Mark Rushton Interview – “The Sound of Paintings” – July 2018

The Sound of Paintingsan interview with painter and sound artist Mark Rushton – published July 2018

Mark Rushton ambient electronic music

What’s up with your recent work?  You’ve created a lot of new paintings in the past year.

I know.  It’s a lot of factors going on.  In 2016 and 2017 I did a bunch of canvases, and in 2018 I’ve largely been painting on a synthetic paper I’ve been using off and on since about 1992.

Just recently, I’ve found a reliable source for pre-cut sheets of this synthetic paper in different sizes.  I’ve done a lot of 8″ x 10″ paintings, but soon I’ll be working in 11″ x 17″, 17″ x 22″, and 22″ x 35″.  Eventually I’ll get a roll and make huge paintings.


You refer to yourself as an “emerging professional artist” – what does that mean?

I’ve been painting for a long time, since the late 1980s, and occasionally showing here and there, but I really didn’t know what I was doing.  This year, I’ve been taking a course on how to be a better professional artist.  I don’t want to go into the details about the course as I’m still in it, but this course has completely changed my thinking.  It’s been very difficult.  A real challenge!

Do you want to become a full-time professional artist?

There’s so much time being put into paintings and the course right now that I kind of am.  That’s OK, because I don’t watch TV and I don’t mess around on the internet much.  I have more time now that my kids are older.

I  have my day job as a software tester, which I still really enjoy doing, and of course my side hustle as an ambient musician and nature sound recorder.

It’s OK to go into ‘fantasy’ mode every now and then.  Yeah, I’d like to have a studio outside my home where I can go and make paintings or recordings.  That would be nice.  I’m working on it.

I’ve said for years that when I’m much older, I want to be the “old guy” at the pool, swimming laps in the morning.  I can’t really do that right now.  Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices once said in an interview that he has an “old guy schedule”, or something like that, because he’s old.  I liked that.


What about new sounds?  In 2018 you’ve released two albums, a long one called The Variations, and a short one called Salted Garden.

These are all experiments.  The Variations has tracks that are 20 and 30 minutes on it.  The point is to take the repetitive parts out to a more extreme area.  Salted Garden has 10 tracks in under 20 minutes – it’s easier to digest.

I have a lot more sounds sitting around, waiting to be released.  And I have loads of field recordings to process.

As you can see, I’m starting to use my paintings for album covers.  That’s all you’ll probably see in the future.  What do you call that?  Crossover marketing?  Something like that.




You Have To Think Less

I am reading All Gates Open: The Story of Can and there’s this section where Holger Czukay is talking:

[composer Karlheinz Stockhausen] taught me that as a creative person you will always eventually run up against a wall.  ‘Czukay, you think too much,’ Stockhausen said to me, and that’s it.  You have to think less.”

May 2018 Update by Mark Rushton

May 21, 2018 –

Mark Rushton ambient electronic music

Normally I have a high output for releasing new sounds, new paintings, and podcasts.  But as of the past couple months I’ve had some family, day job, and home issues that have taken up more of that creative time.  All that seems to be subsiding, and I’ve been working on new sounds and completing new paintings.

I have also been creating a new gallery for my paintings.  That should go live by mid June.  When it’s available I’ll issue a new podcast, an email newsletter, and maybe even a video about it.  The new gallery also doubles as a store, in case anybody wants to buy a painting, but it’s main function will be as a gallery for people to browse.

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Mark Rushton Posting Again

I switched web hosts and jettisoned everything, keeping the new site relatively minimal.  Now I’ve decided to start posting things occasionally.