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  • Writer's pictureCOY! Communications


Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Shirley Denton went ballistic. Back in 1964, Shirley was little Marky Denton’s Mum. You can’t blame her for her reaction really - her loving son had knocked over ALL the furniture in the hall. Simultaneously, he had also removed the entire family’s shoelaces from their shoes and knotted them together to form a crude, yet ARTISTIC interpretation of a cobweb… that’s when it all started, Mark’s insatiable desire to influence his world.

He blamed it on his favourite TV show ‘The Addams Family’ - They lived in a haunted house… why couldn’t he? - and for the next 50 years scribbled daily designs of his latest obsessions, trying to answer the big, important questions for himself like, ‘what would Marlon Brando have looked like as a Bus Driver? What if there was a war between Express Dairies and United Dairies? Could common, garden-variety birds invent and play football? What if the nudie mags he found in the woods were discovered by curious woodland creatures? HOW did those mags get there in the first place? And what on EARTH were they for?’

Fast-forward a few years, and a young, teenage Mark was designing his own knitwear, press-ganging his aunty into knitting his designs and proudly strutting his stuff around Peckham. Yet this was still just the start… Advertising seemed to be the perfect career for young Mark: all his fantasies could come alive, and be on the telly! How totally satisfying. But (despite travelling all over the world and creating some of the most celebrated campaigns in ad land), it wasn’t enough… in meetings, Mark was still scribbling - ‘What sort of grave would encourage people to dance on it? What would fruit look like if it was sentient… and evil? What WERE those nudie mags doing in the goddamn woods?’

Soon, his small, basement bachelor-flat fell victim to his creative flow. Transformed into a fabulous stately home, populated with custom-made “cartoon” furniture, furnishings, rugs, wallpaper, carpets, light-fittings and bed-linen featuring his personal logo, the ‘£’ sign. The kitchen cupboards were piled high with pyramids of Heinz tomato soup tins, painstakingly re-labelled with his own fantasy brand, “Sprote”, which bore the repeated motif of his own face.

Before long he found that his flights of fancy, begun to impact his real life in ways he never would have imagined: his own spot on a Japanese TV show; a living exhibit in the National Football Museum; importing a World Championship Mexican-Wrestling match to London’s Leicester Square (a National first)….

His artistic output was displayed in the V&A, the RA and the Saatchi Gallery, it all seemed to be coming together…

His creative adventures on paper have continued at such a pace that they now reside in a dozen filing cabinets. Most have never been realised or seen by a wider audience.


Mark has delved into his archives and plucked out some of his favourites.The collection is a combination of ideas that have been made manifest (like his celebrated, ‘Interpretation of Mod Transportation’) and many others now revealed for the first time, (like his collection of bubblegum cards of superheroes from a parallel universe).

Everything in the show has been elevated from the original, naive, 'scribbles of an enthusiastic fantasist’ into limited-edition combination screen-prints, superimposed on original paintings.

“And why is the collection called the The Shit Show?”, It’s not shit. It’s Mark’s shit. It happens daily, there’s no holding it back. It’s nature.

Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti

THE SHIT SHOW - from the 2nd Feb to 26th Feb

Jealous Gallery, 53 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PT


Opening Night - Thursday 2nd February from 18.30-20.30


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