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A Million Jokes, Insults, Fist Fights, and Drunken Nights
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Jon Jones paints the unexpected.
By turns arresting, disturbing, perplexing, humorous and melancholy, his complicated portraits provide inexhaustible viewing, and a sometimes almost too personal view into his world.
Birmingham born, on leaving Moseley School Jon Jones attended Solihull College and Bournville College of Art where he studied Fine Art, Sculpture and Ceramics. From here it was on to DeMontford University in Leicester, where he studied for a degree in Visual Art/Fine Art.
Returning to his native Birmingham on graduation, Jones opened not one but two studios – one in the then newly opened Custard Factory and another in the somewhat less expected surroundings of the upstairs rooms of The Hare & Hounds, now one of south Birmingham’s more popular nightspots for music and art.
Early popularity took its toll on the self-confessed arrogant young artist and, after an incident involving a disgruntled fan and the theft and destruction of his entire collection of paintings, Jones stopped painting, taking a job working with children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. The experience had changed him – in his own words, “my arrogance was taken away from me.”
His “retirement” lasted five years.
The catalyst for his return to painting was as personal and intense as many of his works – the birth of his first son, Theo. As Jon himself says, “I wanted to do something for him to remember his father for in years to come” – a painting, an exhibition poster, so he could say to his son “look, your Dad used to do this”.
But again, in Jones’ own words, “it all just went too well” and the paintings came thick and fast, the old drive woken with a new vigour, until suddenly instead of an intended 10-15 paintings for small exhibition he found himself with over 40 completed works
Response to that first exhibition was as enthusiastic as Jones’ return to painting, with 38 of the 40 chosen works selling.
Since then, Jones hasn’t looked back, with sell-out exhibitions not just in Birmingham and London but as far flung as Sydney Australia, numerous shortlistings for such coveted awards as the BP National Portrait Awards and the keen interest of collectors and critics around the world.