Mark Essen’s practice is driven by a commitment to collaborative, innovative and cooperative ways of working. Interested in communities and histories, and in the principles of Degrowth – the political and social movement based on ecological economies – he set up Modern Clay, a pottery studio and social enterprise in Digbeth, Birmingham in 2017. Besides providing space and resources for artists, Modern Clay offers workshops for children, young people, refugees, homeless people, and the wider community. For British Art Show 9, Essen has created a pilot programme for an art school of otherness within the setting of Wolverhampton School of Art.
Mark Essen (born 1984, Redhill) lives and works in Birmingham. Essen studied at Birmingham City University and the Royal College of Art, London.
There’s a lot of everyday creativity that we don’t recognise – it’s that notion of having material around and being able to pick it up and assemble/construct it in such a way that it does something.
– Mark Essen