I met visual artist Martin Thornton at the wonderful Super Super Super event for London Fashion Week. I was drawn to his work because of the loud, bold gloriously tack aesthetic of his collection “Fake As Fuck”. The idea of taking fake luxury designer items and not only turning them into unique pieces of art, but a tongue ‘n’ cheek social commentary – had me at first sight. We asked Martin for a quick sit down to discuss international shows, inspirations, and the changing face of East London.
What was your introduction to Pop Art and why did you choose that style for your work?
I have always been drawn towards it growing up in the 60’s, it was out there couldn’t imagine myself any other style really.
Do you have any artists you particularly admired that inspired you?
Molly Parkin, Andrew Logan, Duggie Fields and of course, Warhol.
Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki and actress Joanna Lumley are among your patrons, did you connect over a shared love of 60s aesthetic?
No nothing to do with the 60’s. Barbara is really forward thinking and puts all her past glory behind her Biba etc. I met Barbara from an Introduction from Molly Parkin. I did some interior design work with her. Joanna Lumley has a rosary necklace I made her with her character Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.
You currently have work showing in Moscow, Hong Kong, Beverly Hills, and Seoul. How did you engage an international audience for your work?
Bit of old information here. Update my work is currently showing at Arusha Arts Mumbai, New Delhi, Los Angeles and Ibiza.
Why did you choose the name Fake as Fuck for your collection? Is it a big middle finger to the art scene or the world in general?
No not at all I don’t do middle fingers it’s too angry. My cousin bought a fake bag from Turkey. I wrote on it fake as fuck in a sharpie, this is how it was born.
You live and work in London’s East End. How have you seen the landscape of your local area change over the years and has that affected your work?
I am beyond thrilled with the landscape in Stratford. They are opening a caz art at Westfield so it’s going to be quick and easy for supplies when inspired for some new piece.
If you had any advice for young British artists just starting out, what would it be?
Get used to rejection kids, not everyone will like what you do, it’s part and parcel of being an artist. Keep knocking on doors of opportunity, when one opens get in, that’s the easy part. It’s staying there is the graft.
What do you think the future of the British art scene holds?
I haven’t got a crystal ball but I assume we will carry on the way we carry on.
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