Christchurch graphic designer Mark Catley is into colours (and that’s including black and white). His designs are in part influenced by the city around him, drawing inspiration from the shapes and patterns of the post-quake urban landscape. Having worked under the name Trash Design for the last year, Mark is now taking an eponymous approach to his brand. So in the words of the man himself, it’s goodbye to Trash Design and HELLOOOO to Mark Catley Design!
What do you make?
I am a graphic artist who at the moment produces art prints, Giclée prints, cushion covers, and t-shirts. I am also trying my hand at magazine cuttings, street art and more 3D tactile works of art. At some point hoping to expand into other areas such as textiles and wallpaper. That would be neat!
How did you get into your craft?
By chance really. I have always been interested in art and design, mainly from CD, record and book covers, but never really studied art of any form. I have just worked in various jobs in music stores and then insurance over the years. Not really doing much but always wanting more…and then the September earthquake hit and I thought “f#*k this! What am I doing with my life!”. It was then I decided to take the plunge and study as a mature student in Graphic Design.
The February earthquake slowed everything down and I lost my father. But I continued to study after both of these setbacks to give me some stability and also to make my father proud. At the end of the course I applied for a few jobs, but never really wanted any of them. I realised I didn’t want to work for anyone else, but just myself. So started to make different things for myself and thankfully others seem to like them too!
I do find that everything is a bit bland nowadays. Where has all the colour gone? Enough of the black NZ! We need some colour to brighten this place up! But come to think of it half of my work is just black and white…haha…so maybe minimal B&W is okay? Yes?
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
In 2012 I finished my Diploma in Graphic Design at the Design and Arts College of New Zealand, but a lot of what I am doing now is more self taught. Nothing beats just sitting around and giving something a go.
galleryYour favourite materials, tools and processes?
Materials: My Mac, notebook and ink pens.
Processes: Put on a record, and just play. I try to work around any mistakes that occur. Sometimes they tend to lend themselves to some beautiful work.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
To create something truly beautiful. Whether it’s with an abundance of colours in geometric patterns or just a minimal black and white sketch.
What inspires you?
I often find it’s the little things that inspire me the most. Walking with my partner (Hannah Payne of Locket fame) and noticing the shapes and patterns in this cracked, broken city of ours. The patterns and shapes linger around in my head and at some point they surface again and then I need to get them out onto paper or into the Mac.
Nature, music, other art, creative people, film and my family all inspire me. Anyone with a passion also spurs me on. The other crafters on Felt always blow my mind!
So much talent exists in our part of the world! We need to all come together and I don’t know…knit for a good cause or something…(someone hums “Imagine” in the background). Haha. But it’s true!
Hannah also really inspires me. She is so talented and always making cool things. We would like work together on a project at some point.
One last thing that really drives me forward is the memory of my late father. I often think whether he would have liked the latest thing I was working on. I have also made a couple of art projects in his honour. I wish he was around to see what I was doing and would like to think he would have been proud of me.
Describe your workspace:
A happy chaos. It will look like a mess to most people…but I know where things are…most of the time.
Five words that describe your mind:
Childlike, imaginative, abstract, creative, musical.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
My last feedback from a lady in Australia was great, “Very happy with trade. Beautiful piece of work, can’t wait to frame it!”. Always nice to get feedback like that! I also remember once someone commented on my handwriting…as in it was good. My writing is terrible!!
What are you currently listening to?
I have been playing a lot of albums designed by Peter Saville…as in Peter Saville designed the artwork. Joy Division, New Order, Suede, Pulp, etc. I have been getting ready for my next show on Vintage Cuts. A radio show on Christchurch’s RDU 98.5FM. That’s right folks…you can hear my golden voice on the wireless…haha.
Recommend an album:
Recommend an album? Oh I hate this question. I have thousands of CDs and records, so it feels like some sort of loaded question. What sort of mood are you in? Blue? Green? Red? How about some night time dream pop? Give the latest Wild Nothing or Steve Mason a spin.
Your favourite childhood book?
The Five Chinese Brothers…a very un-PC book nowadays. Imagine someone writing a children’s story based on someone getting executed!
What are you reading now?
I am re-reading Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Being a romantic at heart I cannot get enough of all the descriptions of love throughout this novel.
Also just flicking through all my magazines. My favourites being IDN, Room Magazine, and the Computer Arts Specials. I have also started on some magazine cutting art. So always on the lookout for old magazines I can cut up and turn into something new.
Peter Saville. Graphic designer from the UK.
A favourite quote:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – Albert Einstein. Tell me about it!
Do you have any pets?
My girlfriend came with a dog, Uno. She eats all the chocolate. Wrapper and all. The dog that is.
What was the last handmade item you bought?
I can’t remember the last handmade item I bought, but I was given an amazing bug from the Butterfly guy from Hannah. It’s bugs and butterflies all pinned and mounted in glass cases. Way cool. Takes me back to visiting the museum as a kid with my family on wet Sundays.
Mark has one of his fabulous Sherlock Sparrow cushion covers, guaranteed to brighten any room, to give away to one lucky reader. Leave a comment below and you’ll be in to win! The draw will be made on Friday 21 June and is open to New Zealand residents only. Check out the rest of Mark’s work in his Felt shop, and if you’re in Christchurch, pop along and say howdy to Mark at The Craft Collective’s Dead of Winter Market at CPIT on Saturday 29 June.