Print artist Jonathan Lawes’ work has been the star of the show at various art galleries around London, Berlin and across Europe. With his signature mix of abstract shapes and contrasting colours, Jonathan’s work is guaranteed to brighten up any dull white wall in your flat. We got to spend some time with Jonathan at Sonsoles Print Studio, a shared space he spends most of his time getting down and dirty with neon ink and industrial machines.
How long have you been printmaking?
A long time. I studied Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art, bit of a mouthful I know. After University, without instant access to such great facilities I found myself doing a lot of digital work. After a while this began to get a little tiresome and I craved getting back into the studio and getting my hands dirty again. After moving to Berlin, I focused on my own screen printing while working in bars and cafes to make money. Now I am lucky enough to be a full-time freelance artist.
Why did you move back from Berlin?
Berlin is a very different city to London, especially when it comes to art. It’s a great place to work as studio space is cheap but you don’t get the recognition that you do here in London. Within a few weeks of being back in London, people were calling me up asking to buy my work.
Do you miss Berlin?
I did go back last week for one of my exhibitions, and it did remind me of how relaxed Berlin is in comparison to how stressful London can be, however, there does come a point in life where being too relaxed isn't a good thing. I’ve got lots of work on at the moment, but I'm not going to complain about being busy!
Your designs are quite abstract. Are they inspired by anything in particular?
Everything really. I think my girlfriend would testify that I’m always working; I am constantly looking at different colour palettes, especially while travelling. At the moment I’ve just been creating what I like and luckily people seem to love it. I didn't used to name my pieces, because then it gives people an idea of what it is. I want my work to be open to interpretation.
One of our values at Bailey Nelson is to ‘look different’. How do you feel you reflect this in your work?
It’s not so much about looking different, it's more about being who you are, in a sense that everyone is unique. In my work, I don’t necessarily do what I think other people will love, I just create what I want.
What exciting things do you have coming up?
I am going to be a part of an exhibition for COS at Coal Drops Yard starting in July, as well as completing a series of works for Aldi. I’m also planning a possible solo show in Paris early next year. More recently, I finished some work for Art On A Postcard’s secret auction for the Hepatitis C charity.
Where can people find and purchase your work?
You can have a look at my work online at jonathanlawes.com. I also have a variety of work on display at various galleries and stores including Bailey Nelson in Old Spitalfields Market.
Visit our Old Spitalfields Market store to see a collection of Jonathan's prints, available to purchase from £85 framed.