All about Jon
The Unreality studio
I am a painter living and working in the small town of Céret in the Pyrenées Orientales near to the Spanish Border. I have been exhibiting my pictures in France for ten years and in the UK since 2006.
I was born in Windsor in 1958 and lived in many places in England, Wales and South Africa until I studied Graphic design and Illustration at the East Surrey School of Art and Design. I worked variously as a graphic designer and illustrator throughout my career until deciding to concentrate on painting two years ago.
Because I do not like being categorised, I describe myself as an “Irréaliste”, mainly because my work does not sit comfortably into any category. It is definitely not surreal. It is figurative but not naturalistic. The paintings are by turns thought-provoking, funny, sinister and peculiar. Sometimes just a simple observation or joke and at other times, the image is layered with deeper meanings waiting to be unlocked by the viewer.
I make images that encourage the viewer to think further and to see the possibilities and impossibilities of the world around them. Angels on bicycles, deep sea divers, skeletons, mariners and grotesques are some of the characters in the little static plays that my pictures represent. Often by the time a picture has been finished it will have evolved and become a different story.
My work is always all about “The Idea”, so I tend to make a very quick sketch to see if the vision will work out and then, having decided on palette and mood, I draw straight onto the canvas or panel using either gesso or dilute acrylic (usually Van Dyke Brown) to complete the basic layout to my satisfaction, after which I can build the mood and atmosphere before starting the more precise work that gives my paintings their characteristic finesse. I love the fine details that gradually become apparent on closer viewing.
Often I work with three or four paintings on the go so that I can break off and consider next moves rather than rushing to get the picture done and risk not getting the best out of the work. Sometimes I will sketch directly onto the canvas using water soluble pencils to test the exact positioning of a figure or detail, at other times I work on an iPad to get a better idea of the final painting before committing it to canvas.
I work mainly in acrylic paint, because I find it gives me the quality and depth of colour that I require to give my canvasses drama and intensity.