Interview with Mark Vessey – No Walls Gallery in Brighton

Edited by: Matilde Casaglia – Art and Culture Editor –
Photographs by: Mark Vessey  – Twitter mark_vessey

The solo exhibition from the photographer Mark Vessey features his Collections and it is hosted at the No Walls gallery in Brighton. It is a photographic highlight of pop culture, and it examines the addiction that affects the most dedicated and passionate collectors.

Attitude, Mark Vessey, No Walls, Brighton

How did you start your career?
I started in London suburbia, then I moved to Brighton for my University studies. It meant escaping my home environment. I have always been interested in photography as a way of exploring the world. Taking my camera with me always gives me a feel of safety. Meeting people, spending time with them, getting the chance of exploring the world with my camera on me.
From portraits to magazine collections. What’s the link?
Magazines belong to people. When I was young I began to have them sitting around me, like a window on the world. Mainly fashion magazines, alternative magazines, with amazing photos by amazing photographers. Witnessing how things crossed over. The project then took a life of its own, and it build up other collections becoming a documentary. Not to show every single issue, but to give the idea of the publication at that time.

Who inspired you?
 Polly Borland. I met her in Brighton and at that time she was a portrait photographer and we became close when she photographed me. We worked together for a year and a half, I assisted her and we did an exhibition called Smudge in 2011. She was very inspiring to me, and encouraging.
Polly knew also my favourite artist, Keith Haring, and I saw a very sweet picture of them together in Australia. She said that if he would have been still alive, he would have liked me and my work.
Another crucial personality that I met more recently is Robert DeNiet. I met him in London Bridge, and he was very inspirational. He has a background in fashion and he is the author of a book called My favourite dress, published in 2009. His flat was covered with fashion magazines and his archive contributed in the exhibition. We were talking about our love of Keith Haring and other fashion photographers. A really overwhelming personality.

How was the experience of the exhibition at the No Walls gallery in Brighton?
Is just the latest of various exhibitions I had in Brighton. The city has sometimes a reputation for the so called postcard art work and I think Collections at the independent gallery No Walls was a good stand up to provide a valuable exhibition, somewhere other than London.
There was only room for one  bigger piece of a meter and a half, while I would like to have more space the next time.

What’s your next step?
I wish Berlin, London, New york. I’ve just spoken with a dealer in New York actually. On the side I have a project launching with the St Pancras hotel. Last year they bought some of my works which are now showcased in the hotel. Now they commissioned me a new project. It will focus on Kate Moss’s front cover on Vogue 1993, which will have its 20th anniversary in March.

Favourite photographers? 
Niam Golding, Wolfgang Tillmans and Slava Mogutin.
What’syour “dream-reportage”?
At the moment I am interested in clothes, time capsules. People known for their wardrobes, personalities presented through their fashion and their way of dressing. In terms of people I’d love to photograph politicians more than celebrities. I’d love to photograph Obama for example.

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