Mark Charlton

photo artist cake portrait
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

The first time I saw one of Mark’s B12 Module paintings on my laptop,  I was hooked; so fascinated was I by the impression of an initial reality of what the future could be. In these artworks, the minute details, the delicate lines and shapes that complete a whole organic type structure floating in the darkest depths of space.  Painted in sunset oranges, pine greens, sand yellows, flame reds and baby pinks, yet almost comic book in style.  The titles of each painting alone are super imaginative, The vast Supernova Reaction, Titania Still Glowing, Cold Existence in Field of Stars could be telling us a narrative of our future. His first solo show in 2015 at the Brighton Art fair featured this series, and since then he appears at The Other Art Fair in London and Brighton twice a year.

Artwork painting art cake
The Vast Supernova Reaction; by Mark Charlton
Artwork painting art cake
The Glistening Red Nova Theory; by Mark Charlton
painting art artist cake
Pluto Calling; by Mark Charlton

Today in London, he has something completely different on display, I am looking at his Titan series, large artworks with a detailed collage of his own screen printing and painted paper applied on an Aluminium panels.  Mark’s works are never pre planned he tells me, exploring various techniques, such as applied mixed media, painting, screen printing, collage.  An early bird he is in the studio at 5am gradually building up his paintings, its emotional he explains, it’s the layering in his mind his love of texture, homing in on his execution, spending hours to create the proper surface, seven to eight hours straight in the studio wearing masks as he experiments with materials. The results are just beautiful.

artwork collage screen printing cake
Titan 133; by Mark Charlton
collage artwork screen printing cake
Titan 131; by Mark Charlton

Mark I would say on first impression is what I would call a cool Englishman, highly intelligent, he is an innovator, his grasp of subtle and complex humour, his interest in the surreal and quirky.  He started out as an animator, a career choice that he made after wanting to be a pilot at the Royal airforce and then changing his mind.  He is private, discreet, polite and very interesting.  Charlton studied at North East Wales Institute of Art and Design, gaining a BA Hons in Animation Design in 2001.  After his degree he taught animation in schools, became a freelance animator and graphic designer and then set up his own animation company.  Most of his clients were in the music industry, including the famous band Passenger as well as Frightened Rabbit. His business ran for several years, yet Charlton became frustrated with it and explains how he often felt that the creative control of his work was pressured with limited budgets spending hours at the animation desk. However very grateful for the time and opportunities he had working with many of the artists. He did decide on a different journey and rented himself a studio in Hove and started to create artworks.

artwork collage screen printing cake
Titan 132; by Mark Charlton

Mark was born in Margate Kent, his father was an Electrical Engineer so they traveled when he was young, he grew up in Bangladesh between the ages of two till five, then they moved to Jordan until he was eight, when the family moved back home to Sussex.  He has never left the area for long and speaks of his love of nature and spending time with it and how much he enjoys being close too the sea.  By contrast he also loves; arguably what some would regard as the slightly disturbing cartoon series Ren and Stimpy, from America in the 90’s; about the frighting psychotic Chihuahua and a docile cat.  The incredible 2001: Space Odyssey by Stanly Kubrick, and Sci-fi Eagle comics, from the 1950’s then re introduced in the 1980’s.   His love of aeroplanes, mechanics and architecture with a particular interest in a cold war brutalist style, Monoliths he tells me, and he loves concrete as a substance.

collage artwork screen printing cake
Titan 130; by Mark Charlton

 All these interests have a clear influence on his work, although each stage of his career as an artist has something completely unique, his B12 Module series and Titan. This year his paintings are what I would describe as sensuous wall sculptures, abstract again with the attention to detail, but this time not to only grab our visual senses but the desire to stroke and touch.  As he indulges me with his technique and materials, I stroke the silken texture of concrete and run my fingers over his work, across the lines and ridges that he painstakingly created.

artwork monolith concrete wall sculpture cake
The Brighthope Fragment 1; by Mark Charlton
Wall sculpture artwork conrete cake
The Brighthope Fragment 2; by Mark Charlton
Artwork painting cake art
Cold Existence in a field of Stars; by Mark Charlton

Charlton also runs a print company together with his partner Jackie who also manages the business side of his art.  He doesn’t like to be photographed and have his image placed on the internet, but he is open minded with the idea of trying to create an image of him without really showing him as he holds a piece of cake spiked on top of a fork.  All this as we are standing in the crowded Victoria House, whilst he is managing his stall and speaking to buyers.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

photo shadow cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Nayan Kisnadwala

Photography art artist banker guru
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

I am looking at this painting bright silver on vibrant cyan red, of two tropical birds mirroring each other and detailed patterns almost like decorations surrounding each bird as it appears perched on a rose.  I gaze at another image of spirals and circles that form a pattern like a rose set in hopeful gold.  Art and geometry or art and maths, this is what artist Nayan Kisnadwala talks to me about when we meet.  Sacred geometry, he explains is everything in nature, a rose, a flower, nature is perfect geometry, it is the repeating circular movement, as he turns his hand a few times in a circular motion.  I am staring at another painting of roses in the moonlight, one of his series for his upcoming exhibition, the roses are delicate and the leaves shimmer, when Nayan enlightens me with something beautiful, “Gold represents the sun, the sun represents the soul, the moon represents the mind and the coming together of soul and mind is meditation”. 

Painting Artwork Nayan Kisnadwala
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala
Artwork artist painting gold geometry cake
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala

Always very good at art and maths at school, he had to choose between both his love of maths and art, he decided to choose maths and finance and turned away from his passion for art, he tells me how he was highly ambitious and that he wanted to succeed, and chose a career in banking.  An MBA at New York University Stern School of Business, completely focused on his success, his ambitions paid off and his life has been happy and balanced with constant travel, collecting art, as well as living in a long list of several cities around the world, including New York, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Lonavla, Houston and Kennett Square in Pennsylvania.  His base is a home in New York, Mumbai and London that he shares with his wife Sonal, and his daughter Karnika Kisnadwala. He married his wife Sonal in New York in 1986, it was during this year he also met Her Holiness GuruMaa Jyotishanand Saraswati at her Ashram, that his spiritual journey also began.

Photo artist banker guru cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Nayan trained in art with the tutelage of David Cranwick, who with a few lessons, turned on his ‘art switch’ like Guru’s do.  When he paints he chants Shri Hanuman Chalisa or listens to the classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj  or Rattan Mohan Sharma, his canvases are his meditation from the universal energy stored in his subconscious mind.  Mesmerising artworks that you will stare at, as the pictures pull you towards them drawing you in.

Artist art painting cake
Artwork: Nayan Kidnadwala

“Nayanmitra Art is spiritual in nature, where I combine learnings and symbols of all philosophies and religions of the world ” he explains, that he has learned that all religions are fundamentally the same and that people just misinterpret them, in his art he combines sacred geometry, colour therapy, numerology to create pieces of art to help with visualisation and positivity.

art artist banker cake
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala
painting roses art cake
Artwork: Nayan Kisnawalda

His recent works for his next exhibition are roses, acrylic on canvas; roses are perfect geometry, the selfless creation of God, a beautiful array of colours and fragrances, and are used as offerings to God because of the emotions they represent.

Art artist banker cake guru
Artwork; Nayan Kisnadwala

His parents were originally from Mumbai, but later migrated to Nigeria; however, Nayan grew up in Mumbai where he was born and he reveals that they had humble beginnings and that studying and education was the way out; he tells me that Indians had very little disposable income at the time during his youth to make money in art. 

Artist artwork cake Kisnadwala
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala
silk scarf fashion painting
Scarf: Nayan Kisnadwala

However, five years ago in his early 50’s whilst walking through Soho he walked into an art shop and decided to start painting again.  He booked a gallery space for one year later, he filled the gallery with 36 artworks, inviting friends, relatives and colleagues and 50% of all works were sold in one day, donating the proceeds to three different charitable organisations, including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.  Meanwhile, he has since completed more than 201 artworks and has held nine exhibitions in London, New York and Mumbai.  He is also a floral artist, and introducing Nayanmitra Scarves in the near future.

Interview; Antoinette Haselhorst

artist photography art
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

He refers to himself and Sonal as being global nomads, citizens of the world and how travel equals education.  Nayan’s passing words to me before I leave for the day is that life is full of ups and downs, if you deal with both of them with same emotions, then you have equanimity.  Accept the rose with its thorns! 

Artist artwork painting Guru banker
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala

 I now recognise the symbol of Aum or Om, as some of us know it, it’s in many of his paintings. Aum, a primordial sound, represents the coming together of the soul, represented by the first alphabet of Aatma (soul) in Sanskrit, and the symbol for moon (mind), and the curved line joining both to reflect the meditative state! 

Photography artist Guru banker Cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst