The latest instalment of Studio Space features Marc Martin, a Melbourne-based Illustrator. Marc's light-filled studio is located above a store in the outskirts of the city. He shares the open-plan space with a group of other creatives, some indoor plants & occasionally, a dog. His space is bright and well equipped, with a workbench, a collection of books and magazines (for reference and inspiration), lots of art supplies and of course, a computer and scanner. One of the best things about the setup is it allows him to stand up while working, which he does about 50% of the time.
His background is in graphic design and in the past Marc ran a design studio with a friend, before deciding to become a full-time illustrator about four years ago. He works mainly in watercolour and his work is evocative, rich in detail and colour. And one of the biggest breakthroughs he discovered a little while back - a hairdryer! It now plays an integral part in the process of producing his work (hope I'm not giving away your trade secrets, Marc!) - no more smudges.
Marc has written numerous books, published through Penguin in English and other languages, including A River, A Forest, Max and The Curious Explorer's Illustrated Guide To Exotic Animals. He's just finished his latest book, details of which are yet to be revealed. He's also interested in the creative freedom self-publishing offers and is looking to self-release a book next year.
Marc also works as a freelance illustrator and is represented by the Jacky Winter Group. Some of his freelance clients include Monocle magazine, Wired magazine, The Financial Review, Virgin Atlantic, Assemble Papers and ACMI. He's also designed and illustrated material for various festivals. He says a good balance for him is 50% client illustration work and 50% self-directed book work.
MARC MARTIN: Q&A
How long have you been in the space and where did you work from previously? I’ve been here for about 5 or 6 years. Every now and then I get tempted to move, but this space is just so central and full of great people, so there’s really no reason to look anywhere else.
Yours is a shared space. How many other people work in the space? About 15 people. It’s a mix of photographers, designers, artists, writers, people studying and other creative pursuits. It’s a good bunch of people.
Do you prefer working alone or with others? In terms of a working space, I definitely prefer working with others around. It’s nice to be able to go to a space where you can get some work done, but also have the ability to chat to people and be social if you need to be. I worked form home for while, and that just made me feel very isolated.
How many hours a week do you spend there? A full working week, so pretty much 9-5, Monday to Friday. I think it’s important to treat being an artist like any other job, especially if you want to be successful at it.
How, if at all, has the space influenced the way you work? I’ve been here so long that it’s hard to say if the space has influenced my work. I know I’ve changed the way I use the space - initially I was just doing all computer based work, and slowly I’ve migrated to pretty much all hand drawn things these days. So less sitting and staring at the screen and more active, gestural work with paint and paper.
What does your dream space look like? It probably looks something like a log cabin in the woods somewhere, with a big window overlooking a lake where I can sit and make art.
What inspires you, personally or professionally? Friends, nature, travel, film, books, art, photography. I’m just about to head off on a long-deserved holiday to Ningaloo reef, so I’m pretty sure some time snorkelling, swimming with whale sharks and driving through national parks will get me inspired too!
MARC MARTIN: LINKS
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All photos copyright Susan Fitzgerald 2016.