Mach Goes Commando – fine artist inspired by comics he grew up with

Commando inspired art by David Mach. © David Mach

Commando inspired art by David Mach. © David Mach

Fresh from major book assaults on Hong Kong and New York, DC Thomson’s Commando books supply the ammunition for fine artist David Mach, who currently has an exhibition at the Lochgelly Centre in Lochgelly, Fife.

The work featured is inspired by Commando, the comics of David’s youth.

“They are not just based on them, they actually use bits of Commando books,” he told Fife Today. “Really it comes from doing collage – I spent many years making collage in all sorts of varieties and shapes.

“I started collecting the magazines, ripping them up and filing them under things like explosions, seascapes, deserts, jungles.

“That was the beauty of the Commando magazines, you could go from the Sahara Desert in one story to the jungles of Borneo in the next. I started filing all this stuff and made things like beach scenes out of it.”

Commando books, they were a big part of my cultural youth, along with a huge bunch of other comics, books and cartoons produced by DC Thomson,” the artist told The Courier newspaper. “I think I was really affected by the drawing. The quality of the drawing in all of these comics and publications was really high.

“DC Thomson’s artists were of an exceptionally high calibre,” he added. “That company went to a lot of bother to produce their comics… they were inspirational and are still inspirational now.”

Working with a huge variety of mass-produced objects, including tyres, bricks, match heads and coathangers, Mach, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1988, has established a reputation as one of Britain’s best-loved and iconic artists.

From Polaris, a recreation of a nuclear submarine made from 6,000 car tyres outside London’s Hayward Gallery in 1983 in protest against the nuclear arms race, to his brick ‘Train’, built near Darlington. Mach’s work is bold, witty and technically accomplished.

In 2010 Mach, who joined the Royal Academy of Arts as Professor of Sculpture in 2000, announced his most ambitious project to date. Inspired by its 400th anniversary in 2011 Mach is exploring the language, stories and legacy of the King James Bible in a variety of media.

Mach Goes Commando runs until Thursday 10th October at Fifespace, Lochgelly Centre:

• Official web site:

David Mach on Facebook

Categories: Classic British Comics, Comic Art, Exhibitions

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