Jon Jones

Born: Birmingham
Lives and works: Birmingham
Education: De Montfort University
Awards: BP Portrait Award (shortlisted, 2006)
“Whenever I choose a portrait to paint, I want to make it feel alive. You read a face by its emotion.”

Figurative artist Jon has enjoyed sell-out success in both the UK and Australia. He has been shortlisted for several prestigious awards, including the BP Portrait Award hosted by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Inspiration

Perplexing, humorous and melancholy, Jon's work is created from the heart. With a background in fine art, sculpture and ceramics, he cites Rembrandt amongst his influences and enjoys scrutinising the technique behind a painting.

Growing up in Kings Heath, Birmingham, he was drawn to the darker side of history and shunned playing football with this friends in favour of exploring the local Hare and Hounds pub, where the landlord regaled tales of hangings and said the cellar was used as a mortuary. As an adult, he went on to hold exhibitions based on prostitution in 18th century London and the history and meanings behind nursery rhymes.

For his latest project, he worked with the West Midlands Police Museum to explore the criminal underworld of 19th century Birmingham. His haunting paintings delve into the history of the infamous Peaky Blinders gang, made famous by the successful BBC series of the same name.

Jon says: “I like artists who use thick impasto paint, like Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach. In my mind, this is how oil painting should be: seeing the brushstrokes and understanding how a painting is constructed.”

Shop Jon's Autumn Winter // 2020 collection here

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Inside the world of Jon Jones

Jon starts his work with just a scribble, preferring to keep his sketch loose and give his energy to the final painting. He uses oil on board, with Indian ink and pencil. While creating his art, he listens to David Bowie, Arctic Monkeys and Nick Cave. He used to work at a special needs school, and the music helps to add some chatter to the relatively solitary environment of an artist’s studio.

Jon says: "When I start a new painting, even though I’ve been painting for years, I still have a real fear and anxiety. There’s nothing worse than looking at a blank wall. But as soon as a scribble is on the board, it’s broken up and I can relax again. I treat a painting like a jigsaw puzzle: you just try and work out where everything is, and hopefully everything then starts to make sense. Towards the end, it all fits together."

To add emotion to his portraits, Jon focuses on the eyes. He explains: “My mother used to say that she disliked Lucian Freud because the eyes are dead and expressionless; whenever I choose a portrait to paint, I want to make it feel alive. You read a face by its emotion.”  

Shop Jon's Autumn Winter // 2020 collection here

From the blog

Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2020

Download the newest issue of our magazine for exclusive launch sneak peeks, video content and art news. Plus in this special 25th anniversary edition, we reveal our best moments so far.

Explore the Birmingham underworld with Jon Jones

Drawn to the dark side of history, the Midlands-based artist has explored the infamous Peaky Blinders gang in his three haunting new giclée on canvas prints.

Magazines and brochures

Fine Art Collector | 2020

Showcasing the very best of our artworks, along with behind-the-scenes updates and interviews, the new issue of our Fine Art Collector magazine is a must-read!

Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2019

Showcasing the very best of our artworks, along with behind-the-scenes updates and interviews, the new issue of our Fine Art Collector magazine is a must-read!

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