Profile of a painter: An interview with Mark Bell
Mark Bell's art is the trademark decor at one of our favourite venues in South Devon, The Lucky 7 Club. His paintings are rich in warmth and colour, often capturing the raw and energetic expression of performers. He paints on canvas, as well as fabrics and furniture. We dropped by The Lucky 7 Club in Paignton to chat art with Mark and to see some of his works.
Originally from Newcastle, it was an interest in Fashion and Design that lead Mark Bell to study at Central St. Martins School of Art, London. Their he developed a love for paint and fell into a creative scene that would fuel his imagination. International performers from the Burlesque, Blues and American Roots Music world have formed a stream of muses for this artist.
"I've always wanted to paint, always wanted to be an artist. I work in lots of different styles… I've a very naturalistic life-like style or I go very graphic and very defined colours and lines. And then I'll try and mix the two, sometimes they'll be a very naturalistic approach with a bold, striking graphic line through it and complimenting it. My work has taken a slightly different direction of late. I've got into a lot more jazz, and that started influencing how I was painting and what I was painting.
I started playing with colour a lot more and started painting more musicians. The Mason-Laurence Gallery over in Dartington have a lot of those pieces. I started painting them and they contacted me and said we have to have these in the gallery, which was fantastic. There's such a great community here in Torbay, and the area. There's a lot of support.
– Mark Bell, Fine Artist
Mark runs The Lucky 7 Club with his wife Sarah Bell and Lisa & Willy Briggs of the Hot House Four. The Lucky 7 Club is an independent venue offering specialised live music, cabaret and entertainment all with a vintage and retro twist. This unique speakeasy style first floor venue is hidden away in the heart of Paignton and is like one big canvas for Mark:
"Yeah it's kind of my gallery, it's kind of my work in-progress. I want people to come in here and always be surprised by a new piece of work or spot something that they've never seen before. This club is no longer a blank canvas, but it's a canvas that'll never be finished. Never. I'll still be painting this place the day before we close."
– Mark Bell, Fine Artist
Mark Bell’s commissions have seen his art being shared across the South West, from galleries and family homes, to even local pubs like The Chelston Manor in Torquay. However, if you want to immerse yourself in his art, then you have to visit The Lucky 7 Club, visit their Facebook page to see what events they have coming up. You can also buy his painting at the shops at Dartington via The Mason-Laurence Gallery.