Sarcusnevarc aka Marcus Craven gives us an insight on his amazing artwork in this interview below with Guy Jones, where he chats about his animation for Jim Craven’s SEVEN video, Brian Wenning, The Office and his current project Photosynthesis which is will be playing at Sean Lomax’s ‘Cottonopolis Video’ Premiere this Friday in Manchester. See below for a ton of great imagery produced by Marcus himself!
Interview by: Guy Jones
Could you start off by telling us what your preferred medium is to work with and if this has always been the case?
I use a variety of mediums, anything from Tombow pens to Blackwing pencils. My all-time favorite medium is a handheld airbrush which I like to call ‘the ol’ single barrel pump action sharpie rifle’. It’s a clamp with a pump and you attach it onto a pen. When you squeeze the pump it blows the nib of the pen onto the paper, resulting in a spray paint or ‘airbrushed’ effect. It’s really fun and has the same effect of squeezing a stress ball. I received it as a birthday present when I was a kid but it was too difficult to use. I rediscovered it when i was in college and have used it ever since.
Aside from illustration, you’ve progressed to animation. Could you describe this process to us please, I imagine it being at least time consuming.
First, I convert a piece of footage into a gif. Then I convert each frame into ‘jpg’s and print them. Next, I use a lightbox to trace the images. The following step is to scan the drawings into a computer and finally; layering them back up in the correct order resulting in a sequence. The style or detail depict how long they take to make. It can be a matter of minutes or a matter of months, the best thing is they all feel satisfying when you press play.
Val wanted to have the raw footage in the video but Jim wasn’t having any of it and rightly so. It was grim.
He landed on his head from a hefty drop. Although he got knocked unconscious he was tripping, crying out and making scary noises. A few days later, after a stint in hospital, he was skating Platt fields and he told me he hallucinated a 10 hour trip. This is what I tried to recreate. For some reason when editing the animation I didn’t think to turn off the sound, so heard it hundreds of times. As I type this it haunts me haha.
A pissed up chinwag with Jim about skate VHS’s and the penny dropped; (pun intended). Homage-ing Arto Saari’s slam in Flip ‘Sorry’, we concluded to include Vals slam through animation. ‘Muchos tequilas later’ and now reflecting on Evan Hecox’s introductions in YEAH RIGHT; I was inspired to do one for everyone.
As far as picking which ones to recreate; Jim lent me a 16gb memory stick shaped like a vx1000 full of footage. Any of the clips would have worked well because of Jim’s handy work behind the lens and the crew he films are extremely creative.
What were some of the highlights from living in the SEVEN house?
The first night I moved was a great introduction. We all slid down the stairs in sleeping bags. Jim with a safety first attitude hilariously wore a helmet.
The kitchen table would often get converted into a Ping-Pong table with a skateboard as the net. In between rallies, Joe (O’Donnell) used to DJ and throw magnetic darts sideways at a magnetic dart board.
The front room was an interesting place which went through many transformations. For a while, it was a cinema with rows of sofas which was class. Then it turned into something which was described by Craig Questions as the ‘Sofa Museum’. It was then Gelly’s (James Gell) bike garage and finally Keanus Robson’s bedroom and creative space.
Uri Gelly’s (James Gell) bike dungeon was pretty impressive, he had about 30-40 bikes sardined in the basement which he would would come in very handy when guests stayed. He is also an absolute expert in making a fire happen. We would have regular bonfires in the backyard and once after a night out on the town, we were accompanied by Manchester’s fire department as the flames were large and almost set the back wall and tree on fire.
The rent in that place was so cheap but it came at a cost, due to its age and poor craftsmanship. Regularly you could hear Neil (Worthington) yelling because chunks of the ceiling in his room were breaking and falling off, once narrowly missing his head.
Living in a place like that, with so many personalities you would pick up on strange behaviors. One of the most notable was Ben’s (Rowles) desire to put lettuce on his pizzas before putting them in the oven. It would always come out weird and soggy, but he continued to cook them in this fashion. Regardless, he’s a true gent, all round lej and knows how to take a whooping on FIFA!
We would often have the pleasure of Tom Day staying with us and out of the many places to sleep; his first choice was this tiny cupboard at the top of the stairs on the third floor that had just about enough space for three stacked mattresses’. Again the ceiling was caving in and the room had a sensational foisty whiff most likely asbestos.
Foz (James Foster) moved into the ‘mental asylum room’. Possibly the most mysterious room in the house. It was located on the third floor. Halfway down the corridor between the cupboard Tom (day) slept in and Gelly’s room. It was the only bedroom in the house with a sink and the only room in the house with a wired smash-proof glass window; which met the corridor and was a general invitation to spectate. The room didn’t have a natural source of light and may have been where Frankenstein was engineered. Fortunately for Foz, I think he installed a mini curtain for privacy. It was fun living with a caffeinated Foz who is very passionate about animals, most notably bats. As part of his job, he looks after protected species. Sometimes he rescued injured bats and would take care of them overnight. He would let them fly around his room.
There are so many stories and many great individuals that lived there. SEVEN will always be a quality reminder of our time and productivity whilst living in that house.
You’ve started printing T-shirts through the name Sarcusnevarc, does the anagram alias allow you to be any cheekier/feel like a cult hero? I did it for a bit and felt like the dogs!
It gives me the power to be a sarcastic artist and if anyone wants to join my new cult, it’s called sarcartism. The manual starts at the low cost of only $49.95!
Your Wenning design is incredible and made it to the big man himself! How did you get in contact with him? Have you or will you meet in person?
Much appreciated! I received a phone call from Cinch (Daniel Cintra) one day saying he had posted one of my Photosynthesis T-shirts on Facebook and Wenning wrote a comment asking if I could send a few out to him in New Jersey. A month or so later Street league was held from NJ. Wenning (almost unheard of at this point in his hiatus), turns up obviously the MVP and wearing the shirt. I was super stoked. So I gotta give big thanks to Cinch for making it happen.
I haven’t met him in person but some of my friends from York chilled with Wenning at The Works when he was on a DC shoe’s tour years ago. He was injured and hung with my mates Adam and Blacko. They said he was really down to earth and chatted with them the whole time. They asked him where he got those ultra baggy sand wash jeans he was rinsing throughout his part of the DC video. Then Blacko went and bought the same ones and all his footage had this almost Wenning filter on it.
A lot of your work seems inspired by 90’s East coast skating, especially Wenning and Pappalardo Photosynthesis era, in fact seemingly all of Photosynthesis. What attracts you to this era and style and what makes it so special and would you ever animate entire parts? I know that must be super long.
When my mum bought my first setup I remember the Photosynthesis VHS staring at me from inside the glass cabinet. At the time I had no idea what it was. The box was glowing and pulsating and I was intrigued. I wasn’t cheeky enough to ask for it and I craved watching it for years before finally buying it off eBay when I was in college. It was a complete game changer. I had no idea that it would be full of Love Park footage. Prior to this back in high school my mate Tony lent me On Video’s Winter 2004: The Love Saga. This heartbreaking story and all the amazing pros that skated there got me hooked on Love Park footage. Now with the recent demolition and sabotage productions I’m having to relive the trauma.
I love the late 90’s-early 2000 vibe. I really enjoy drawing baggy clothes and bulky DC Lynx’. I doubt I would ever animate an entire part unless it was someone like Tim O’Connor or Gino as their parts are usually short compact with quality.
You also produce a fair bit of double exposure photographs some homaging Mindfield, could you show us your favourites with a bit of context behind each photo?
Is there anything you’ve wanted to animate that is just too hard or inappropriate?
I claimed one day I would animate a full episode of the British sitcom ‘The Office’. I was completely obsessed by it for years. I’d watch it on repeat and sit there drawing scenes out. Even when I wasn’t watching it I’d just have it on as background noise. I would love to continue with it one day. I have quite a few bits drawn out but decided to shelf it for the time being. I also discontinued a project titled ‘On The Road To Dirty Sanchez’ featuring the legendary Ryan Paul ‘Swainerz’ Swain.
Foz told me that you all had this massive jigsaw puzzle and one night you couldn’t sleep and just finished in the early hours of the morning. Does this happen a lot or similar situations where you seem maybe transfixed on finishing something?
Haha! The Premier of SEVEN was about 2 weeks away. Hardly any of the animations were close to completion. It was mid-January and I had lost the definition between night and day. I stumbled upon a 1100 piece Spacejam jigsaw. I woke up at 3am a couple of nights after starting it and went to finish it. What can I say I procrastinate. I’m sure it added to the pressure Jim was under but it’s all part of the creative process haha.
You seem to highlight aspects of your personality outside of skateboarding, including hip hop, Mancunian music and various comedies. Could you give a few examples of zines and work you’ve produced outside of the skateboarding world?
I made a Zine called Mancunians Musicians Words. Mancunians have tendencies to say hilarious quotables in interviews.
I made a few zines of Ricky Gervais’ ‘The Office’ (these are the stepping stones towards the animation) ones called ‘He Says; Do I Not Drink’ and the other ‘The Cookie Jar’ I plan to revisit some football related animations I have worked on in the past.
Are you working on any projects/exhibitions at the moment?
I have been developing my understanding of animation through a project called ‘Photosynthesis’. It’s a tribute to debatably the most influential skate videos of all time. Though much time has been dedicated so far, there are many a legend within the lineup to pay homage to. I will be showcasing the edit this Friday 1st March alongside Sean Lomax’s new full feature film The Cottonopolis Video and would love to see you all there!
Massive thank you to the legendary and talented Marcus Craven!