Although Brendon comes from a family of amateur artists, his parents encouraged him to pursue a more employable course of study when it came to third-level education. This path has taken him into colour, form and shape, but eventually also into systems, manuals and manufacturing, which have fed into an increasing importance of detail in his artworks.
Getting absorbed in repetitive pattern sequences began as a way of keeping focused and centred. Sitting in lectures, Brendon would practise stabilising his hand to create near-perfect circles and dead-straight lines.
Although the end-result is precise and controlled, a lot of energy goes into the patterns. Usually Brendon works to a soundtrack of high-energy pop. “For me, expressing emotion in a work of art is not about throwing paint at a canvas. My work captures the events and feelings that unfolded over those weeks I spent on a piece. It’s like a time capsule of a period of time, of life unfolding.”
Relocating from Sydney to London has affected Brendon’s work: “I’ve started moving away from nature and focusing on people more. I’m fascinated by digital culture and how people on the Tube have their heads down, absorbed in a device. I’m also intrigued by the grey. The grey is so severe in a way that I’m not used to – it makes me want to create even more colourful images.”
Brendon has been inspired by Islamic and Indian ornamentation, and the time taken over them, as well as by William Morris’s work; but the idea for the tipi pattern came from Native American prints and patterns. His tipi reflects ideas of home, longing and migration.
At present, he is experimenting with variations on the tipi theme to exhaust the idea before moving on. One potential application would be in a riff on the still-life painting. “Then maybe I’ll move on to circles!”
Brendon Marczan was born in 1983 in Sydney, Australia, and lives and works in London, UK. He studied on a full scholarship at the KvB Institute of Technology (now Raffles College of Design and Commerce), where he was the valedictorian for 2003. Since then he has worked in fashion design, illustration and manufacturing.
A keen artist since childhood, Brendon’s work began take shape in 2007 and he began exhibiting his work in private galleries in 2008. His 2009 show 100% Pure Love, a collection inspired by music and pop culture, sold out on the opening night.
My work is part of a continuously unfolding story. It is constantly informed by observation and experience, yet I see things through the lens of memory and emotion. I have been strangely gripped by the idea of nostalgia from a very young age. I see that objects and images trigger deep memories of relationships and influences that have made us into constantly evolving beings. Patterns and images let us reflect on our lives and actions in unexpected ways. In my own life, I find humour to be the most effective way to communicate without feeling threatened or overwhelmed – humour relaxes experiences and frees memories. It allows us to engage with each other without threatening our individual ideas of self and significance. It also allows us to tell our own stories and to listen to the stories of others.
The art I create certainly isn’t a history lesson and I’m not capturing an image or landscape at a particular moment in time. Instead, I’m telling part of a story that I hope the viewer can relate to in his or her own way, by presenting images as intuitive and patterned memories and asking them to reflect on their own experiences, in the same way that I have.
I’m self-taught, with some help from a talented uncle. I didn’t ever want to go to art school and I don’t like the idea that an artist needs to be fed through a structured institution in order to be in an acceptable position to represent their ideas creatively. I’m fuelled by my own memories and experience and I have the determination to evolve my complex and often demanded techniques.
The natural world very often provides themes for my work. I think this happens because nature is universal, challenging and reassuring. Its themes are relevant to all ages and places – my ideas about the beauty and fragility of nature have endured through my childhood in Australia and my life in the UK and Ireland.
Perhaps images that evoke and derive nostalgia are so important because so much of our emotional intelligence develops at such a young age. It’s important for me to delve back and reawaken memories and feelings so that we can process our emotions today.
– BRENDON MARCZAN