HF Exclusive Feature: Marion Peck “Ladies and Clowns”

by Nathan SpoorPosted on

The lovely and enigmatic Marion Peck graces the walls of Sloan Fine Art this week with her new body of work, “Ladies & Clowns.”But whilst she was finishing off the works and then packing them up and handling all that shipping business, Marion took time out to share with us a few of the finer points of her beautiful work. Join us as we take an educational and entertaining peek into her amazingly crafted world, including her thoughts on life, travel and some sage advice that we could all do well to heed. Follow us in for the full and exclusive view…

Peasant Dance, 36″ x 46″, oil on canvas

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us about your new work, Marion. On that note, what might a curious observer find of interest to know about your new masterworks?

The show is called “Ladies and Clowns”. There are paintings of ladies, and paintings of clowns, and a couple other strange odds and ends. As usual, I am not really sure how or why I arrived at painting them. The clowns just kind of snuck in the back door.

Simple Simon , 21″ x 27″, oil on canvas

Do you have any rituals or necessary steps before beginning a new painting, body of work, or new direction?

Oh yes. I have many rituals. But I am afraid I must keep them a secret. If I told everyone about them, they might lose their power.

It’s wonderful to appreciate your works in person, and I’m certain your collectorship agrees, but how much time does it take to produce one of these masterworks? Do they appear in groups or one at a time?

The answer to how long they take is forever. That is what it often seems like, anyway. It’s actually more like a month or so for a fairly simple straightforward painting, to six months or more for a larger, more complex piece. They take a crazy amount of patience. Often I think what I have is not so much a painting style as it is a psychological disorder of some kind. On some days, it feels like I’m lying on the ground, pulling myself forward using only my teeth. I do them pretty much one at a time, but sometimes I will give them a rest before finishing them, and start something else.

Clown Running Through a Landscape, 22″ x 44″, oil on canvas

You’ve had brushes with books and catalogs, but are there any plans for a definitive collection of your work?

We have been thinking about doing it for awhile. I think plans for it might be starting to gel. Should happen within the next couple of years.

Fuck You , 32″ x 26″, oil on canvas

Of all the places you’ve had the ability to travel, where did you enjoy the most, and what did you find interesting there?

Well, I have a long term relationship with Italy. I lived there for a couple of years, and have gone back there I don’t know how many times, so Italy will always be a very special place to me. I think living there had a deep effect on my work. Living close to history, in the art, the landscape, the buildings, the culture, everything, it changes you. Recently Mark Ryden and I went to Japan for his show there, and that was really cool. Their popular culture is amazing. There so is much of the world I would love to see, so much to look forward to.

Breck Girl, 16″ x 13″, oil on canvas

Is there some place you’d like to travel, or to gather inspiration from?

I want to go to Russia. It just sounds really fun, drinking some vodka and eating some caviar and checking out the Hermitage.

I want to go to Greece and live in a little white house on a tiny island for a few months.

Manchu Picchu.

I love London, it is such a cool town, and I would love to spend more time there.

Someday India, but I’m kind of saving that until I feel ready.

Hobo Clown , 22″ x 19″, oil on canvas

When you are on the road, so to speak, do you take painting or sketchbook supplies with you to work for when the inspiration catches up to you?

I do have a little sketchbook I always carry with me to jot ideas down and make little sketches, but I’m not really a big sketchbooker, not like some people. I have always wished I could fill a book with beautiful sketches, but most of my drawings are very loose scribbling that only I can interpret.

Rainbow Clown , 13″ x 11.5″, oil on canvas

What is something you would like to accomplish, looking forward in your career?

I want to make paintings so beautiful that when people see them they fall down on their knees weeping and loose control of their bladders. It’s true. But in general, I feel incredibly fortunate to have made it thus far. Just being able to live off making my art is a rare and valuable privilege, and I would be grateful to just be able to continue doing that. I also would like to do some things besides painting: some three dimensional work, installations and videos.

Blue Satin Clown , 10″ x 9″, oil on canvas

What are you reading right now, or your favorite authors / books?

I read a lot of books about depth psychology. My favorite author/thinker is James Hillman. I have read almost everything he’s written, and attended some of his lectures. I also love to read books on astrology, a subject that greatly interests me.

Red Clown , 10″ x 8″, oil on canvas

Does music play an important role in your process?

Oh yes, music is very important for getting the magic flowing. I listen to a great deal of Eno’s ambient music. I also like harp or lute music. Very, very peaceful, floaty music, most of the time. Every so often though, I play Radiohead quite loudly.

Polka Dot Clown, 8″ x 7″, oil on canvas

What artists do you find of most influence to you?

Mark Ryden, of course, has a very profound influence on me.

I like some of my other contemporaries’ work very much, ( Neo Rauch, John Currin), but I don’t really look at their stuff much. I look at the old dead guys all the time, the Northern Rennaisance painters, Martin Johnson Heade’s landscape paintings, Watteau, Breugal.

The films of Miyazake always inspire me.

What is one useful tip you’ve learned recently in your explorations in oil painting?

Use good brushes. Spend the money on them and take good care of them. A good tool can make all the difference.

Is it more potent for you to work at any certain time of day, or year even?

Morning energy is definitely the best. I used to be able to work at night much better, but as I get older I start winding down and getting pooped earlier. Basically I work whenever I can, though. Life is so busy and demanding, and my work is so time consuming, I pretty much have to use whatever quiet time is available to me, though it never seems like enough.

Still images from Pathetic Clown and Bum Clown, 20″ x 17″ each flat screen TV with custom frame, single channel videos, 60 minutes looped, edition of 5 + 2 APs

Do you have any words of wisdom for the young at art, or those early in their painterly path?

Hmmmm….many things come to mind. I guess what I would say first is to find what you love, the things that you love to look at, and gather them around you and soak yourself in them. Make art from a place of love and passion, not from a trying to look clever kind of place. Don’t worry about “finding a style” or any of that bullshit. You are your style. Just work hard and be good and let life take you where it will. Everything will come in time, to those who are pure of heart.

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