We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcus Clarke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marcus, what role has risk played in your life or career?
My relationship with risk is like an ex that keeps popping up out of nowhere. Whenever I have a big idea – for say an installation or an exhibition, one that’s going to involve a lot of time and capitol, I get so hyped up. I’m making all these insane abstract connections and I’m seeing the world with rose colored glasses. I’m telling everyone I know about this idea I’m stoked about, and because I have the most supportive community ever, they get excited too and want to see it happen. I like to think that inspiration is contagious, and that inspiration feels a whole lot like hope – people gravitate to that. And then there’s a roadblock somewhere along the way. It’s at that point that I actually weigh the pros and cons, and I realize the challenges and commitment this project will actually be. That’s the part of the process that’s the most stressful – but again, I have the most amazing community who never lets me down. Picking myself up by the bootstraps, I continue forward with the idea that feels too big to manage fueled by peer pressure (again, thanks community <3), self-imposed deadlines, and my 4th cup of coffee for the day. And it all works out somehow! A solo exhibition that was funded by Kickstarter, an online exhibition curated to showcase how artists are managing 2020, or a socially-distant showcase in my garage? All ideas that happened with this naivety-driven process.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Howdy, My name is Marcus “Delmar” Clarke. I’m an Austin based artist and muralist by way of San Antonio. My art practice is really focused on making spirituality feel really grounded and tactile – so to that end I’m using common objects like construction materials, rocks and minerals, or wood paneling, and making them have an ethereal quality by adding digital components with LED’s, projectors, or augmented reality. I think a lot about the tension of heaven – that it’s something approachable, but not yet fully realized in our lives. That tension and my questions and doubts revolving around that is really where my art comes to life. I first exhibited with these ideas in February with my show, “Zion’s Window”, and I just finished exploring that through Austin Studio Tours with an exhibition called “Two Tides Torn”. I have been pursuing studio practice ever since graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design, but made the transition to full time practice after layoffs due to COVID in July. That week in July, which included getting laid off, a really close relationship ending, and my home being broken into – was one of the hardest but best weeks that I could’ve experience, because it has launched me into my full time practice, some really amazing new friendships, and taking my physical health really seriously (which has paid off huge dividends in the way it affects my practice). My end goal with my art is to inspire. Anyone can inspire in any way, I just found my medium is through visual concepts. Again, inspiration feels a lot like hope, and it’s contagious.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If you flew into Austin-Bergstrom today, our itinerary would look like breakfast tacos at Veracruz, take polar plunge in Barton Springs, swing by the Blanton Museum on UT’s campus then grab a pizza and drinks at Central Machine Works, where I would prove to you my Texas pride by showing you my upper thigh tattoo of Texas while reciting the Texas state pledge, embarrassing our entire table in the process.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s hard to deduce my shoutout to one person because, again, I’m only able to take so many risks because of the support of my community. That being said – I always give Margaret Jane a call if I need a pep talk. Additionally, my pal Corrie Pickering is the master of brainstorming. With his experience at Disney Imagineering, the way he sees the world is through the lens of “what if…” and I love it.
Alex Stauss @alxstrauss