Got the Winter blues? Mark Leeming’s garish, candy-coloured Bearded Brutes are guaranteed to brighten up your day. You’ll find them adorning the walls of our first floor gallery space. In the meantime though, we caught up with Mark to find out more about the stuff that inspires his creativity…
What’s your earliest memory of cinema/the theatre/the arts?
Mark Leeming: I have two main early memories of cinema. The first is going to see Tim Burton’s Batman at the Odeon in my hometown of Preston. I was 9 and must have snuck into the cinema and watched it. I loved how dark it was and I adore any musical score by Danny Elfman, it’s whimsical yet dark. And secondly was watching Ridley Scott’s Alien at home on VHS. I remember telling my mum and dad it was a 12 certificate and that I was ok to watch it. It terrified me yet filled me with intrigue all at the same time. How did they make these monsters, the huge sets and the costumes?!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
ML: Frank Sinatra to set the tone, I love his voice, either Ridley Scott or Spielberg so I could quiz them about all my childhood fantasy films, Margaret Zhang – a fabulous photographer/stylist/model, her imagery is exceptional and Heston Blumenthal for something exquisite & surprising to eat…
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
ML: Either the 1920’s or the 70’s. I just think everything about the 20’s was so deliciously decedent. The interiors, the fashion, the richness of the 20’s I just soak up. I would have loved to have been a fashion designer in the 20’s and produce the risqué collections which Coco Chanel started to implement like the trouser suit for the female form. The 70’s just looked a riot and all the New Wave artisans doing their own thing, I feel I would have really fit in. And who doesn’t love a bell bottom flare?!
What would your super power be?
ML: The ability to visit any era at anytime, all day, every day. I would love to spend time in all eras if I’m honest. It would be a nice change than living in be now.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what one book/piece of music would you take?
ML: I would take anything by Sinatra. His dulcet tones would stop me from going crazy stuck in one place!
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
ML: Travelling when I get the time. I am very fortunate that in my now job I get to travel the world quite a lot. I love experiencing new cultures and photographing foreign architecture. If I am in the UK though I love to binge watch foreign movies I have to admit. My job is very full on in the week and it’s nice to just totally relax and kick back of a weekend.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life/career? What lessons did that person teach you?
ML: My parents. They both brought me up to always give 100% and that little bit extra. I always strived to do the best I could growing up especially in the creative field. I would create stuff then hold shows and present to them asking for critiques. They have always supported me throughout my career and still continue to do so.
If you had 24 hours and no travel restrictions, where would you go and what would you do?
ML: I would go and see my mum. She lives abroad in Cyprus and I don’t get to see her nearly enough. We would go to the local bar and drink and dance!
Who would you most like to buy a pie and a pint?
ML: Mae West and ask her how she thought up all those great one liners and make some new ones for me!
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
ML: When I was 17 I worked on Steven Spielberg’s war epic Saving Private Ryan. This opened up my eyes so much to the hard work and graft that goes into making a movie on this scale. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience. I saw him on set but was too scared to go over and ask for his autograph! It definitely instilled the drive & ambition in me to be a part of the creative industry.
Mark Leeming’s Bearded Brutes gallery runs until Sun 22 Jan on our cafe walls.
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