Artist Mark forges a new Allianz with design commission success

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Loughbrickland artist Mark Revels is celebrating his success in being chosen to design and make the 2014 Allianz Arts & Business Awards.

Mark’s journey to being selected for this prestigious role was filled with several ‘sliding doors’ moments. The first one came as he was completing his first solo show at Down Arts Centre, in August.

“I was due to go on holiday to Greece, but heard that international sculptor Brendan Jamison was coming to view my work one day after I planned to leave,” Mark explains.

It was a difficult decision to make and one which understandably caused a little trouble with Mark’s partner, but he decided to cancel the holiday.

It turned out to be a good call as Brendan was so impressed with Mark’s work that he recommended Allianz Arts & Business to consider Mark when looking for an artist to design their awards - a commission they usually give to a local artist or company.

“There were three rounds to the tender,” said Mark. “Firstly I was asked to submit a two- dimensional design just before Halloween, which was considered along with all the other tenders.”

This too would turn out a twist of fate, for although Mark had submitted his 2D designs, he struggled to make the deadline for a written submission due to a family illness.

“I was under alot of pressure to get the written submission completed and wondered should I just leave it and try again next year but then I thought - Why not? Just go for it” said Mark.

“I was then told I’d been shortlisted along with three others”.

“Next I had to attend a presentation whereby I had to prepare my portfolio of work and be able to talk through the design and concept of my design.

“ I had to appear in front of the CEO of Arts and Business, along with the Events and Administration Manager and one of the awards sponsors.”

Throwing in a little bit of humour so things didn’t get too serious, Mark impressed the judges sufficiently to win the commission.

“When I received the phone call I just yelled with excitement. There have been some big names associated with the making of the awards in the past - I believe Tyrone Crystal and Bellek Pottery were some of their past designers, as well as many other successful artists still operating on a high level in the Uk and Ireland, and some further a field.

“Firstly, I was over the moon to be recommended for the tender and to then be shortlisted was an achievement, but to actually get selected was beyond belief.”

The theme for this year’s awards was Classical/Contemporary and Mark came up with ideas for the design after two 10-hour days of googling, mulling, doodling and sketching, until he finally decided on an architectural idea made from ceramic.

With 17 to complete just before the end of December, Christmas shopping is no longer a top priority for Mark. Usually last minute to buy his presents Mark said this year, bizarrely, he had started early.

He is confident about completing the pieces in time, as he feels sometimes the more work you have the quicker you become, but he says he is just a little bit concerned about the moment you put the work into the kiln.

“Sometimes when the work goes into the kiln there is a rogue bubble that can burst and break the other pieces near-by, but other than that I feel I’m on target.”

The finished work will be displayed in the 2014 awards ceremony in February.