As a London based painter who has gained 20 years experience in creative industry, Marc Todd is trying to explore a new way to translate his visual art theory of contemporary impressionist and to apply it onto his creative artworks.
In a quiet corner of Hyde Park in London, Marc Todd and his wife Enya stand beside the glass wall of Magazine Café to welcome me come for this interview. Marc is wearing a blue shirt as well as his wife. Drinking coffee casually, I saw a transparent sunlight comes through the glass and projects the bright blue on Marc’s shirt. It is such a sunny day after a heavy rain earlier in this morning.
“I was 24 when I became a creative director.”
“We both worked in advertising agency. My wife was a graphic designer and I was a creative director in Saatchi & Saatchi advertising.” Marc originally did his degree in Fine Art in painting. But after he left the university, he became a copywriter instead of a graphic designer. The story is more like a fairy tale. “I was working as a newspaper seller in a train station at the time. A guy came to buy newspaper everyday in the morning. One day I talked with him. Then he told me he was a creative director in Saatchi & Saatchi and asked me to take an interview in his agency. I thought why not. So, I went there then got a job as a copywriter straight away.” In Saatchi & Saatchi, Marc only used 3 years to become a leader, which normally will cost people 10 years to get there. “I was 24 when I became a creative director in Saatchi & Saatchi.” However, after so many years working in a fast-paced industry he decided to paint as an artist.
“A contemporary impressionist”
“I started to paint again about 2 or 3 years ago. Just for fun at the beginning but it becomes more and more serious as my paintings become popular later on.” Marc’s paintings are sold quickly. Sometimes he sells 5-6 paintings each week and some of his paintings are sold in a couple of hours. To meet the demands of the public, he has to well organise himself. “I get up very early in the morning and paint for about 2 hours before I go to my company. When I finished work, I will go to pub for a bit then come back to paint till midnight.” As a person who owns three companies, Marc has learned how to be productive. “I paint very fast.” He says, “sometimes I got some ideas in my head, I just got it down in several hours.”
“The other thing I want to do is keep changing things all the time. If you look at Instagram, you will find my style is a lot different 6 or 7 months ago.” “One of the paintings is a turning point, in which I did a pink sky then I realised I want to do more, so now I did a lot more paintings with these kind of bright skies.”
Marc’s paintings have strong visual identities. “I think that’s because of my advertising background.” “I intend to make my art recognisable. Many people ask me how I do that, I don’t tell them, I am trying to keep the idea to avoid many others doing the same things. I don’t like replicating.”
Marc defines himself as a contemporary impressionist. “I would describe my artworks as affordable and available and easy to be understood by anybody. I would call myself a contemporary impressionist. My art is quite impressionist in the style yet quite modern, in all these colours and textiles. I never paint with oil. So yes, contemporary.”
Inspired by Nature
Matisse is a big influence for Marc. “He is the first person who doesn’t make the colour match the reality.” The pink and orange sky in Marc’ works have obviously reflected this influence. “Beside, I like Turner a lot, I do like his colours. He was before the impressionism, but some of his paintings are quite abstract.”
Marc and his wife both like walking. They are planning to move to Bath in the future. Although his paintings have gained many followers on Instagram and other social media, he prefers to live in countryside and enjoy some inspiration from nature. “Much of my work is produced ‘in situ’, and all of it is based upon real places observed first hand.”
As a London based painter, Marc enjoy the multi-culture influence here. The life of running a business and the life of being an artist combine on him seamlessly. “I will go to China soon this year, to take part in an trade fair. Travel brings inspiration to us.” He gives me an enthusiastic smile with a thoughtful sight. You can never tell how old he is.