Dale vN Marshall's new exhibition draws inspiration from the time he spent painting and talking with teenagers in Edinburgh who live with conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, autism and circumstantial trauma.
Originally a graffiti artist who sprayed paint on the streets of Bristol under the tag 'Vermin’, Marshall was once sectioned in one of Britain's oldest psychiatric hospitals, St Lawrence's in Cornwall. He draws inspiration not only from his graffiti days, but also from his time at St Lawrence's and from his studio in a former Victorian workhouse in Wales, redolent of suffering and poverty.
In advance of the exhibition, Marshall arranged to work with performance poet, Jenny Lindsay and Edinburgh-based theatre company, The Acting Scene, in order to stimulate a shared experience and raise awareness of mental trauma. The emotions expressed were remarkable with the children commenting, we have to play roles in life to get by and I have a lot of thoughts but I’m afraid I’ll be put down. The concept of being listened to but not being heard was a strong component of Dale’s time with these teenagers. What they chose to reveal about their lives and Marshall’s own experiences come together to produce a powerful and emotional body of work.
Marshall’s multi-media work consists of a symbolic language of abstract expression, text and mark-making, using materials ranging from needles, threads, acrylic, wax crayons and watercolours as a language to tell his compelling story. This new body of work explores heavy mark making with elements from the children’s poetry and graffiti text, shining a light on our innermost thoughts and feelings.