“Mark has spent his entire life working in PR and basically exploring the world – either travelling with the brands he’s represented over the years, as a news and features photographer, or on motorcycle adventures,” I tell her.
“He started a boutique PR consultancy with an international flair called Renegade. The guy is basically a voyageur and a brand entrepreneur. Doesn’t he sound perfect for the job?” I ask her.
“The way you describe him, it sounds like he was born for the job,” says Anouk.
As we arrive at what seems like an old farm, we are greeted by Mark and three motorbikes.
“Looks like you’re an easy rider,” I tell him.
“You’ve got no idea!” Mark replies with a laugh. “Welcome to my Gloucestershire, come on in!”
We go straight to the legendary basement and make ourselves at home. It feels like a den and a very cosy hideout. “This is Studio 22,” says Mark. “I named it after a disco I built in my first house…”
“Seems like you’re in your natural habitat here,” I say.
“Absolutely,” Mark replies.
“After graduating from uni, I moved to London where I had a great first job, little money but managed to go clubbing. I learnt to DJ and played house parties and some clubs. That’s one of the reasons I built this little den.”
“Cool,” says Anouk. “What else did you do in London? Is that where you started your career?”
“Indeed, I left university in 1991 and went to work for a magazine marketing company. In that job I got my first taste of PR – I was soon doing PR for some of the most celebrated and iconic magazines in the UK.”
“Interesting, and when did photography come into the picture?” I ask him, curious to hear about his photo mania.
“It’s a passion, together with biking. After having worked for top London PR consultancies, I got tired of it and started mixing up freelance photojournalism and PR – the latter to pay the rent, the former for fun. Before I knew it, I was travelling the world doing adventure stories – learn to fly in 30 days, attend a football riot in Buenos Aires, ride across India on a battered old motorbike…You get the picture.”
“Good mix! And when did you decide to stop moving and start Renegade?” I ask.
“I started Renegade in 2001 and it has mainly been loads of fun since then.”
“Our philosophy is fun, fame or fortune. If a potential client can tick two of those three boxes we’ll give it a go – as long as they’ll let us do something worth talking about. We’ve been lucky to work with clients across Europe, Asia and the U.S.A, we get to travel, meet interesting people and learn loads.”
“So you basically go for quality instead of quantity…”
“Exactly. We don’t want to be big, we just want to work for interesting clients. We have a saying: “Think global, act Gloucester.”
“I like the sound of that,” says Anouk. “That’s exactly what we’re looking for in a curator, that kind of mentality!”
“Well, I’m your man then,” says Mark.
“Excellent! Now why don’t we celebrate, get this party started and try out that DJ booth in the corner!”
“Game on,” says Mark with even a bigger smile.
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