An artist with a fiery touch, Marcus Dove works with explosives and uses their destructive powers to create. Having been shown by Saatchi Gallery and picked up regionally as a name to look out for, Emily Ann Harris caught up with him to find out what all the commotion was about.

Can you tell us a bit about your art practice?

Impactful. My most recent practice explores creation through acts of destruction.  Highly expressive, and sometimes explosive, I use pyrotechnics to create performance led paintings using a handmade electrical missile launcher, home-made gunpowder and also smoke grenades.

Making art is hard work. How did you find a starting point?

I wouldn’t say making art is hard work at all, I’ve seen 4 year old kids scribble down sausage bodied beings with some ease, it’s making a career out of it which is the biggest challenge.

After talking to my Grandad about war and conflict, I began to think about how the weapons used could be manipulated to instead breed art instead of hate. Pablo Picasso once said ‘’Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.’’ and this really resonated with me in relation to my current practice. So I casually built a missile launcher and combined it with other destructive tools in order to make art with.

And what is your motivation to keep forging forwards?

Necessity. I don’t do anything else, this is my life 7 days a week, Within my first year of graduating from DMU (Fine Art Degree) I was fortunately featured on the BBC News because of my artwork and also selected to show my work at Saatchi Gallery in London. I need to keep that level of progression up until I get to where I want to be.

What do you listen to in the studio?

Currently listening to ‘Takyon Goosebumps – Death Grips/Travis Scott Mashup’

But generally I listen to a wide range. Recently it’s been music from Russ to just 10 hour tracks of nothing but nature noises and thunder.

What’s your connection to Leicester? I studied at DMU, spent my first year studying Fashion Design until I realized it was too demanding for me so I transferred to Fine Art which came naturally to me, except for the research and written work, which is why I left with a 3rd. Not that the marking and final result even matters. Clearly

How do you think the city has supported your arts? Has it?

Yeahhh, The Summer Art Trail were the first people to catch on to what I was doing, when I won their competition last year they gave me residential access to a brand new studio space at StudionAme. Once the residency was over I decided to stay at StudionAme, which has now grown into the best art studios in Leicester. Facts. (

Where is your studio? And what’s the best thing about it?

StudionAme is on the outskirts of St.Matthews, Leicester and houses some of the most talented artists in the East Midlands, who are also commercially viable (after all, we like to get paid): Tim J Fowler, Jonjo Elliot, Catherine Howell & Indre Rimselyte are just a few out of 20+ other creatives.

Your great successes to date?

It’s a hard choice between Being commissioned to commemorate Baroness Doreen Lawrence, being featured on BBC News, doing a live performance for the Ghandi Family, being selected to show at Saatchi Gallery for the START Art Fair, 2017 and not being injured recently.

What kind of artist do you aspire to be?

One that doesn’t alienate the general public with conceptual jargon and pretentious descriptions about my inspirations. My art is for everyone to appreciate and will hopefully continue to stay that way.

What are your Future plans?

I have some new ‘weapons’ being developed in which I can work with, I’ve probably ended up on a watch list somewhere due to my internet research.

And whilst being at Saatchi Gallery in September for START Art Fair I spoke with gallery owners from Hong Kong, Taiwan and America regarding some form of international representation. So, fingers crossed.

Photography by Beth Walsh

Country bumpkin from down the road in Northamptonshire, Emily is a new face to the Leicester arts world - lover of all things creative, and interested in bridging the gap between the art world and the public sphere.

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