You don’t have to be an artist to make art, says illustrator extraordinaire Marion Deuchars. You just need to roll up your sleeves and give it a go
Getting ready for her trip north of the border, Marion Deuchars is excited about coming home. The London-based Falkirk-born artist and illustrator is heading to Glasgow to set up an exhibition space at the recently opened Art Space in Queen Street’s Cass Art Store. She has been in London since she got her portfolio together in 1987 and found work the old-fashioned way, “Walking the street and knocking on people’s doors,” she laughs.
But Marion’s approach has always been a practical one. From her student days in Dundee and her commissions for international clients to her more recent book launches, she takes ownership of her art and has never been afraid to experiment. What sets her apart from other artist-illustrators is that she wants art to be accessible, something that everyone can dabble in without feeling self-conscious or as if it’s the preserve of an elite club. And, she supposes, it’s also a reaction to our ‘screen culture’.
Marion studied illustration and printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone. “I wanted to move away from home and be independent,” she recalls. “The day I went to see the college, it was a beautiful sunny day. I don’t think I saw the sun again after moving to Dundee!” At the time, students did a foundation year, allowing them to try all the disciplines, from sculpture to painting. Marion eventually graduated with first-class honours in illustration printmaking. Her tutors advised her that her strengths were in design and, to make a career in this field, she’d really have to move to London.
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Words Catherine Coyle