4Q Interview with Mark Andrew Young, visual artist, owner of Manchu Mark Young Designs, father of Damien and partner with Nathalie Brun. Mark has created works of art in creative CD covers and promotional material for a varied group of artists such as Roland Gauvin, Dominique Dupuis, John Jerome, 1755, to name a few. He has created distinctive posters for numerous cultural events. His work can be seen at www.manchu.ca
4Q: It’s always interesting how we choose our careers. Your grandfather Ernest was an artist and professional sign painter, perhaps his creative genes have been passed on to you. What made you want to be a graphic artist?
MAY: There are things in life that just happen. When I was a boy, I would watch my grandfather paint, and I was too young to realise I would follow in his footsteps.
Even though I started drawing on the floor as a baby, who would have guessed I would be doing this for a living.
I can proudly say his love for drawing was passed down to me, and lives on, just in a different time.
He would use lead-based ’’one-shot paint’’ on mostly vehicles and board. I regret not learning that lost art. Now the vinyl decals and modern printing technics have become mainstream.
It’s kind of like discovering the electric guitar after years of acoustic play; you rock with it, but have to remember the roots. There was a lot more honour then. Everything was made by hand with no room for error. Nowadays, graphic design is simply a technique that facilitates communication in various mediums. But it’s still very much, and more than ever a cool way to get your point across whether it is by means of an art exhibit, a poster, a comic strip, anything you want really.I had travelled a bit, did various jobs here and there, but when I came to peace with myself, it just happened naturally.
4Q: Some of my favourite posters you have done is both the 2012 Franco fete and the same for 2013. Another favourite is the new one for 2013 AcadieRock which is a huge event coming to Moncton in August. The poster was featured in a Times Transcript article. How does a design like this begin? Where do your ideas come from?
MAY: It is a designer’s responsibility to visually deliver the message or feeling of the subject, that being an event, identity branding or album artwork etc….Like any industry, it is very complex and detailed, but research is always an integral part of the process. You want to make sure your ideas are current and have not been portrayed in a similar way. Not to say that styles and eras are not a big influence in my work, but the key is to make it your own.
Inspiration often comes from Music, daydreaming, and ultimately vision. It comes down to letting your imagination explode into the moment. And like anything, working it, re-thinking it, polishing to your’s and client’s satisfaction. But like a fine painting, your canvas is never finished. One could work on an image for years….but at a point and time you have to say; Yes, love it, next! Stay fresh and keep creating.
4Q: Tell us a pleasant memory or anecdote from your childhood.
MAY: I personally made my childhood complicated when in fact it was the simplest and easiest thing ever!
I am blessed as you know of being very spoiled and constantly surrounded by love.
I remember a lot of camping, street hockey, hanging out in trees, cousins in full camo (with war-paint) in the marshes of what is now Wheeler Boulevard.
There are many great memories. I can say that my Guardian Angels worked over-time watching over me as I rebelled against a dead era, and survived thanks to family and friends.
4Q: One of the major projects you’ve undertaken is the huge mural in the new Arts & Cultural Centre for the City of Dieppe. You did a fantastic job with this and must be quite proud to have your work displayed publicly for everyone to see. How did this contract come about and how did you ever get your ideas on the wall in such a large scale?
MAY:I was asked to do it. To be given an opportunity like that was overwhelming as first, but I approached it the same way I would a blank piece of paper; with full concentration and ultimate honesty. The creative process is like an all-inclusive adventure; with sleepless nights, constant daydreaming and finally discovering your confidence.
The project was a collaboration of 8 or 9 members; Professional artists & technicians, architects, projectionists, painters, general contractors. My design couldn’t have taken on this expanse without their combined skills. I’m not the best at driving a scissor-lift. :)
You really have to think WAY out of the box, get as far as possible out of the that so-called ’box’’. Keep it fresh and stay true to yourself.
Thank you Mark for taking the time to share your insight with us. Please visit Mark’s web site. www.manchu.ca
Stay in touch for the upcoming 4Q Interview when we will feature Yves Chiasson, former founder and lead guitarist of the dynamic Acadian rock group Zero Degrees Celsius. He records and performs as Luther Chase with a cache of catchy tunes. His website is myspace.com/lutherchase.