Five Minutes With... Dale vN Marshall
Can art ever truly be “owned”?
If you are talking in a patent sense then I would sway towards the answer of no. My guess is that many artists' work is made from an accumulation of influences either consciously or subconsciously that has been created before.
What’s your all time favourite medium to work in?
I am very fond of mixed media. Whilst studying at California State University in Longbeach we were challenged conceptually, especially on the MFA program. It was very exciting and interesting. I learned my skills painting the streets in my younger years and this was fully embraced by my professors to move forward. I was asked a number of questions that eventually got me thinking about historic cave markings (the earliest recorded graffiti) to start from the very beginning. What came from this was the importance of materials that correlated certain languages beneath the finished work.
Now, at times I use un-conventional materials: fire ash, medical varnish, thread/stitching which all have their own narrative. Anselm Kiefer is an artist that does this well. You could ask me why do you use oil paint and my answer would be it's romantic, my heroes painted in oils and that would be my only answer; or ask why do you use these materials and I could talk about this for hours, what they represent, how I got to this point for their significance, my journey... For me this is the true value to my work that goes deep beneath the surface, and it's not always pretty, but it's alive, it's art.
How old were you when you decided what you wanted to be in life?
I started painting graffiti at the age of 13 but it wasn't until the age of 25 that I had to make changes. I faced a long personal battle and then started University. It was here I decided I was going to be a contemporary artist.
Do you have any quirky habits when you‘re working in your studio?
I don't know about quirky but whilst painting I work under intuition. For example, if I can't find a certain colour within 5 seconds I see it as a warning and I will not use it even if I were to find it seconds later. To tell you the truth it gets lonely and I am happy to let out my inner ego in my studio, which speaks direct from the canvas, so I find myself arguing with my work loudly. In the past I have physically destroyed a canvas when I get upset with the breakdown in communication. The canvas is sometimes my friend and sometimes my enemy, I am full control to keep this peculiar behaviour in my studio though. I am not crazy, I am fully conscious of it. We all talk to ourselves from time to time though, don't we?
What is the most unusual piece of art you own?
I don't personally collect work by other artists, art surrounds us all in the form of nature. I like buying artist books that can be put on the bookshelf. It's refreshing to pull them back out a year or so later and to appreciate the works once more. I have books from different times of my artistic career that I see as a landmark moving forward. I remember buying the 'Rauschenberg Retrospective' book after being discharged from hospital in 1999, I bought it on a Saturday afternoon at the Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol UK). They are all reminders, that's how I collect; memories and attachments.
What’s the last song you listened to?
My music taste is a little embarrassing. But, I like all genres. Notably I have been listening to the band Smashing Pumpkins again recently in my studio, 'Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness', it's a wonderful album. The opening track 'Tonight, Tonight' is beautiful. I also listen to 'prog-rock' bands, I like experimental soundscapes and I also enjoy Classic FM whilst driving. Listening to classical music takes me back to my studying days and how arts are connected - structure and arrangements. I like music that makes me think, digest and influence my practice.
When you’re not working in the studio, how do you like to chill out?
I read just before bed and try my best to stay updated and educated with worldwide issues. It's a powerful journey that takes me back through history to give me a vision of where we are now headed.
Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your special dish and if not, what’s your favourite to eat??
I am very competitive when cooking curry dishes and I have often been complimented. The key to a great curry masala is a fine balance between the ginger and fresh coriander, using plenty of both. This week's special dish was a lovely squash, green bean, wine vinegar and fresh mango with bhut jolokia on the side to heat. Served with ghee and turmeric basmati, home made chapati bread and lime pickle... I am passionate about cooking if being given the time.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
I would like to visit Australia at some point to see friends and family. Hong Kong, Malaysia, or even the coastline of northern Scotland then continue to Iceland. I can't leave my studio at this present time though because of work commitments and I don't want to as I am happy to be here. To elabororate more and this is something that I am extremely proud of regarding our area... we live in one of the most majestic areas of the UK with a high ratio of contemporary artists - hobbyists, emerging and established. It's a sleepy area and then when events happen everyone comes out to party, and party hard... a truly wonderful place to be, a natural time warp with charm.
And last but not least, if you ruled the world for a day, what would be the one thing you would change?
I would implement Permaculture to schools and community; the community spirit is strong here in the hills of mid-Wales. We won't get too far by just thinking about ourselves as individuals. Permaculture is a great place to start to appreciate beauty once again. Political gardening, great!