Marc Bowditch

Born 1967, Johannesburg, South Africa
Lives in: Berlin, Germany
Describe your art in 3 words: Pigment on velvet

My artwork is primarily executed in watercolour. At present, my work is dedicated to sculptural combination pieces made with watercolour on paper. These paintings are built from an assemblage of smaller works which are cut, folded and connected to make the final piece.

What themes does your work involve?
My primary interest is to see how far I can push the technique of watercolour. Watercolour suffers from limited expression as a medium for contemporary art. Its greater possibilities are still being explored and it is more than an outdoor sketching tool. Traditional uses of its transparency, delicacy, light, scale etc. often hold it back, when one could consider instead how its power could hold the space of a room. In all, through my work I aspire to “lift” this timidly used medium to a bolder and broader expression that could hold its own with other mediums.
Describe your creative process.
A composition, its shapes and forms, is quickly sketched out and then drawn carefully to scale on the computer. This becomes an accurate template to build a painting. When it comes to each painted element, other than horizontal bands of colour, there are no rules. I immerse myself for days creating colours upon colours, whatever comes to mind - colour flow is loose, spontaneous and intuitive, meandering through darks and lights, earthy, ethereal, cold and warm tones. I explore the elementary qualities unique to watercolour - texture, sediment differences, water tension, colour strength and its unique ethereal transparency resulting in an incomparable light reflection. Then I turn back to the template, with as few preconceptions as possible, to find where the two can meet.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I paint because for so many years everything I did kept me away. Now I feel fortunate to finally commit to my vocation. I have a good studio practice. I work as long and as hard as I can. It is in the doing that leads to discovery and inspiration. At present, only a small amount of the things I encounter, whether online or in galleries and museums, filter through into the work. As I progress, this will change of course.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art hits you in the gut. Whether for boldness of colour, composition, idea or beauty. There is no getting away from it and it stays with you. It can be a very personal experience, however some paintings strike broadly many different people capturing and communicating with Zeitgeist.
What is the role of the artist today?
An artist's role is to give - through their work - an indelible sense of ourselves.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist