Voyage Maison Celebrate Artist Day
Today (25 Oct) is International Artist’s Day, a day that marks the huge contribution artists make to society. It is also a day that gives us an opportunity to reflect on the artists who have helped make our world beautifully better. As such, we thought it would be pertinent to catch up with one of our resident artists and designers, Martin McBride. A Glaswegian, Martin has been at Voyage for just over two years and may well be the hand behind some of your favourite designs.
Meet Our Designer Martin
Have you always worked as an Artist?
When I first graduated, I worked for Timorous Beasties (Glaswegian textile and design studio), a largely office-based role, but I got involved with some creative parts of the studio. Additionally, I did freelance design and eventually took a position at the Edinburgh College of Art for a year as a studio assistant. After that, I joined the Voyage Maison team as a designer.
Where did you study?
Initially, I studied Sculpture at Grays school of art, but it wasn’t the course for me. I discovered I thrived in a project-based environment. Sculpture was all too loose-ended. So after pressing pause on Sculpture, I took a few years out, after which I went to Edinburgh College of Art to study Textiles.
Textiles is a very varied degree, full of opportunities to be creative and to hone certain skills. It can be very illustrative or focused on digital; it can be fabric-based or you can work with surface patterns or wall paper. I loved how much I got to use my hands, as it’s a very tactile degree.
When did your love of art begin?
At nursery or school, I always gravitated towards art. I was always drawing, and my parents often took me to art galleries. We were frequently in after school clubs or Sunday school where we got lots of opportunities to draw. Being creative was just always a part of life, and I knew it was the world I wanted to be in - I just didn’t know how to channel it.
Whilst I was still at school I got really into fashion. My initial fascination came from the brands, but eventually I was more interested in the overall aesthetic rather than the garments. Fashion is so much more than just garment design; it’s construction, it’s colour, it’s fabric. I think these elements led me to Sculpture, but I forgot my main love was drawing.
Do you have a favourite artist?
He’s not very Voyage, but my favourite artist is Ken Curry, a Glasgow-based artist who does a lot of abstract and dark art. If he was doing an exhibition, I would be queuing to see his work. Of course, I like the classics too, particularly Wassily Kandinsky and Egon Schiele.
Tell me about a piece of art that particularly moved you?
A few years ago, I went to the Venice Biennale, an incredible art festival in Italy. An American film artist called Bill Viola who had taken a small church in Venice and had installed screens all along the room. So when you went in, it was like you were walking through water. The sounds and the visuals in such a small space are hard to describe, but it was incredible to be there, surrounded by people, the video, and the sound. It was a jaw-dropping moment.
What is an average day like at Voyage for you and the design team?
Well, no two days are the same. It’s fair to say that when we’re working on a new collection, you spend a good chunk of your day painting and working on new designs.
What’s your process when working on a new range?
When we start a new range, we always begin with a theme or a concept - maybe it’s a Japanese painting, or a particular art movement. There are 6 of us in the studio, so we all go away and do our own research: pulling reference books, using Pinterest and other resources. With that information, we can start to put together mood boards and palettes, coming together as a team to discuss our various inspirations or relevant artists.
After that initial phase, we begin to paint or draw, constantly reviewing as we go. We all work very collaboratively, and we will often sit in the studio together, painting and drawing, commenting and reviewing. I really do love this side of the process, as everyone comes from such different angles. It’s also great that Ian collaborates with us too. Ian’s known our customers for over 20 years, so he gives us a lot of direction and always feeds in with concepts and ideas. At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer, so we value his input.
Why are artists important to Voyage Maison?
At its core, Voyage is very much about artistic expression. It’s about creating something in the marketplace that is beautifully painted, beautifully put together with love and affection, by people who want to create accessible and stunning pieces for homes. Our customers can have a lovely cushion or a throw, which brings something very artistic, handmade and skillful, into their homes. Voyage has a really rich history of brilliant artists and designers, which means our customers really can have wonderful pieces of art in their own homes.
I would really encourage our customers to be bold and to be playful with all our ranges. Don’t be afraid of colour or mixing patterns, just be yourself and take what you love from any of the ranges. We put a lot of creativity into the products, but all our customers can have their own creative journey with the pieces they purchase. I hope that our customers enjoy the process of styling their homes, and the Voyage products, as much as we enjoy making them.
For more behind the scene stories and style tips read our blog here, or keep an eye on our socials at @voyage_maison. We always love to see how you bring our artwork to life within your home.