I just love his stuff and the innocence and memories of the 70s that he taps into. Besides, anyone who likes hedgehogs is okay by me. (They were Marcus' grandmother's favorite animal and they appear in a lot of his work).
You may have seen Marcus' illustrations in the NY Times, Time Out Magazine, and Waitrose Food magazine among others as well as on Heroin skateboards and in Levis, Casio, and Channel 4 ads.
Many thanks to cwc-i for help with arranging the interview--you guys are the best! All artwork in this post is by Marcus Oakley.
mj: In terms of your drawing style, who are your influences and how did you
develop your style?
marcus: regarding my influences well I wouldn't say who has influenced me but what firstly I would say is that my childhood and where I originally come from has had a huge effect on my work, I grew up in a village called acle in the county of norfolk.
I have always been drawing and I still enjoy drawing the things I would draw as a child.
Alot of my work is about looking back, I guess it's the inocence of childhood I'm drawn to, but I'm also interested in all the things I lived through but didn't know about as I was too young to understand, so for many years I have been researching the music, architecture, fashion, graphics and typography of the 1970s.
I would also say my work has been affected by the wonderful harmonic and melodic music of the Beach Boys.
mj: I noticed that you worked at Paul Smith when you first started out. Did that
influence your work as you moved into illustration?
marcus: working at paul smith was a helpful experience, but I can't really say it influenced my own work. I would tend to spend my days working at paul smith and in the evenings I would draw and doodle things that I found interesting.
mj: Can you talk a little about your sewing work? How did you get into that and what inspired you? Are you still doing it?
marcus: I started sewing many years ago, firstly I started to make toys of some of my characters and then began working on embroideries, I find sewing relaxing as you really have to slow down, you can't rush sewing. Recently I haven't been sewing as much as I would like to, so hopefully soon, I will be able to spend some time doing that.
mj: How would you describe your own style?
marcus: I don't really know.....honest I guess, I just do what I do......
mj: Does fashion inspire or influence your work?
marcus: yes fashion does really inspire me, but I'm really inspired by 60s and 70s fashion. Today I went to the cinema to watch woody allen's manhattan, and I really liked the style of the clothes in the film.
mj: Besides illustration, do you do other work, such as painting, etc?
marcus: illustration is only part of what I do, I spend alot of time making art and music. I'm a self taught musician and so I would say I'm not a really great musician, but I'm happy with what I do, I started to make music as I wanted to somehow make a audio version of my artwork.
marcus: Last summer I did my first gig at a music/art event, I had a really positive response and so I'm hoping sometime in the future to do more live perfomances.
mj: What is your favorite project that you've designed so far?
marcus: well I have been lucky to work on lots of fantastic projects, but my favourite so far has been the adverts I have done for pointer footwear, I'm friends with the owner and the art directors of the company and so we work together on producing the adverts, its been great fun and a challenge to work in 3-D.
mj: Do you have new projects that you're working on?
marcus: since 2005 I have been working on a book of my drawings and paintings and its almost finished, so it should be out sometime this year.
mj: What would your ideal project be?
marcus: An ideal project would be something to do with promoting cycling or something that's helpful to other people.
Here are A FEW THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT MARCUS OAKLEY:
A) THE FOUR MOST STYLISH PEOPLE THAT INFLUENCED ME:
1 neil young
2 woody allen
3 dennis wilson
4 burt jansch
B) FOUR WAYS THAT STYLE MAKES THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
1 not to sure about this one.......
C) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS
1 henryk tomaszewski
2 robin day
3 arne jacobson
4 alan fletcher
D) FOUR JOBS I HAVE HAD IN MY LIFE:
2 boat cleaner
3 beach shop attendant
4 print designer
E) FOUR MOVIES I WOULD WATCH OVER AND OVER (AND DO):
1 The passenger
2 midnight cowboy
3 the wicker man
4 close encounters of a third kind
F) FOUR PLACES WHERE I HAVE LIVED:
G) FOUR TV SHOWS I LOVE TO WATCH:
1 any cooking shows
2 the simpsons
3 ray mear's shows
H) FOUR PLACES I HAVE BEEN ON VACATION IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS:
I) FOUR WEBSITES I VISIT DAILY (Or at least Weekly):
J) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE FOODS:
4 and the combination of tea and slice of cake
K) FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW:
I'm happy where I am now, I love london in the winter time, I like going out on my bicycle on sunny crisp mornings, maybe going for bike ride through hyde park then going for tea in chinatown or at the picadilly cafe.