After hearing Pablo Picassos observation that “Every act of creation is at first, an act of destruction” Marcus Dove has been focussed on making artwork via destructive processes and adapts various tools like a homemade, electrical missile launcher, gunpowder and smoke grenades to produce an on-going wide array of work from performance-lead paintings to provocative photographic images.
The themes that run through Dove’s work are directly related to his past and yet at the same time the future as well. Themes such as transformation and redemption.
Dove commented, “When I was in school, I was always getting excluded and suspended and so it was not a very good place for me. When I left school I then got into dealing dead end jobs and basically faced a future life of crime. In 2009 I was arrested for driving my car round and there was stuff that should not have been in the car like firearms and drugs. It turned into a police chase and ended up with me crashing my car into two police cars on purpose. I was facing a prison sentence of a minimum of 2 years. My lawyers told me to enrol on a college course and maybe the judge would not send me down if he thought I had something going for me, fortunately it worked out and I got a suspended sentence and 300 hours on community service. I always remember that day in court with my family and how destroyed we all felt.”
Dove’s transformative change started with him attending college where he studied art as it was the only GCSE he had passed previously at school. During the three-year access course Marcus did exceptionally well allowing him to enrol at De Montfort University on a Fine Art degree course.
Whilst there his technique caught the attention of the De Montfort Vice Chancellor and Dove has experienced a redemption of sorts being commissioned to make a piece of artwork to commemorate the appointment of Baroness Doreen Lawrence, OBE as the Chancellor of De Montfort. The completed work was entitled ‘And Still She Rises’ with the artworks main themes explained by Dove, “The phoenix rises above a dismantled set of scales, a symbol of justice that had once failed and, more specifically, a visual representation of the collapsed double jeopardy rule which had previously meant no persons could be charged for the same crime twice.”
One of Dove’s other compositional themes within his work is the female form represented by the smoke grenade. The artist commented, “In the beginning there is a spark once it’s been ignited and ‘pulled’. What follows is an outburst of intense colour (honeymoon period) where two people intimately learn about each other. The smoke grenade continues to be bright and emit plumes of pigment for a certain amount of time before eventually calming down, where it slowly but surely goes out and the intensity is no more. Eventually what’s left behind is a hazy memory of what once used to be”.
Dove has also visited New York, taking the chance to develop his urban art series titled Urban Play: “I wanted to continue a project I’ve got called Urban Play, which is where I ignite smoke grenades in urban places. I took it upon myself to find some smoke grenades in Harlem and – at five in the morning – I ignited these smoke grenades and took photos.”
Dove regularly puts on live performances of his work. The process of the creation (or destruction) of his work is just as much ‘art’ as the final outcome itself. Both are as beautiful and as important as each other.
After graduating De Montfort, Dove has has show at Saatchi in London and exhibited in Hong Kong for the Asia Contemporary Art Show. He is also supported by The Arts council England.
When Dove looks back, he acknowledges how lucky he is to have been given the opportunity of a second chance,” So, at the moment I make and then sell my art all over the world in places like Portugal, Texas, HK, Brazil and UK. I suppose the moral of my story is I made the best decision by pursuing education from one of the worst decisions I ever made.”