About Mark Carr
I have drank from many of life’s cups and touched many lives; from making love on the top of a down town Manhattan apartment block to quietly sharing a Scottish highland hillside with half a dozen red deer. My work as an artist, musician, poet and educator reflects and responds to these experiences, both good and bad and all that lies between.
I was born into a working class family in the North East of England, Gateshead to be precise; my father, a maintenance electrician, trained and hardened in the Jarrow shipyards of the 1930’s – my mother a SEN nurse, trained on the death, destruction, but camaraderie of WW2. My formative years were spent protected and under the wing of my middle older sister, street playing and exploring; getting up to mischief, learning from life; sharing a warm double bed with her and my great aunt in a small rented semi-detached council house. Always cared for, always protected.
As a young teenager in the early 1970’s I attended a large comprehensive school which I found violent and intimidating; not unusual for the time. My timid nature forced me to retreat into my own world, spending much time in the family home drawing and dreaming. Then as the hormones kicked in, I forced myself to become part of a ‘street gang’, rejecting academic studies for a safe place to ‘hang out’, to be seen, to be in a protected place once again.
Then came 1976 and ‘Punk Rock’. Through my teenage years music had gradually become an important part of my life, but this music changed me. It gave me the platform to realise three things: the importance of being an individual; the importance of questioning everything and every authority; the belief that anyone could make ‘critical’ music/art, no matter how simple. My hair changed, clothes changed and a guitar was bought. And to do this work was sort – part-time work in a men’s clothes store; the beginning of a wide and varied employment that has taken me from everywhere to nowhere and back again: from ‘white water rafting guide’ in Australia to primary school teacher in the UK; from alternative health practitioner to self-employed storyteller; from a labourer in a brick works to a mental ill health support worker. I have touched a multitude of lives; learning, healing, giving, but above all sharing experiences.
ART – I have been making and exhibiting art in the UK since my teenage years, gaining a BA (hons) Fine Art in 1984 and an MA Fine Art in 1994. For brief periods in 1988 and 1990 I worked and exhibited in Australia. My work is in public and private collections in the UK, America and Australia. Originally a print -maker and painter, I now concentrate on multimedia work incorporating many elements, including: video, music, sound, print, painting and lighting effects. My work is essentially political and figurative. In 2018 I completed a new series of paintings and prints entitled - CUP OF LIFE , which commented on the 'Human Condition' in the 21st century. This work was exhibited in Oxford, Nuneaton, and Newcastle 2018/19. In 2019 I spent 8 months in dialogue with DJ and musicologist Trevor Johnson, creating new 1 hour video/performance work entitled - The SCREAM. This is an autopsy mental ill health, specifically my own. I am currently endeavouring to find a suitable space and access the funds to present this work. Lastly, I am developing a new series of work about the 'Friends' who access the Peoples Kitchen in Newcastle for free food and other essential services. I volunteered here, as part of a cooking team, for two years. This work will include a video, 30 paintings and between 10 and 15 large scale woodcut prints. I live and work in County Durham teaching part-time to support my practice.
MUSIC – I formed, played and wrote songs in a number of North East bands through the late 70’s to the mid 80’s, playing in clubs and pubs across the region and in London. In the late 90’s and early 00’s I played in a retro punk band, playing clubs, pubs and festivals across NE England. Around 2000 I started to produce and record my own music, which in 2013 culminated in the release of my album ‘Corruption’ on-line through CD baby. I have also written two children’s musicals, which were performed in primary schools in N E England. Original music and sounds have become an integral part of the art-videos I produce; the visuals for these videos are rarely conceived without the sound.
EDUCATION – I have been involved in art education since the mid 80’s, teaching and demonstrating art at degree level, six form level and in adult education. On returning to the UK in 1991 I completed a PGCE at Durham University and since then I have been teaching part-time in primary schools across the NE of England. For a period of three years in the late 90’s and early 00’s I delivered educational music and story-telling workshops to this age group, guiding the children to write original songs and stories.
WRITING – I have been writing poetry for over 20 years. I self-published an anthology of this work entitled ‘Thirteen’, in 2013. I have also written ten children’s’ stories, which I used when delivering educational story-telling workshops in primary schools. More recently, I have written a bi-weekly artist’s blog on the a-n website, which was also broadcast on Hive community radio. I have also had two articles published in the on-line walking magazine, Cicerone-extra. In March this year there will be an article about my latest video/performance work (The Scream) in the on-line portal, Video Hook-Ups. I am also currently engaged in writing novel length work written from the first person, exploring a being's fall into insanity through a dystopian world.
RADIO – I have been a passionate radio listener since his teenage years. From 1998 – 2001 I was a volunteer hospital radio presenter and ward visitor at the RVI, Newcastle. In 2015 I was asked to record my artist blogs for Hive Radio, a community radio station running out of South Tyneside.
OUTDOOR PURSUITS – – I have been a keen long distance walker since my teenage years. In 2011 and 2012 I devised, walked and mapped a route from Inverness to Drymen, the East Highland Trail. In 2013 I designed a website to promote the route - https://mcarr910.wixsite.com/east-highland-trail. In the 90’s I also worked for two seasons as a white water rafting guide in Victoria, Australia.
TRAVEL:I have been travelling abroad since the late 70’s. In 1982, I won a travelling scholarship from Sunderland Polytechnic. This I used to spend that summer travelling throughout Europe taking in as much art as I could. In 1988 I took a round the world journey, exploring Bermuda, New York, Vancouver, San Diego, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. In 1990 I took a further journey to India and Australia. Subsequently I have had a number of further visits to Australia and many capital cities of Europe. However, Scotland remains my favourite place in the world. To be walking alone in the highlands of Scotland is a journey that has never been surpassed.
COOKING – I have been a passionate cook since his early 20’s with particular interest in vegetarian, Italian and Indian cuisine. I self-published a vegan cook book in the mid 90’s entitled ‘A taste of Vegan’.
COMMUNITY WORK -I have been involved in community work since my early 20’s, contributing and helping to coordinate many fun days, music festivals, mural paintings and bonfire designs, both in the NE of England and in Somerset. I have currently just finished two years volunteering, as part of a cooking team, the 'Peoples Kitchen' in Newcastle.
HEALTH and HELP – In the early 00’s I retrained in two areas: gaining a post graduate diploma in Remedial and Sports Massage, and a NVQ in Promoting Independence in Mental ill Health. For seven years I worked part-time as a sports and remedial masseur helping people recover from physical and mental trauma, relieving pain and gaining mobility. At the same time I also worked part-time with adults recovering from mental ill health using his skills as an artist to promote well-being and self-esteem.
MY PARTNER – My final and most important passion is my life-long friend and partner, my wife Brenda. She has been my muse, my most passionate supporter, my steadying ship, my love… my life.
University of Northumbria - MA Fine Art
University of Durham - PGCE
Sunderland Polytechnic - BA (Hon) Fine Art (2-1)
Sunderland Polytechnic - Foundation Studies, Art & Design
National awards and prizes:
2017 Commendation Award, Nottingham City Arts and The Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham
1995 Northern Arts Awards for Artists
1987 Ferens Art Gallery Purchase Prize
1983 Sunderland Polytechnic Travelling Scholarship
2019 - CUP OF LIFE, Biscuit Tin Studios Gallery, Newcastle, UK
2018 - CUP OF LIFE, Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery, Nuneaton, UK
2018 - CUP OF LIFE, The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, UK
2017 - CORRUPTION TO REDEMPTION, The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (live audio visual performance)
2015 - BLURRED Three Tanners Bank North Shields, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
2013 - SUPPRESSION Rook Lane Arts, Frome, UK
2012 - FEAR and LOATHING, 67B Gallery, Newcastle Arts Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
1993 - SERIOUS MEN, High-Street Billboard and School Hall, Sacriston, UK
1990 - ‘1989’, Southwark College Gallery, London
1989 - PORTRAITS & PAINTINGS , Tricycle Gallery ,London
1988 - ‘1987’, Casson gallery, Eastbourne, UK
1985 - MEN, Playhouse Gallery – Newcastle, UK
Selected Group Shows
2019 Art of Caring, StGeorges Hospital, London
2018 Is the spectacle that the sun never sets, System Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
2018 Just Experimenting (playing with sexual edge of film), Centre for Sex and Culture, San Francisco, USA
2018 'Traumascapes & Landscapes of the Interior', IMH Nottingham University, Nottingham,UK
2018 Art of Caring, St Georges Hospital, London
2017 Art of Caring Exhibition 2017, The Conference Centre Gallery, St Pancras Hospital, London
2017 Art for the Heart, Parliament House, Melbourne, Australia
2017 The Art of Caring, St George's Hospital in Tooting, London
2017 Middlesbrough Art Weekender, Middlesbrough, UK
2017 Here and Now Exhibition 2017, IMH Nottingham University, Nottingham,UK
2017 Rencontres Traverse Vidéo 2017, Toulouse, France
2016 Alienation, The Ground Floor Gallery, New York, USA
2016 Alienation, James Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia, USA
2016 The Art of Caring, The Rose Theatre, Kingston , London
2016 Perceptions of the Figurative, 5th Base Gallery, London
2015 Pure Painting, BAR Gallery, London
2015 The Art of Caring, The Rose Theatre, Kingston, London
2015 Discorporate Bodies5, The Unstitute (on line portal) - UK
2014 Toride International Video Projection Contest, Toride City – Japan
2014 Ouseburn Open Studios Biscuit Tin Studios, Newcastle,UK
2014 Jawspring , Wimbledon Village Hall, London
2013 Biscuit Tin Artists, Van Mildert College, Durham,UK
2013 The Late Shows, Biscuit Tin Studios ,Newcastle,UK
1996 Open Studio Show, Childers Street Studios – London
1994 M.A. Show, University of Northumbria – Newcastle,UK
1994 Middlesbrough Open, Middlesbrough Art Gallery – Cleveland,UK
1992 Spring & Autumn Show, South Yorkshire Art Gallery – Doncaster,UK
1990 JP Portrait Award - Four selected works, Broughton House Gallery, Cambridge,UK
1989 John Player Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery – London
1988 John Player Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery – London
1988 Richmond Open, Richmond Print Gallery – Melbourne Australia
1987 4th Humberside Print Open, Ferens Art Gallery – Hull,UK
1987 Staff Show WSCAD, Maltings – Farnham,UK
1987 On a Plate WSCAD, Farnham,UK
1986 9th Bradford Print Open, Cartwright Hall – Bradford,UK
1985 Printers Progress, Carlisle Art Gallery – Carlisle,UK
1984 Contemporary Printmakers, Playhouse Gallery – Newcastle,UK
1984 3rd Mini Print Biennale, Tallergaleria Fort – Barcelona
1983 8th Mini Print Open, Pratt Graphics Center – New York
Work held in public/private collections
National Gallery of Australia
Palestinian Mission - London, UK
Ferens Art Gallery – Hull, UK
Work held in private collections in New York, Melbourne and throughout the UK
2017 Corruption to Redemption Rounded Radio, London
2015 In deep water (sound art piece for video) SoundArt Show | Series 2: Episode 7 by Claire Kearns
2015 My Music back catalogue interview Hive Radio – Trevor Johnson
2015 Artist Blogs Hive Radio – Another Music in a Different Kitchen
Publications and Reviews
Images Les Rencontres Traverse Video, 20 Ans 2017
JPS National Portrait Award Catalogue 1989
Forth Humberside Print Exhibition Catalogue 1987
Ninth British International Print Biennale Catalogue 1986
Iron Press Magazine 1985
Articles The Oxford Times (interview and review) 2018
Les Rencontres Traverse Video, 20 Ans (review) 2017
Somerset Guardian (interview and review) 2013
City Limits (London) (review) 1990
Ten Years of JPS National Portrait Award (review) 1989
Tricycle Gallery Programme (review) 1989