Marcus Oakley


Marcus’ Story
Marcus Oakley is a graphic artist living and working in Dunfermline, Scotland. Since graduating with a degree in Fine Art and Graphic Design Marcus has worked for fashion icon Paul Smith and created his own design and illustration studio working on projects including book illustration, textile design, product design and packaging. Marcus loves the “fuzzy and foggy” overlap of Illustration, Art and esign so goes by the job title, Graphic Artist. He loves that drawing has the potential to be anything and can be interpreted in 2D, 3D or even sonically.

Multi-disciplinary design… What’s that?
I graduated from Camberwell College of Arts with a degree in Fine Art & Graphic design. It was a multidisciplinary degree and I was able to study many aspects of art and design including type-setting & letterpress, typography, silkscreen printing, video art, book making, conceptual art, painting, illustration & graphic design.

But how do you choose a job with all those skills?
After graduation I thought it would be a good idea to work in a design studio. I was fortunate that after two months of graduation (and three really tough interviews) I was offered a position as a t-shirt & textile designer at Paul Smith. I mostly worked on menswear and sometimes women’s and childrenswear lines. It was huge change from my years at Camberwell, I had to learn very quickly! It was hard work but I was also lucky to be able to travel on research trips to Paris, New york and Tokyo.

Paul Smith was a fascinating company to work for and I learnt so much about working in the creative industries. After three years of designing hundreds & hundreds of t-shirt and textile designs I was ready to do my own thing. So in 2000 I left to pursue a career as a Graphic Artist and to spend more time on my personal art practice. I’ve been working for myself ever since.

Keep the creativity flowing.
I am constantly thinking and daydreaming. Its so important to making and keep making, draw and keep drawing. For illustration projects I usually work with pen and computer and for personal projects I like to use anything I can get my hands on… paper, cardboard, wood, pens, pencil, brushes, paint, ink, hammer, nails and glue. It’s fun to play with random materials and it’s important for me to keep moving forward, looking for the melody and harmony in my work.

Find the people who will support your journey.
At school and college I was very fortunate to have supportive teachers and family who saw I was very genuine in my interest in art & design. I think without this support it would have been much harder for me to thrive in a subject I enjoyed so much and still continue to enjoy today.

Challenges keep things exciting.
I’m happy to make mistakes, explore, look around the corners to question, deconstruct and resemble. Its part of the creative process and part of the fun.

Any advice?
Keep on keeping on!