Catherine Cornet - 04/04/2005
Marco Brown, whose mother is Maltese, was born in the UK in 1969. From a very early age he was exposed to a cosmopolitan atmosphere and was already speaking his first words of French by 5years old. He had already lived in 6 countries when 3 years ago he came to Malta to find his roots and he now feels totally at home.
Brought up by his traditional Maltese grandmother, Marco would be enthralled by all her tales of this mysterious homeland...His love for painting goes back a long way.His uncle is an artist too and although he remembers most of his work being predominantly classical whereas Marco is an abstract artist, he was still impressed by his uncles colour schemes at a very young age. After participating in a painting competition organised by the childrens tv show TAKE HART,and winning first prize, Marco’s leisurely pastime soon developed into a passion.
He is presently focusing on promoting his work in Malta , which is most
important to him since as cosmopolitan as he is, he still feels that the local
scene should not be ignored. He feels that the local scene with its talented artists and promoters have alot to offer and Maltese art is soon going to be firmly on the map of Europe. -
- You seem to have a true fascination for the Mediterranean…Where does it come from?
My fascination for the Mediterranean stems from my very early days although I
was still growing up in the UK. Owing to the separation of my parents I was brought up by my grandmother who instilled in me all of her anecdotes of a magical island in the heart of the Med. Another element is that I was rather reclusive as a youngster and prefered to spend my time reading in my room exploring the world in my mind as I devoured tales of Greek mythology and caught up on history and tales of Alexander the Great and things like that.I was very conscious of the fact that civilisation and everything which surrounded me had its roots in what had been going on in the Mediterranean basin many many centuries before.Already as a child, interested in different music and styles I realised that the people of the Mediterranean had something in common and developed an immediate affinity with people who hailed from there.Infact, most of my few friends whilst growing up in the UK were children from immigrant families as we understod each other, ate similar food, listened to similar music, had the same perception of what was around us and seemed to have the same moral standards.Cartoons and the like did not interest me and I was encouraged to watch documentaries on tv and was particularly fond of historical or travel
documents at that time as it was a source of mind travel and evasion.
- You decided to go back to Malta after extensive stays in England, France? Why this choice? What do you retrieve from it today?
From my teenage years it became very clear to me that I would not be spending my adult years in the UK, much as I respected the country and some its values. As one can feel lonely when in a crowd, I felt that I simply could not fit in with what was going on around me and knew that there had to be more to life than just existing! After University I ended up establishing myself in Paris, where I was based in the 9eme arrondisement, which was so enriching since it was a Mediterranean niche in the heart of an exciting city, full of happily smiling faces, Italian delicatessens, Jewish pastry shops, a myriad of North African spice shops and restaurants, Greek music ahoy and basically the finest melting pot I have seen for the time being and a true representation of what life together should be! Travelling back to Malta on holidays on a regular basis I was sure that I would one day end up here and furthermore I knew it was home.Whenever I had to leave the island to return to the UK orParis , it would break my heart literally and like a serene religious ritual, my last action would be to go down to the sea and speak to her, telling her that I would see her again soon. I have a very close bond to this sea, a little like an umbilical cord. Even when I stroll by the sea I simply empty my mind and imagine looking out on the horizon , that my friend in Tunisis will be somewhere over in that direction , or Gil in Israel will be towrds that direction , or Tikva in Morocco will be over there......
Malta has provided me with most of what I am looking for in life holisticaly and I feel a sense of home even if I only consider it as a warm base as opposed to a place where I must stay forever.I have really developed my sense of belonging here and understand my roots. Naturally not everything is perfect but I really must say that I feel we are close to it .In terms of my work it is a little scary to think that we really are far away from everything else and transporting paintings over to the continent can sometimes be somewhat complicated, then yet again it reassures me to know that we really are spot on central when looking at things on a Mediterranean perspective.
Moreover it is an ideal place to be based if one is a painter.I work from home
where I have also organised a small studio where I can spread out my material and artwork.I am lucky enough to live just by the sea in a place called Ta Xbiex,just next to the cosmopolitan city of Sliema , where everything is going on.This enables me to take the opportunity of going for long inspirational walks when I need a break from my painting or time for thought and all of this within two minutes from my door!Wherever else would I be able to do that but in the Med? -
- Your paintings draw their intensity from powerful and amazingly bright coulours, are they the starting point of your inspiration?
The vivid and rich colours of the Mediterranean are a real source of inspiration for me indeed and I must say that initially I was astounded by the feedback that my work received in Northern Europe , comments such as how brave I was to incorporate such bright and bold colours, and this on a very frequent basis.As far as I am concerned these colours are completely normal and nothing in particular.They are the tones i see and feel attracted to and comfortable with here at home in Malta where we have a great appreciation for colour and decoration or be it in places I have travelled to which are dear to me from Spain to Israel, from Italy to North Africa.My personal favourite pieces are Carnival Kiss to an Angel which for me represent the Maltese colours of the mardi gras carnival and The Snake Charmer of Marrakesh as this brings back to me all the confusion of entwined perfumes, sounds and colours of the main square which provided me with such a deep sense of joy when I was staying there.
- A lot of yours paintings refer to mythological figures: “Esther, Les Sirènes, Rise of the Phoenix...”, Why this attachment to mythological figures?
Mythology is a great source of inspiration as are all the tales we all tell which date back to those very early days of civilisation.This is something we all share in common and is integral to our identities.If one takes time to reflect all of our legends are rooted in more or less the same things, simply the names of the peole and places change.Moreover in a place like Malta which boasts such fantastic history, mythology and legend surrounds us on a day to day basis so it would even be difficult to escape from this even if one wanted to, what with all of the temples and the grotto of Aphrodita!!!Legend and mythology express something which is magical and as Mediterraneans we are outstandingly talented in telling tales.All I do is simply transmit a similar thing in the form of colour instead of a verbal form.
- Beside very intense emotions, some of your paintings “Tower in the sunset”, or “zen” gives a wonderful feeling of apeasment and tranquility centred on beautiful red suns....What inspire you for that?
Being in Malta does provide me with intense and serene emotions and due to my
work , my body clock is all over the place so it is very frequent that I can take advantage of a full moon over Valletta in front of my house and delight at the golden reflections of the bastions of our beautiful fortified capital.Rare are those times which fill me with such a deep sense of serenity and peace than a warm sunrise or sunset by the sea.The mind boggles at how mother earth knows when its time to change the natural colours which surround us.as much as possible I have really tried hard to convey the exact colours which I have witnesed and in Malta we really do have sunsets and sunrises of that colour, set in such a sky.Its simply breathtaking and so awe inspiring that I simply have to put it down on canvas.
- You will be exhibiting in Malta the 3d of April and later this summer, what does it mean to you exhibiting in Malta?
Exhibiting whenever possible, wherever it may be is naturally uplifting and
enables me to at least share my colours irrespective of the fact of making a sale or not but it is true to say that doing so in Malta is something I am particularly fond of.As a Maltese born abroad it is sometimes necessary to make that little bit more of an effort and I would like to leave a trace of myself and my work as a Maltese man when I pass on to the other world and before I do so I appreciate being considered part of the local arts scene , along with my other counterparts.Malta does have a very exciting arts scene and for such a small country, there really is so much going on in all fields so im simply thrilled to be part of that!
Through my website at www.marcoart.co.uk I make more sales abroad than I do in Malta and I also focus my attention on the scene abroad and when I exhibit there I am proud to represent my country particularly now that we have more exposure since becoming members of the EU.This year , further to having shows here in Malta such as the one this coming Sunday or the one programmed for September, I also plan something in Scotland for May and an exhibition in Tel Aviv in Sept ember .Time and resources permitting, I would like to realise a particular dream of mine.That of exhibiting in Paris.Lets see what destiny has in store!!!Perhaps its meektoub!