THE SIX FOOT GALLERY INTERVIEW: Unknown Errors + Mark McLaughlin

Hi Mark! What was your starting point for exploring the theme of What Do People Make of Glasgow?
I grew up in a small town outside of Glasgow, and my family would come into town every few months. It was always at 9am sharp (before Glasgow gets busy) and I’ve no idea what my parents were coming in for, but my brother and I were coming for one reason: G-Force. It was an amazing video game shop beside Central Station, you could often get new or second-hand SNES, Dreamcast and N64 games for a decent price, or just flick through shelves of games you’d never come across anywhere else. The only other memories I have of Glasgow growing up are of the Lazer Quest 2000 on the Trongate, where we’d go for my brother’s birthday parties. Essentially, the reason I was able to give an answer to the title of this exhibition is that Glasgow has always been an escape from the norm, something that video games continue to be, now that Glasgow has become a part of my daily norm!

Can you walk us through your creative process?
For this project, it was a case of having the idea, designing it, then doing nothing with it. When presented with the opportunity to bring it to life I had a good few hours of panicking and trying to buy an arcade cabinet, before realising that I’d have to construct one myself. I had no idea how to do that, so I winged the entire thing and it ended up being the right shape. So, in summary: have an idea, do a draft, take a break, worry that I’m not capable of doing it, learn how to do it, do it.

How did your artistic journey start?
I used PowerPoint a lot in my job, and I had arrogantly gotten to a point where I thought I was the King of Presentations – there wasn’t much I couldn’t do with a few slides and some imagination. Then I discovered other computer programs that real designers used, so I taught myself how to use them. I am not the King of Adobe. I am a very low-level court-member, who aspires to be Adobe Nobility one day. Adobility, if you will.

How has your practice changed over time?
After relying on computers and digital work for about a year, I started to branch out. I really started to take photographs then play around with them on a computer. Now I’ll design things, print them into the real world, play around with them, draw on them, often bring them back into the digital world and keep playing around with them. Occasionally, I’ll then bring them back into the real world. That’s the case with my arcade cabinet. An annoying amount of analogue work for a guy who relies on computers for the brunt of his work.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
More often than not, if I’m stuck doing whatever it is I’m supposed to be making, I’ll go and make something else. Usually halfway through that I’ll have a breakthrough on the important job, or the next time I come back to it my mind’s a little clearer.

Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love? 
Mat Voyce is a big one for me, an incredibly talented motion designer. Another designer Giulia Cavalcanti (just search for Giújuba), amazingly versatile stuff with a “simple” character. 

What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
Don’t make it perfect, make it now. 

See more of Mark’s work at his website, or on Instagram. Unknown Errors runs at Six Foot Gallery until 19th September 2023.

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