PM Artist Jonjo Elliot talks about his process, his passion and his skateboard.
Jonjo Elliot makes art that looks like how living in a city feels. A walk down any street in any major city around the world yields a perfect balance of beauty and chaos, of machines and humanity, color and shape. We love his stuff so Potato Mike was excited to have the chance and ask Jonjo a few questions about his art, his life and the world.
What inspired you to be an artist?
I've always been creative from an early age. I think it’s just in some people to want to make stuff. I attended De Montfort University to study art it was like a light went on in my head. From that point my art changed drastically and I started to take risks with materials and compositions, exploring new ways to make a mark on the canvas. I'm not sure if you 'become' an artist, I think some people are just born with a need to express themselves through art.
Why did you choose painting as your medium?
I chose to paint because I love the possibilities available with paint and canvas. The smallest adjustments in a mix or the way paint is applied can make a huge difference to the finished piece and that interests me. I use acrylics, oils, markers and enamel spray paint amongst other materials and experiment with compositions but I like to work freely once I start a canvas and see where it goes.
What is the most common element that can be seen in your art?
My work is inspired by my surroundings and in particular the way society affects our landscape. I make explorative journeys through the city and mentally record marks, colours and shapes before returning to the studio and turning on some loud music. I like to work from memory rather than photographs which gives me a freedom to work intuitively, opening each painting up to new interpretations. I tend to work in a series and use different shapes and structures in my work and I see the re-occurring circle as a journey line, of the city exploration and the painting.
What do you see as the role of art in culture?
I think art is extremely important within society and culture and should be experienced by everyone. Art can make you happy, sad, angry, educated or confused and I think its power is amazing. Art should be encouraged and treasured. Workshops and creative experiences should be made easily available to anyone that wants to try it out. I also love the conversations and arguments which an artwork can start and I like to stand next to my work in a gallery and hear what people say about it.
How does who you are as a person affect your art?
I've always been an outdoors person and had an interest in my surroundings. I've been a skateboarder for most of my life, starting as a kid in the streets before the skateparks started to be built everywhere, and I think my street skating history has played a part in how my art is influenced . I also have an interest in architecture and the structures which fill our cities and this also affects the paintings I create.