The existential crisis of the pandemic has unlocked the door for many an aspiring creative. Jon Young is one
Contemporary Shropshire artist Jon Young will be exhibiting his bold, colourist impressions at Oak Street Gallery in Llangollen this autumn, after taking the plunge to make a business out of his art.
“I’m drawn to people and places,” says Jon. “I guess that’s the geographer in me. I like bold images; a colour, a composition or a mood. As my interests change, so too will my subjects. I’ll swap between people and places every now and again.”
As the striking ‘Basking in the Blue’ above suggests, Jon is particularly drawn to the coast. “Most of my younger life was spent living by the sea, and I return to it whenever I can,” he confirms. “I’m lucky as the magical coasts of mid and north Wales aren’t too far, although the west coast of Scotland is quite a distance, but so worth the drive, as the colours are sublime.”
'Elbridge Hedge in Snow'
These days Jon uses acrylic in his painting - not something he’d used before. “I’m not sure it was around in the Seventies!” he laughs. “I love the flexibility it offers. I can wash it on almost like watercolour, or trowel it on with a knife. It also dries in minutes, which was fantastic when I was working full-time and only had the odd 10 minutes here and there, often painting with a toothbrush in my hand before work! I love the bright bold colours it offers; I’m not one for beige.”
As with many of us, the pandemic changed things for Jon. And not for the worse.
“I decided during lockdown that life is short,” he reveals. “I’d had my share of medical issues, and a stressful job, so came to the conclusion that lockdown was the time to start a new venture and go headlong into Jon Young Art. Difficult times to start a new business, but maybe the right time for me.
“So from odd snippets of time painting here and there, I now paint a lot more. I tried painting to a timetable, but it didn’t work for me, so I now paint more when I want to or have to, which means some weeks I’ll produce two or three paintings, and other weeks none. I’m always thinking in pictures though, and storing them away.
“I take lots of photos, be that on my phone, point and shoot, or with my full camera set. These are in large part my sketchbooks and notes. They take me back to a place and time, so that later, when I’m in the studio, I’m really back outside, but dry and warm.
“I recently took a trip to Arisaig in Scotland. The endless white sands and turquoise seas beaconed. I had 10 days of wind and rain, so the cameras became my refuge. I was also forced to look for different views and colours. I’ve also had many trips around the glorious Welsh coast around the Gower, Barmouth and Anglesey.”
'Barmouth Dark Skies'
Jon’s exhibition at Oak Street Gallery will cover a range of people and places, including “some popular images as well as some new ones”. And the timing couldn’t be better for those looking for gifts.
“I’ll have cards, prints and framed prints too,” says Jon. “It’ll be bright and colourful - perfect for Christmas, and beyond.”
Jon Young at Oak Street Gallery, Llangollen, runs from 10th to 23rd October 2022. For more information, visit the gallery’s Facebook page here
For more about Jon Young and his work, visit www.jonyoungart.co.uk