From an early age helping out at his family’s disco two nights a week, Mark Wigan became submerged in urban youth subcultures, music and fashion. Inspired by these lively environments, Wigan has maintained a continual fascination in club culture paired with an “obsessive drawing” habit. This has led him onto his growing success as a renowned contemporary artist, writer and educator. Described as a “multimedia celebrity in Japan”, his work is recognised internationally and exhibited across the globe.
His approach to graphic art is as direct as it is spontaneous. His use of symbols, icons and social and cultural hieroglyphics are sharp and colorful. There is a true sense of movement, energy and playfulness that spark from his illustrations; ranging in scale from small sketchbook drawings to the walls of four-floor high murals in London Limelight clubs, who Andy Warhol described as “HOT”, leading on to a commission from Warhol to paint New York’s Limelight club.
After completing his degree in the 80s, he began to gain recognition by producing illustrations and becoming a roving reporter for street style bible in i-D and NME magazine, where he would take Polaroid pictures in clubs and interview DJs in New York, Tokyo and Vienna. As a freelance illustrator and self-employed graphic artist, he was involved in the music industry designing CD covers and music videos.
In Japan, he has his own chain of art-to-wear merchandise shops. More recently, he is designing merchandise for Dr Martens including boots and shoes and backpacks, belts and other accessories. On the side, he is producing emoji designs for the Japanese app ‘Line’ and lecturing on the Illustration degree course at Hull School of Art and Design. He has been lecturing for 18 years now at different universities around the UK including Camberwell, Central St. Martins and Salford University and has published a series of six books about illustration.
In Hull, he has been curating and running The Museum of Club Culture, down Humber Street, since 2010 in partnership with Kerry Baldry. The museum is currently located at Bond 31, 42 High Street Hull and is open weekends. It acts as a hub for local, national and international talent that showcases multi-media exhibitions that comment on present night-club cultures and how they play a role in shaping modern culture around the world. READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH MARK IN OUR DIGITAL MAGAZINE BELOW