DMU grad's dramatic smoke grenade painting selected for exhibition at prestigious gallery

A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate who is making a name for himself with the dramatic use of smoke grenades and gunpowder to create his paintings has been chosen above more than 1,000 other artists to exhibit in a London gallery.

Marcus Dove entered a national competition to create art that reflects Britain in lockdown and his piece, called The Worst Lover You’ll Ever Have, has been selected to hang in the JD Malat Gallery, London, which specialises in contemporary art.

Marcus caught the attention of a panel of judges which included Young British Artist Gavin Turk, art auctioneer Simon De Pury and GQ editor Dylan Jones.

Now people are being asked to vote for their favourite of the 20 artists currently on display in the JD Malat Gallery, in an exhibition called Isolation Mastered, with the winner earning a sought-after solo exhibition in the capital.

Marcus, who graduated from DMU in 2018 and has a studio in Leicester, said: “This is massive for me. It is a real confidence boost. It is no secret that artists are incredibly self-critical and full of self-doubt and, in this time of isolation, a lot of artists worry their career could be gone like that.

MARCUS - marcus with painting

Marcus in his gallery alongside his painting

“To be told my work is worthy of appearing in a prestigious London gallery means a lot to me.”

Marcus’ artwork The Worst Lover You’ll Ever Have was inspired by relationships in lockdown.


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He said: “I think a lot of people who are being forced to spend more time with each other in their homes during lockdown leads to cracks starting to show in their relationship.

“People’s relationships are being tested both mentally and physically and it is no secret that domestic abuse cases are rising. I wanted to create something that showed the strains on relationships when people are confined with each other. In an ideal world people should stay together but life isn’t like that.

MARCUS - gallery

How the artwork is displayed in the gallery

“The use of smoke grenades was significant too. When the smoke grenade ignites and there are the first plumes of smoke there is a spark and an intensity, then there is a steady flow – like the honeymoon period – and then the smoke fades away and what is left on the canvas is the hazy memories of what that person used to mean to you.”

For Marcus, his artistic talents turned his life around. At the age of 19, he deliberately crashed a car into two police vehicles. He was facing possible jail time and he was advised by a solicitor to enrol on a course to show willing to make a better life for himself.

Marcus said: “Before I knew it, I'd avoided prison and was graduating from university with a BA in Fine Art and a MA in Creative Business & Innovation.”

As well as working from his studio in Leicester, Marcus also volunteers for Leicester charity Pedestrian.

MARCUS - with gallery owner

Marcus in front of his painting with gallery owner JD Malat 

He said: “It pioneers potential for 14-16 year olds who are either at risk, not in education, experiencing disadvantages or being socially excluded.

“At Pedestrian we aim to channel their creativity. A lot of the children have been excluded from school just like I was, so it makes sense for me to be there to support and show them how I've turned my life around too.

“I want people to know that if they are facing problems it isn’t the end of the world. If you face up to those problems there is a way out.”

Marcus's work has previously been exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery and at an exhibition in Hong Kong. While studying at DMU, Marcus was also commissioned to create a painting for Baroness Doreen Lawrence, who was university Chancellor at the time which he called '...And Still She Rises'.

You can vote for Marcus’s painting by following the link here and selecting 'The Worst Lover You'll Ever Have'.

Posted on: Monday 06 July 2020

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