“Art is the way in which I engage with and relate to the world. I think in visual aesthetic terms and need to draw in order to understand. Visual art – and illustration in particular – is a huge source of both comfort and stimulation, without which life would be a dry old experience.”
Name: Ed Merlin Murray
Art materials: A Rotring fountain pen and ink on paper and digital colour in Photoshop on a Mac. I’m also usually surrounded by a world of Japanese brush pens, liquid acrylics, spray paint, various pens, and pencils, bits of card and paper.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an English-sounding Scotsman who is most at home in the Orient. I’m currently living in the North of England with a pair of kids I made and a mad little terrier. Having followed a bit of an unorthodox path, I’ve come to professional illustration fairly recently, via picture framing and piano teaching. I’m self-taught, but have been drawing for my whole life. I grew up in an artistic family. My mother and sister are both professional painters and my father is a theater designer. When I’m not drawing, I play Lego with my kids and keyboards in a traditional local reggae band.
Where does your inspiration come from?
At the moment, my inspiration comes from a number of subjects which I am doing ongoing research on. One of the subjects includes mental illness. I myself am bipolar, and I’m really interested in the way this affects my thinking and drawing. Religion is another constant inspiration. I dabble in Bhakti Yoga and Buddhism myself, but I’m interested in the visual aspects of Catholicism too. Psychedelia, mysticism, and spirituality all inform my work too.
Is anything noteworthy you’ve discovered thus far in researching how bipolar disorder affects you in those areas?
Tell us about your creative process.
My creative process involves pretty much constant sketching and scribbling on whatever surface is closest. Anything of interest is then developed at my desk in pen and ink, and usually finished in Photoshop. Sometimes I complete pieces of work in real life, with a variety of inks and paint.
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