Mark J Ratcliffe Art: Abstract Artist

Question: Can you tell us about yourself/your artistic background and education?

Artist: My name is Mark Ratcliffe, and I live in the North West of England. I am originally from Folkestone in Kent. I am married, and my hobbies include travel, photography, cooking, walking/hiking and anything that catches my eye creatively. 

I left university with a Business Degree (as that was a sensible option at the time) but Art has always been part of my life. I studied Art and Design at College and focused on Aboriginal and Japanese Art. I use many mediums including paint and clay. I ignited my creative flame again more recently over the last few years and explored what i wanted to do. It was amazing actually. I walked into a shop, purchased some art materials, and have never looked back since. Art is my therapy and creatively I know it brings me that option to just create and have fun, destress from everyday life and escape into a world that brings me hope and joy. 


Question: Can you take us through the process that you go through to complete your masterpieces?

Artist: I start by looking for inspiration. I’m inspired by many things but I mainly get my ideas when I am outside, walking my dog, being immersed in nature. I also get my inspiration from when I go overseas on holiday or when I watch artists on YouTube. Once I have an idea I like to explore what’s possible. I look at colour palettes and decide what colours I want to work with and once I’ve decided on that I think about the technique I want to use; there are so many with fluid art including the Dutch pour, Ring pour, Swipe Technique, Open Cup, Dirty Pour, String Pull Technique to name but a few. I love using a hair dryer to create my pieces and mainly lean towards the Dutch pour. I just love learning how to layer the paints on the canvas to create the design I want, incorporating techniques to create cells and lacing within the pieces. I will just say though things don’t always go  to plan. Numerous times I have scrapped the paint off the canvas; I didn’t like the composition, or the paints muddied too much, or the consistency from the paint wasn’t right. It’s actually quite a technical way of painting I don’t think people realise what goes into a piece in terms of planning and preparation. You can get really messy with this technique but that’s all part of the fun in creating a piece right?

Question: What is it about abstract that draws you to paint them?

Artist: What I love about abstract is the interpretation of that piece by the person looking at it. It’s always my first question to people when they look at my art “what do you see”. Sometimes the answers blow my mind. It facilitates me what and how people see things not only through their eyes but also the emotions and feelings they display. Art has no barriers and has so many “languages” it’s great to hear what people think. That is really special.  


Question: Throughout your time painting what has been the most important thing you have learnt?

Artist: Never stop having fun. As soon as the fun stops, it will become a chore. Art for me is about expression and interpretation. It’s also about having fun when you create a piece. At the end of the day it’s paint and the options are limitless with no boundaries. That’s what I would tell anyone if they are a new starter or an experienced artist. 


Question: Do you have any art influencers? If so what are they?

Artist: Abstract Fluid Art Seems to be becoming more popular now than ever. You see art shops selling more and more fluid art products. My main influences come from our online community. I am a huge fan, and now friend, of the very talented artists Rinske Douna from the Netherlands (who founded and created the Dutch Pour), Molly Leach from Molly’s Artistry in the USA (who creates such diverse and large gorgeous pieces) and Olga Soby who lives in Canada (who creates such fantastic pieces using funnels and other pouring techniques). I would say they have been my main influencers especially when I started my creative path. I am also influenced by any creative artist. I love how diverse this community can be and how with abstract art there really are no set rules. It’s all about creation, interpretation and dedication. 


Question: What makes a good day for you?

Artist: A good day for me is when I can go into my studio and have so many ideas and inspirations that I cant choose which technique or idea I want to try first. 


Question: Do you showcase or exhibit any of your work? If so, where can we find your work?

Artist: I’ve been really lucky that a gorgeous shop in Walkden called Clouds, has placed some of my pieces in their window. I mainly exhibit and showcase my work on my social media platforms and have a portfo: and I have also created a website that showcases my work and I also have some great reviews from customers on there from all over the world 

Question: What are your future plans, and how do you see your career as an artist’s developing?

Artist: I love that there are potentially many options. That’s exciting isn’t it? I’ve been approached to teach some classes to people who want to explore fluid art more, so that would be great. For me at the moment, I’m building up my YouTube channel because I can continue to showcase how I make my creations on there, it’s accessible to a wide audience and it helps to reach people outside of the region I  live in. I love to be able to connect with various people form all over the world. I’d also like to continue collaborating with other artists creatively as that really inspires me to push myself and move out of my comfort zone. I’m also looking to move into a larger studio that will enable me to focus on bigger pieces of art, as I will need the space to create. I feel very excited about the future.