The London based Artist-Barber-DJ Marshal Darling separates his time between his 3 passions simultaneously. The vivid works amalgamate a lifetime of moments and memories created whilst moving through Holland, Malaysia, and London. “I only draw when I’m feeling relaxed already. If I try to draw when I’m stressed, lots of negative voices prohibit me from finding any flow with it.”
Do you find that your art is reflective of you as a person?
Yes, all my artwork stems from a phrase that is going round and round in my head. All of this is connected to a feeling from my childhood which I’ve only recently come to understand with therapy.
How do you navigate around the obstacles you encounter, both creatively and personally?
For me the only obstacles are personal. If and when I overcome them, creativity seems to flow from there. I have had many years battling with self-confidence and repressed anger. Often I would attempt to start projects in various mediums and give up when I wasn’t able to get the idea down how I imagined. I think this was often due to unrealistic expectations and living in a fantasy about my artwork. I’ve had a lot of anger which I wasn’t able to express freely for many years so quite often that would come back to me. This anger would squander many creative processes in the past. For the last 3 years now, I’ve tried to look for obstacles in my life and find out why they are hindering my health or creative processes. I accept that there will be many more obstacles to come and I’ve gained experience on different ways to take them on. I have found that looking very closely at my emotional calling (related to childhood), nutrition, rest and physical exercise/variations in movement have allowed me to feel more liberated as a person. As a consequence all my creative pursuits have had an opportunity to flourish. I think in the last 6 months I’ve become quite prolific over multiple disciplines.
What do you want your work to do, Is there a feeling or emotion you hope to trigger?
I want my work to convey how I’m feeling at the time or reference times in my life where I’ve felt alone with feelings. Everything I create tells a story about me, whether it’s a drawing about my childhood, a song which I play in a DJ set which has a particularly connection to my soul or even doing a haircut which was similar to one I’ve had myself before.
What do you believe the role is of an artist in today’s society?
I think art is the best way to communicate human emotion/condition. I think we are in an age where we’re all rapidly realising that being honest about how feel is paramount to ‘getting on with it’. I think the artist has an opportunity to help society wake up to what’s really going on under the surface of why we do things.
Something else you want to add?
Art can never be right or wrong. There isn’t ‘good art’ or ‘bad art’. Whether someone makes money from art or not doesn’t determine its value. Art is an individuated emotional experience. If someone is making art which is saying something true to them, it has value.
Explain a bit about the designs you have created to help us raise awareness of mental health
The Body knows was inspired by the idea that our body stores memories of past events. Sometimes our brain jumps around making it difficult to make a decision. When I find my flow with drawing, I feel like my brain has gone to sleep. My eyes, hands and heart are making the choices for me.
‘Sensitive Painful Happy’ was a phrase which came into my head one morning when I was waking up. I think these feelings are connected to each other. There’s a process of sensitivity being able to lead us to pain and to happiness.