location.

The application of his approach onto printed fabric, ceramics and objects revealed a curiosity to apply and learn new skills to adapt a visual language and maintain a tone of voice that is always consistent and recognisable as Mark Heard. This extends into ‘The Lumber Room’ curation in York where it is clear a large degree of negotiation and dealing with bureaucracy has been required to achieve a vision that seeks to reveal the Museum and Gallery collection as if through new eyes, many of the pieces having never been on public display before. The eclectic result is the embodiment of the curious and acquisitive mind seeking and finding inspiration.

Mark Hearld at St Judes

Mark Hearld at the Scottish Gallery

Mark Hearld’s’ Work Book also available in the All Saints Library

Mark Hearld at Yorkshire Sculpture Park Birds and Beasts Exhibition 2012


Author: Ian Whadcock

Senior Lecturer Manchester School of Art, BA(Hons) Illustration with Animation course.

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