INTERVIEW | MARCEL COWLING

Norfolk-born and London-based artist Marcel George Cowling (b. 1987) has an incredible way of giving life to the ordinary and the abandoned. In his work Marcel manages to make dead objects tell the stories that they carry with them, and he creates beautiful imagery from the things that are mostly overlooked.

Working mainly with watercolor and colored ink Marcel has the most beautiful way of depicting the world around him. He is clearly a dedicated observer and his way of taking in his surroundings reflects in his work and makes the static scenery come to life. When working on personal projects Marcel uses his surname Cowling. These works tends to have a more experiment-driven nature. The colors are dimmed or faded and he uses analogue photography characteristics like double exposure and film scratches.

Work by Marcel Cowling.

Work by Marcel Cowling.

For commissions Marcel uses his other surname; George. Here his style tends to be more vibrant and clear. In these illustrations you can clearly recognize his talent for observing and telling stories and even though the work are meant for magazines they work perfectly out of that context as well. When we first laid our eyes on Marcel’s work we were amazed by his talent for realistic depiction and technique, but the more we look at it the more aspects and layers of stories are coming to life.

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Marcel Cowling, and I’m an artist and illustrator from the UK, currently located in London.

Where do you come from and what made you choose your current path?
I was born in Norfolk but a lot of my family is based in Yorkshire in the north of England. My dad is an art teacher, so I have been around art from a young age. I think when I was still at School doing A levels, (about 18 years old) at lunchtimes I would go to the art room with a couple of friends, to avoid the noise and rowdy atmosphere in the common room. So I probably chose making art because it’s generally a pretty quiet and chilled out affair.

Can you tell us about your working process?
Most of the time now I just take inspiration from walking around places, shops, gardens, windows, etc, pretty everyday stuff. I don’t really have many great ideas, I just tend to decide what to make a picture of and that’s it. It sounds quite random and probably is, but then later on I’ll see some themes and similar qualities emerge in what I make. I’ve been using watercolour for a while now, but recently I’ve started using coloured ink as well, because it behaves in a similar way, but is more vibrant.

Do you have a project that you are especially proud of?
I’m not really proud of anything in particular yet, but I suppose I’m proud that I still have a drive to make new work. I always believe the next thing will be great, it never is, but it always keeps you coming back because you had a little success on some element.

What are your biggest source of inspiration/influence at the moment?
I’ve been looking at jewelry displays and have been trying to work out how to make a good detailed painting of that.

What are you working on at the moment? Can you show us any work-in-progress?
At the moment I’ve been working on updating my illustration portfolio. It’s a lot harder for me than making personal artwork. For me it requires a totally different way of thinking about things. I tend to get a bit inhibited by second guessing things too much.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I’d like to be able to travel to different countries and environments, spend some time and see what ends up in my art from that.

What would your advice for other creatives be?
Just keep taking encouragement from the small successes you have in your work. Keep enjoying what you do.

All works by Marcel Cowling.

All works by Marcel Cowling.

Rikke Luna (f. 1988) og Matias Albæk-Falk (f. 1988) er stiftere af idoart.dk, og driver derudover formidlingsbureauet I DO ART Agency samt forlaget I DO ART Books.