London Artists Ep. 1 - Marie Theresa Crick
Updated: Jul 25, 2021
"London Artists" is Within London's series of interviews with the capital's most effervescent, fascinating, and passionate creatives. Let's get to know their captivating personalities while exploring the greatest city in the universe through their life stories. Ready?
London Artists Ep. 1 - Marie Theresa Crick aka MTC Digital Creative
I was born in Croydon, and as much as I have moved away, I keep coming back, as many of my friends have. My heart is full of love for this part of London and its community. I enjoy mapping London by walking routes between galleries and photoshoots/film bookings as part of my business MTC Digital Creative.
I am always drawn back to contemporary art platforms in London, after studying my Masters at Goldsmiths University; I hope to apply for my PhD soon as part of the Film and Screen Media department at Birkbeck.
Marie Theresa Crick walking through Liz West’s artwork that was installed in Duke of York Square as part of Kensington + Chelsea Art Week after a headshot session in South Kensington. (Photo by Alanna Harte)
Who are you?
I am a freelance photographer, videographer, film/art tutor, digital marketing consultant, and writer, based in Croydon. I founded MTC Digital Creative to bring all my passions under one roof, with 15 years of experience in creative roles within the education sector and beyond.
I picked up my first camera aged three, when my voyage into the creative world began after being inspired by the darkroom at the nan's house (which was in place of an indoor toilet). My desire for all things contemporary art grew when my uncle, who is an artist, John Murphy and Avis Newman gave me my first sketchbook in their Islington house, when I was a very young child.
I have a Fine Art Degree and a Masters in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths University. My passion for photography extends from event photography, documentary stills, animal portraits, headshots, and producing content to effectively communicate varied marketing briefs. I have worked for the education sector, charities, independent companies, and individual commissions. I have taken part in collaborative projects with other photographers, local communities, academics, and explorers across the world.
I enjoy meeting other creatives, especially those in the film world, recently I took headshots for a Croydon actor who has starred in 'The Crown', 'Mangrove', 'Rogue One' and 'Skyfall' and a London film sculptor who has worked on 'Prometheus', 'Star Wars' and the 2012 London Olympic Closing Ceremony to name a few. Recent film projects have included working with an ethical designer bag company, The Morphbag by GSK, and a yoga platform, Yoga with Alex Elinson. The latter took me to some beautiful locations in London, including Alexandra Palace, to create content. As the lockdown continues I am only able to do website work and virtual teaching but I am excited for future projects.
Being creative underpins and weaves together all I do. The pandemic has certainly been challenging; the almost complete disappearance of event photographing (past events took me all around London and Surrey; events at the Oxo Tower, Westminster Abbey, Royal Air Force Club, Brick Lane, Parliament, National Trust Chartwell, and many others) has meant redirecting much of my time. This led to a return to my roots of art school and the studio practice of just creating; channeling my passion which feels more urgent during these times.
Fighting through everything endometriosis has thrown at me, from three surgeries, being completely bed-bound and many ambulance rides and hospital stays during a pandemic, I have a deeper passion to follow my creative path, wherever it will take me. Writing helped me to think through all that happened, and allowed me to meet the amazing community on my other Instagram account @on_pause_endo. Creating for me threads together, my own practice of making films, writing, photographing, reading, and even sharing Lego builds on Instagram! I love sharing all this with others.
Animal Portraits -Through photoshoots with clients and their pets, I capture eye-catching action shots and pop-vibrant pet portraits with parts of the fur digitally painted to create painting-like images.
What’s your first memory of London?
My first memory of London is rollerblading around Crystal Palace Park as a very young child. I was absolutely mesmerised by the Victorian dinosaurs.
When have you decided London is the place to be? (Why here and not anywhere else?)
Half my family, who are Irish, moved to Luton from the Republic of Ireland and after a lot of travel, which included living in Austria, my mother settled in Croydon.
I think I realised that London was the place for me too, when I moved away to West Sussex and always felt so sad when I saw London moving away from me on the train. I really longed for London, with its art galleries, BIMI cinema, architecture, city parks, people, amazing food, and buzz. I also really missed the spirit and community of Croydon, from places like The Store, Yumn, Dutchie, The Ship (there were no metal bars I could find near Arundel!), The Dog and Bull, and many other places. Walking around London and discovering new places is one of my favourite things to do. The only thing I miss is being close to the sea, West Witterings is incredibly beautiful and peaceful, as is Arundel with the River Arun. I cannot wait to travel around again after this lockdown.
What are the 3 worst & 3 best things about London?
Best: 1. Art galleries. 2. Architecture. 3. People and being able to be yourself.
Worst: 1. Seeing the damage by the fires in Croydon during the 2011 London riots. 2. Hearing the reputation Croydon has, I think often the positive sides of the community here are missed. 3. Can't think of anything else...
What makes London so special for you, Marie?
I feel London is where my roots are; how strong my desire is to return to it after travelling makes me realise how special it is for me. I have this deep happiest stir inside me whenever I see London appear in an airplane window or through the window of a train. It has been hard to see the centre of London so empty during the lockdowns. I miss dancing at mental clubs like The Ship in Croydon or Cro bar in Soho or drinking cocktails at The Store or throwing paper airplanes around in Murder Inc.
Do you love living in London? Why?
As I don't drive, I love the ease of getting around. I love learning how to navigate the city in new ways, from buses, trains, the tube, or walking. It never fails to surprise.
Have you ever considered leaving London? Why?
I moved away a few years ago to be with loved ones but I left my heart in London. I lasted 9 months and I was back again.
What do you absolutely love about London?
Art Galleries, the variety of amazing food places and bars and the culture from theatres, to metal hangouts like Garlic and Shots, to the buzz of Soho (pre-pandemic) and the fact anything seems possible. I always feel excited travelling around London, as it feels like it is always ready to surprise you, from being invited to a film premiere with a friend, in a Soho hotel cinema by Barrington de la Roche and his partner, starring the former to meeting new people and learning their stories. I cannot wait for these things to be possible again.
London feels like it is ready and waiting. It makes me sad that places like the Florence Nightingale museum are having to close, and shows like the 'Francis Bacon: Man and Beast' at the Royal Academy are being postponed. I send all my love to art and hospitality places during this difficult time.
Favourite London Hidden Gems (Top 3)
1. Dutchie - Caribbean restaurant in Croydon
2. KÖNIG London - This is one of my favourite galleries because, from the street view, you have no idea what to expect. I love the feeling of anticipation whilst going down the stairs to the under ground gallery space. The recent Chiharu Shiota exhibition was fantastic, I have loved the artist since experiencing work at a Venice Biennale.
3. Kyoto Garden - I loved walking around this garden and Holland park in 2020 as part of Kensington + Chelsea Art Week to find 'The Earth of Majesty, This Seat of Mars' by Barnaby Barford.
What makes you tick?
🔴 Walking around London and Art Galleries.
🔴 Eating and drinking with friends, especially in Soho, in places like Murder Inc, and Croydon in places like The Store and Yumn.
🔴 Building Lego and reading novels and philosophy.
🔴 At the moment virtual art platforms including BIMI, Black Blossoms, ICA, Whitechapel Gallery (the Jarman Film Award weekend, with Film London was amazing with my stand outs being Michelle Williams Gamaker and Jenn Nkiru as was Revolutionary Feminisms), London Drawing Group, Autograph, Guardian Lives and many other London art galleries such as Gagosian which are all creating engaging virtual platforms.
What do you do and why?
At the heart of me and in turn MTC Digital Creative is visual storytelling; helping people to tell their individual stories through creative and innovative images, films, words, and teaching. I capture and create engaging stories for each client, event, or organisation. I do this because storytelling is what inspires me and helps me navigate the world around me. I love meeting and working with other creatives. I am always open to new and exciting creative projects. I feel very grateful to have been asked to take part in this, thank you Ina and @withinLondon.
Can you share a few creative life hacks with our readers?
I think follow what feels right to you. I have often done what I thought I should do, but if there is no passion behind it, I often find it falls apart or turns out not to be my most inspired work. This has also led me to burnout. I understand most times this is a must to make money but my creative life hack would be to follow what feels like it isn't work and feels right for you, where you can.
Your main 5-10 inspiring sources (activities, books, bands, museums) everyone should know about
🎵 Music I love metal music, I don't think I could pull out my favourites as there are so many, but highly recommend dancing/singing along to metal music when things seem tough. I often also listen to dance and drum n bass music whilst walking and imagine I am back in the Cage nightclub in Croydon, in Heaven nightclub, or dancing to Chase and Status live in Ibiza.
I do love listening to music on good speakers, and feel grateful for my Sonos speakers, which I was able to afford whilst working as Deputy Head of Girls' boarding in a school in Surrey. I spent a long time listening to the music pumping out at the recent Cosmic Dancer, Michael Clark exhibition at the Barbican, whilst closing my eyes and imagining being back in one of the iconic London nightclubs pre-COVID-19, like GAY, Heaven, Scala, Electric Ballroom, Fabric, and the now-closed Turnmills or Blue Orchid (where many episodes of the Bill where filmed) (maybe this is showing my age!).
So I guess whilst we are in lockdown try going for walks listening to your favourite music and imagining your favourite London music venues.
🎨 Art platforms
1. Black Blossoms - short course & masterclasses that will decolonise, deconstruct, and democratise creative learning. 2. 10 Years of African Odysseys Course: Black Films and White power. 3. BAK (Utrecht). 4. Showroom - IN·FLO·RES·CENCE. 5. NLS - New Lacanian School. 6. BIMI – Birkbeck Institute of Moving Image. 7. LUX. 8. ICA Cinema 3. 9. Autograph. 10. London Drawing Group.
There are so many but I will try and choose some that stand out as well as authors: 1. The Miniaturist - I discovered this as part of my Book Club 2. All Octavia E. Butler books - unnervingly real at the moment 3. Derrida 4. Eyal Weizman and Forensic Architecture 5. Donna Haraway 6. Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments - Saidiya Hartman 7. Margaret Atwood 8. Paul Gilroy – The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness 9. Achille Mbembe – Necropolitics
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Learning to be kinder to myself and accept who I am. Also to full-heartily tell myself to keep following the creative path.
Headshots and family photography - I love learning about people’s stories and putting people at ease to create beautifully candid moments, from headshots, event photography, family photography to school marketing images.
Where can people find out more about you or hire you?
Instagram: @mtcdigitalcreative and @on_pause_endo
Linkedin: come and connect! (Marie Crick).
I am always happy to chat via DMs, booking form on my website, or via email/zoom meeting.
Services: https://www.mtcdigitalcreative.co.uk/info Photography includes:
Videography, Digital Marketing (including websites), and tutoring in art/film/photography for all ages.
Documentary and Digital Content – Whilst travelling I take photos to map my journeys. Digital Content – I often work with clients to craft digital stories for their brand, the second image is an example of this, when I worked on location for a bespoke online wedding gift service in the Cwn Pennant valley and Anglesey.
I would also love to start a virtual film club with other London creatives. I have an interest in all things films, but especially Japanese Horror, Korean film, and Essay Films like those shown as part of the BIMI film platform, like 'Reflections on the Screening of Mai Masri’s Frontiers of Dreams and Fears' and 'Prison for Profit': Documentary Film Screening and Panel Discussion, With Journalist, Ruth Hopkins and Guests.
Film – I teach and create film content for clients. The images are screenshots from recent projects where I worked with the award-winning sustainable brand, The Morphbag by GSK and inspirational Yoga with Alex Elinson @yogawithalexelinson. I also write reviews about London exhibitions which I share to my website and Instagram.
Find out more about my film teaching here (which ranges from practical to theory).