“Connection between the expected & unexpected” Marcus Aitken

Marcus Aitken is a contemporary artist and painter, living and working in London.

“it’s all about the physicality of painting & connecting with materials, tools & surfaces.”

I’m really interested in creating a connection between the expected and unexpected to create a new dialogue in my work. I’m very much drawn to gestural mark making as this is a constant exploration for me which is one of the reasons I love what I do. I suppose I’m trying to capture my own raw feelings into each piece I create.

There is always a plan but it never really goes to plan, everything is up for change and nothing is set. Each of my works has a story of movement and exploration but ultimately, how my audience views my work is up to them and their own experience.”


"Connection between the expected & unexpected" Marcus Aitken

Alto. Acrylic, ink and household on reclaimed plywood, 30 × 25cm. Detail.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to be an artist?

There wasn’t a pivotal point as such when I decided I would become an artist, I have always been a creative person and had a project of some sort on the go. When I was a kid, I used to paint pop art portraits of my friends and sell them to their parents. I guess this set me up with the tools to be able to market myself, hone in on my skills and ultimately sell my work.


"Connection between the expected & unexpected" Marcus Aitken

Blonde. Acrylic, ink and brush on Plywood 66 × 53cm. Detail.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process of making your work, we love process.

I don’t paint in the traditional way, I have always painted with my surfaces flat on the ground, whether it’s canvas or wood. I have always felt a lot more connected with what I am doing by painting this way, its second nature to me now and I don’t think I could do it any other way now.


"Connection between the expected & unexpected" Marcus Aitken

Miso Miso. Acrylic, ink, brush on 18mm plywood, 100 × 83cm. Detail.

Is there a piece you’ve created that you’d like to be remembered for, for all time, or even longer?

Wow, that’s a big question. I couldn’t and wouldn’t answer that as all of my pieces I like for different reasons.


"Connection between the expected & unexpected" Marcus Aitken

Marcus Aitken Studio.

If you could work within one past art movement, which would it be. And why?

Abstract Expressionism. As you can probably tell my work is influenced by Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Cy Twombly. These are the greats and have created an amazing pillar for artists like me to look up to…I’ve always fancied being part of the YBA’s also, as it was such an exciting time for art and produced such iconic names.

How would you define beauty in 140 characters or less. N.B. There is no correct answer.

Beauty is whatever you want it to be.


"Connection between the expected & unexpected" Marcus Aitken

Whiplash. Mixed media on reclaimed Plywood, 60 × 44cm. Detail.

Do you have a favourite photograph or painting which has been your inspiration?

Any of Cy Twombly’s work.

What is your greatest indulgence in life?

Doughnuts – love em.

How does the culture of where you live or work impact on your work?

London, is an extremely fast pace lifestyle – I think the way people go about their day, including me has definitely seeped into the way I go about creating my work. My work is largely about movement and you can pick up fast brush strokes and mark making in all of my pieces. If I was living in the country side, maybe my work would have a very different feeling – who knows?


"Connection between the expected & unexpected" Marcus Aitken

Curveball, Acrylic, ink and pencil on 18mm plywood 120 × 90cm Detail.

Tell us about your colour palette.

I am drawn to specific colours that convey moods in the moments I paint. I notice I use more of a grey, blue palette, this often serves as a cool, neutral background to my figures.


Which artist or artists would you most like to meet? And do you think you’d get on?

Paul McCarthy (he’s not dead) I love his work, it’s mad and addictive, I imagine having a coffee with him would be great…having said that, they always say you should never meet your heroes so maybe I should meet with Jeff Koons.

What do you wish every child was taught in school, at home, in life?

How to make an income from your creativity. Nearly every person who I speak to who finishes an art degree (including me) and leaves with not much of a clue of how to start making money from what they love doing. Being an artist is hard work and there is also a lot of admin which comes with and the hardest part is getting people to see your work. This has been a constant learning curve for me, so I always relish any advice anyone is willing to give me on this as it can only benefit my practice.

Have you ever held your head in your hands and questioned your career entirely?

Not for the past three years. Before that, yes every day.

Do you love what you do? And does it love you?

100% – I couldn’t stop being an artist, it’s the ‘creative cruise’ – I have to do.

See Collection


"Connection between the expected & unexpected" Marcus Aitken

Marcus Aitken Studio.


The Other Art Fair – 2019

Art Pistol – 2019

Fresco gallery Portugal – 2019

The Pilgrim solo show – 2019

The Other Art Fair – 2019

Crystal Palace Open House – 2019

Control Exhibition – 2018

Bog Standard – 2018

Deptford X Arts Festival – 2018







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