Mark Anstee: Artist Background [1/2]

We were recently lucky enough to have the artist Mark Anstee come to college and talk to us about his work, then complete a workshop with us. In this workshop he showed us how he worked and got ideas for this amazing pieces.



These images were from Anstee’s installation drawing ‘Encounter’. In this project he draw the same soldier repeatedly 19386 times on a large-scale. This work took 72 days to complete all the soldiers, which despite being drawn to be the same, came out looking slightly different, no solider was the same as another. This created an individuality to each drawing. They were drawn in Biro, 8, and he would place a sticker next to each 10 to keep count. The soldiers were drawn at a slight distance to one another, this is because the soldiers are eyeing each other up, just as they would in war.


After completing this wall of soldiers, he started crossing each out with a thick marker, representing the way I which life can be taken away so easily. This destruction was completed in just 2 days, significantly lower than the amount of time taken to draw them all. I really like this piece because it demonstrates a deeper issue, as well as being a piece that is interactive in the sense that  depending on the days the viewer seeing the artwork saw it, would depend on how much they saw. If they saw it on the 50th day they would have seen it half full of drawings, which would give off a different emotion to someone who saw it on the 72nd day, and the same goes for someone who saw it on one of the days it was being destroyed.

Red, Blue, Red, Blue:


This is another project Anstee worked on, this time for the Imperial War Museum. This was a live drawing, similar to the Encounter piece; however he couldn’t be seen by the viewers, making the piece more mysterious. The piece works with the idea of individuals and acts as a living memorial. The primary colours red and blue were used to represent 2 sides, opposing forces. These are also everyday colours, represented in football teams etc.


I really like this piece because it has a strong passionate concept behind it. I also really like the face that it was a live drawing so there was more of a connection between the viewer and the artist, as well as being able to see the shadow of Anstee, which deepen this connection.

Anstee’s work is free and has a connection throughout all of his projects, I love that his theme and passion for this subject can be worked into each project he is given. His style and attitude inspires me as he sees a potential in all ideas and he doesn’t get over attached to a piece of art, letting it get destroyed, and only having a film and a few photographs as evidence. From his work I have learnt to be less precious with my own work and to try more and be more fearless in my own practice.


All photos sourced from Mark Anstee’s website:


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