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What Happens When A Sharpie Lands in the Hands of Scott Davies?

Scott blew us away with his stunning Sharpie mural and we knew we wanted to chat further with this brilliant Brit. We also know you do too..

Just a fraction of what Scott created with only FIVE markers

Introducing Scott Davies:  

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves? Give us the good stuff!

Well where do I start! I’m a 17-year-old fine art and graphic design student, studying at Wyke Sixth Form College in Kingston upon Hull, England. Since I was very young I’d always been the ‘kid who did art’ my Dad is a painter and my Mother is a wizard with textiles. The artistic/ creative lives my parents live have definitely been influential on my interests and aspirations, and after maturing, art has become the driving force in how I go about living my life. As a school kid I’d spend countless maths lessons just doodling away, anything that didn’t interest me or I didn’t believe in I’d ignore and I’d just be doing my own thing in my own world, blasting a ballpoint pen with a chewed end or something. I’d often get in trouble, but I didn’t care because I knew what I wanted to do and that there was a place for me to make a contribution to the world if I worked hard enough.  Since then I’ve never stopped creating. I’m always drawing something and I feel certain that I want to study an arts-based-course at university (whether that be illustration or fine art) and to then attempt to make a freelance career out of art and illustration.

Wyke College

Off the topic of arts, I love the outdoors; hikes and such. I’d also like to make sure I do plenty of travelling; it’s humbling and inspiring. I need to see the world, and to make a little art along the way of course. [I am] very interested in music, too and it’s my main form of entertainment and I can’t seem to draw the same without tuning in, everything from Four Tet to Sigur Rós, if it matters. And if there’s anything I dislike, its people who just give up on art or show great skills but don’t believe it’s possible for them to make a career out of it, it fills me with pity. I just find it such a shame when people don’t have enough enthusiasm to just give something a shot regardless of what may get in the way. All art is beautiful in its own right and there will always be an audience for something.

What is inspires you to uncap what’s inside?
Things I see every day, personal experience which influences me to make work with relevance to society as it is today. I often find inspiration at the strangest of times so it’s always good to get things onto paper as they appear in your mind. I’m someone that’s probably blessed with a constantly imaginative and active mind which is great when it comes to having something to work from, however it does have its traits such as stressing yourself out over the littlest things and excessively over thinking yadda yadda.

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

Sharpie is a very iconic company, and I’ve been exposed to the products because of that. When I was little I used to draw on toy cars with them. But apart from my mural, ‘A warning’ I hadn’t used them in a piece of art before. Because I was aware that the pens would write on almost every surface I knew I needed some Sharpie markers to create an 8-and-a-half-foot illustrative drawing. A lot of my work is created with fine refillable pens and mechanical pencil when working [on a] small scale for the intricacy, so it seemed if I was working scale up I needed a broader tip that would have all the impact that comes with black ink (Sharpie fine point), but that would still be able to give me a delicate and highly detailed outcome. And they worked a treat!

Scott's pencil and pen work

Tell us how you got started with Sharpie?  
I had a voucher and I headed to my nearest stationary supplier and picked up three Sharpie Fine Point markers (these covered much of the whole mural) and I started on the board!

You created a HUGE mural using Sharpie, tell us what inspired you to take on a project of such magnum proportions! 

My art teacher Jon was aware I wanted to work on a large scale to create a drawing like my small scaled refined drawings, he was given the old photo board of students in 2011/ 12 which he then revealed to me, it left me in shock and perhaps fear. It’s around 8 and a half ft long and a good 3 ft tall, a massive blank canvas made of smooth plastic and I was going to be making a final piece out of it. I knew internally what I wanted to create, something that was an insight as that what I believe will become of the future of society as people become more media driven, brainwashed and subconsciously under control in a situation where there would be no such thing as freedom. The mural itself is titled ‘A warning’ because that’s its intentions.

In progress...

I didn’t make a single compositional plan for the mural, lots of people told me it was the wrong way to go about doing it and they seemed concerned that I would have problems down the line, but I carried on regardless just crossing my toes (hands too busy) that it would all just come together nicely. It started with a little pencil outline of a burnt out car and developed into a huge miserable inky dreamscape.

Still going...

It took a total for 5 Sharpie Fine markers with the assistance of a water based felt tipped grey pen for mid tones, which I’d smudge around the Sharpie lines (Sharpie ink unaffected). The Sharpie markers lasted for a very surprising amount of time; each one went a long way. Even pens that had run out I was using for grey tones. The pens never blued out, they stayed black, they were precise, stayed fine for as long as I needed them to be fine and they dried so quickly.

Almost there...

They allowed me to create the result of ‘A Warning’ I highly recommend them for anybody attempting to take on something of similar scale/surface. It took a total of 11 weeks to complete and 5 Sharpie markers (fine point) I’m unsure of hours and I neglected the board for a month to work on other things.
Favorite (or should I say favourite?) Sharpie?  Why?
Well so far I’ve only used the classic fine point Sharpie markers but I’ve only recently discovered that Ultra fine point markers actually exist, they’d be a joy to use amongst larger pens!

How would you describe your style?
I’d say something like contemporary illustration, traditional methods. Illustration for me is the bridge between graphic design and fine art; somewhere that seems appropriate for me to rest. I’m definitely a drawer but I would like to master it along with painting. Painting seems like another planet I’m yet to explore, and I’ve barely seen enough of drawing.

How do you decide what you want to tackle next, slash can you tell us what’s next for you!?

With me being a college student it’s all about university prep and I have to prioritize that work over everything else, my topic for my exam unit is ‘Body Language’ so expect some other large board filled based around that topic (potentially with the assistance of Sharpie ultra fine point) I’m currently working on my illustrative coursework final piece for graphics made with pencil, some progress images currently on my page. I’m also filling pages with sketches each day which I occasionally post on my little art page.

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Hm, well I did once see someone answer a question like this with ‘The ability to shoot three cotton balls out of your hands every ten days’ I thought that was nice and quirky. But in all seriousness I’d love to be able to pick up any instrument and know the techniques so I could create some weird one man loop machined orchestra, people would so see that.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who and why?

It’s definitely Rupert Murdoch, to give him a good slap with the mackerel I’d order.

Scott is QUITE the jack-of-all trades

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen is Scott Davies! I hope you all read that interview in a British accent, ( No? just me?) and were as blown away with Scott’s work as we were!

Have another question for Scott? Comment and ask away!

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Professor Rivard

It started with a skateboard. Which turned into an ad campaign. Now, Mark Rivard has started a movement.

Recently, Mark launched an art education program, The Mark Rivard Skateboard Art Education, a unique program designed to provoke and inspire students to strive for success through hard work and recognition of one’s potential.

Skateboards. Art. School. Stop it. Where the heck was this when I was trying not to bang my head against my desk praying 4th period would just end!?

Everyday we are blown away with what can start with Sharpie. Today, we have been blown to pieces, so we will let Mark tell you about it while we try and wrap our head around this amazing-ness!

Tell me! What have you been up to lately!?

What a rollercoaster ride it’s been since the 2011 campaign!  I have been busy!  The last year has seen so much opportunity for me it’s been unbelievable, but the most important opportunity came in the form of an idea I’ve had for quite awhile.  I started a skateboard art education program, which has been a passion of mine.  I’ve been creating art, painting, skateboards, sculptural pieces, just really letting the creative process grow which has been really interesting.  Life is good, and art is STILL FUN!

Skating selfie.

I know WE KNOW how, but tell us how you got started with Sharpie! 

My relationship with Sharpie started about five years ago when my aunt, who is an office supplies manager, mentioned to her Sharpie Rep that her nephew used Sharpie markers to illustrate skateboards.  That rep must have said something to the marketing team and the next thing I knew I was doing an interview for this very blog!  Then in 2009 I was invited to become a member of inaugural Sharpie Squad, from that opportunity we have just continued to spitball ideas and I am yet to find a better skateboard illustration tool…  There’s a lesson here too, foster your relationships.  Young artist are always asking me, “How did I get where I am?”   It’s those around you that are so instrumental in your success.  When I got my foot in the door with Sharpie I ate up every opportunity I could, I’ve been pestering the bigwigs over there for years with ideas and projects I want to work on (Pestering?! PLEASE- we love it!!) .  If someone would have told me five years ago that I would have the relationship I have today with Sharpie I would have thought they were crazy, but here we are, and you guys still answer my calls!!!  Thanks Sharpie, it’s been an incredible five years! Cheers to us! 

Since being THE skateboarding force behind 2011’s ad campaign- you have started up your own education program? Fill us in!

This has been the one thing in my life I can honestly say I am the most proud of.  I used the momentum and recognition that 2011’s Sharpie campaign afforded me and developed a program called Rivard Art Education.  I wanted to find away to give back, not only to skateboarding, but also to kids that are a lot like I was growing up.  School didn’t come naturally for me and I always had a hard time finding things that I was genuinely interested in.  The older I’ve gotten the more I realized my passion for helping people figure out their role in life.  I was fortunate in the things I’ve been through that I was able to find an outlet that I was so passionate about.  I was able to better my life because of it.  I want to help people learn to recognize that kind of drive in themselves.  School doesn’t have to be a drag ( seriously where were you during my 4th period class?!) and if I’m in a position to help make it better, even if it’s just for a few, than it’s something I am committed to doing.  I feel like with the campaign I was given the chance to use some of the inspirational themes to piggyback off of and create a, pay-it-forward, type momentum through the Rivard Art Education.

Professor Rivard and those lucky kids!

As for skateboarding and skateboard art itself, that is merely a tool.  I wrote this piece called “The Skateboarding Springboard”, which I think best describes the basis for the program:

“A couple of days ago I was talking with a friend about his idea to develop a skateboard school through one of the local shops.  As we were talking I realized that the fundamental reason for success with these types of programs has nothing to do with skateboarding itself and everything to do with the interactions and openness brought out by the idea of skateboarding and the aesthetic of skateboarders.  How do we sell this idea to group of people that have zero understanding of skateboarding?  The kids don’t care; they are intrigued by anything & everything when presented in manner that is giving them the freedom to discover their own outcomes.  How do you sell to a PTA?  Or a group of people who’s ideas of skateboarding is negative?  You prove to them that skateboarding is simply a means to a larger conversation.  The lesson and value of the experience is in the conversations had collectively while working on a skateboard.  It’s in the way you watch a young person come to their own realizations while pushing a Sharpie across the bottom of board.  Skateboarding is simply the springboard to so many other positive emotions and a tool used to inspire the emotions that in turn define what a young person is passionate about.  Once a kid discovers a passion they have instantly added a positive value to their own life, they’re now off and running with they’re own ideas.  And a kid with an idea is powerful thing…”

 

What has inspired you to start Rivard Art education?

I’ve been fortunate enough in the past to be invited to speak at a couple of schools around the world and those were some of the most fulfilling experience I’ve been apart of as an artist.  The first school I had ever been to was a high school in Dienze, Belgium, I was invited to speak about the differences between American and European Youth and Pop Cultures.  I was in Belgium doing an art show and a friend, who was a teacher there, thought I would be a good compliment to her current study of American Cultures.  It was a true honor and the response from the students was incredible.  I was also graciously invited into an all boys’ Muslim school in town called Al Kohr just outside of Doha, Qatar, in the Middle East.  I started to realize that through my art and my story I had a positive message to spread.  That message was in a way it’s own internationally and culturally recognizable language, the values were relatable through cultural barriers.

After the 2011 campaign I received an email from a local elementary teacher stating that I was an artist her school was going to being featuring and studying over the course of their school year.  I responded and told her that I was honored and would love to stop by and say hello to the students.  We got to talking and essentially created the Rivard Art Education, which had its first official run as a five-day residency at Liberty Ridge Elementary in Woodbury, Minnesota.  From there it has snowballed into national and even international interest with offers to visit schools, conferences’, and seminars as far as India!  I have a lot of appreciation for the support and insights that a few key teachers and educators have provided me in getting Rivard Art Education off the ground.  Tess Soucheray, Jill Brown, Jessica Frisco, Lorelli Byrne, Shannon Opichka, and Joanne Toft were all key’s to inception and success of the program and they deserve so much appreciation for their efforts in helping me get this going.  Thank you!

 

I know I would be psyched if you had come to my school, how could kids/schools get involved?

You can contact me through my website:  www.RivardArtEducation.com!  There are so many ways and ideas for incorporating the program!

A new level of class.

Are you still working as an artist and creating those amazing Sharpie decks we have come to love?

Absolutely!  My time spent actually creating has been challenged with the birth of all these new projects, but at the end of the day I still find myself sitting down and sketching out skateboards…  I’m an artist all the time, you can’t shake that…

What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2012?

The rest of this year and going into 2013 are looking busy.  I have a number of schools I’m going to be visiting and the program is turning into a full time job.  One project I am super excited about is an opportunity to work with Brunswick High School in Virginia.  We are doing a project where I will hand deliver 100 skateboards to the school to and be making art with the students for a few days there.  It was a project that hit near and dear to me when I learned of the high school.  They had approached me about making a visit and after a lot of brainstorming we came to the conclusion that there was simply not enough funding for the trip.  The teacher had talked to me about her schools budget for the art department and I thought I had to help in some way.  Instead of giving up I proposed a challenge to the school, and to myself, to raise the money and make, what I’ve since branded as “The Virginia Project” a reality.  The ultimate goal of what I do is to prove that you can do anything in life you put your mind to, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to prove that.  So in January of 2013 I will be going to Virginia to spend a week with the students of Brunswick High School!  I’ll also be visiting schools in Ohio, Colorado, and all over my home base of Minnesota with more opportunities coming up daily!

Where can we find you? :

RivardArtEducation.com

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

And be sure to “Like” the Rivard Art Education page on Facebook as well as Rivard Art Inc.!

Talk about having the coolest teacher EVER?!  Mark Rivard just won’t quit making his mark and we just love him for it!