Marco won 2017's Creative Edinburgh Independent Award. Here, he talks us through his highlights of the year and plans for the future. #CEawards17 photography by Clark James.
My ultimate highlight of 2017 (apart from winning this award, of course) would have to be the opening night of Pissed Modernism. It was the culmination of six months of coordination, hard graft and tears (mainly tears). But when you see people coming through the doors, talking about the work and commenting on how much they enjoyed it, it’s an amazing and humbling feeling. One of the aims of setting up Pissed Modernism was to encourage and inspire young graphic artists to gain experience and set up their own shows, so another highlight of the year was to see a good few of the participating artists do this.
On a personal level for my illustration practice, Want Some Studio, a huge ambition was always to work with the Guardian G2. That was something I had aimed for ever since I started illustration, so to achieve getting commissioned for the cover was fantastic and the result of years of working towards that.
Promoting illustration is something I care about and have worked hard to do. Being shortlisted for the Creative Edinburgh Independent Award and then also winning brought a huge sense of pride and recognition. I have to say at this point, although it is the “Independent” award, I want to give credit and thanks to everyone that has contributed and helped me; through their artwork, time, enthusiasm, encouragement, retweets and more. There’s only so far anyone can organise and take an idea. It will always need other folk to participate and to help out and to those who have done so, I am incredibly grateful. Organising and taking part in group shows has been an important part of my own development as an illustrator and I would love to continue doing Pissed Modernism. However, I also have a sketchbook full of other ideas and it would be cool to maybe do some other events to provide more opportunities throughout 2018 and beyond.
It’s so important just now to continue to promote graphic art and illustration in Edinburgh, and in one way or another, that is something I’m going to do. Supporting illustrators starting out is incredibly important to me and earlier this year, I was really grateful to be given the chance by Creative Edinburgh to conduct a seminar in which I tackled issues such as doing free work, pricing work, contracts, rights etc. - issues that really should be a staple of Art School education when starting an illustration or freelance business, but still appear to not even be touched upon. The feedback I received post-seminar has really prompted me to think seriously about starting some kind of collective or agency or union that illustrators can turn to quickly and cheaply for a bit of business advice. So hey, maybe I’ll combine the two and make an agency that puts on shows! Watch this space.
However, I think a lot depends on the time I can dedicate to any outside projects. Want Some Studio is so strong at the moment and I’ve also recently got a regular gig illustrating with Empire Magazine. But whatever the path that unfolds in the future, I’m grateful for the award, for the recognition of the hard work myself and others have done to put together the events and look forward to promoting Edinburgh as a shit hot city for the Creative Industries to be part of.