Born in 1972 in Devon, England, Jayson Lilley is a British contemporary artist who incorporates the practices of painting, collage and printmaking. He is recognised for producing works of urban scenes and iconic architecture. With influences coming from Japanese Ukiyo-e and Constructivism, Jayson has great admiration for the work of Katsushika Hokusai and Alexander Rodchenko. He now lives and works in London, drawing inspiration from the city environment and its hustle and bustle. His love of early twentieth century Art Deco and Bauhaus to the Brutalism of the post-war period is evident throughout his work. We are delighted to release a print run of Jayson’s work of some of London’s most iconic architecture in his trademark style.
We met up with Jayson to learn more about his process and passion for the city.
You draw inspiration from the city of London. Tell us about your infatuation with the city’s landmarks - what first drew you to study these buildings?
Brutalist and Art Deco architecture is always prominent in my choices of buildings and London has this in abundance. But it’s more than that for me, my infatuation comes equally by the shape that my chosen building or vista makes as it cuts its way into the sky - the negative space draws me in as much as the building itself.
The new prints you have released with us feature The Oxo Tower, Trellick Tower, Tate Modern and Battersea Power Station. Do these buildings and the background colours you have chosen hold a particular significance for you?
These four buildings are where it all started for me as a printmaker……I released a set of screen prints in 2010 of these buildings in these exact colours. Battersea was the first building I ever just stood and stared at in awe… it’s the history that lies behind the walls that excites me, the same goes for The Oxo Tower… there are so many beautiful old buildings in London which had a industrial use in the past, and they survived because they are great architectural monuments!
I spent as much time creating the original works as I did picking the colours… I spent 3 or 4 months trying to work out what went best, both with the buildings and just as importantly, what worked well as a series. Many houses, restaurants and offices I’ve walked into have those original pieces on walls, not just one but hung in 3’s; the Strong pink with the Acid green/yellow alongside an Iridescent teal have to compliment each other.
You take inspiration from Japanese Ukiyo-e and Constructivism. How do these practises influence your own work?
I have always been fascinated by Ukiyo-e. The Japanese woodblock prints of city and the culture of everyday life during the Edo Period is a snapshot in time - this is what I’ve always tried to capture in my work; the people, buildings and skyline of the city - it’s always changing. Constructivism is another love of mine and the two lend themselves to large expanses of flat, bold colour which is evident in all my work.
Tell us about a day in your studio. Do you have a creative routine?
It all starts between 5.30 - 6am....... depending when Atari, our 2 year old, blesses us with his cries for porridge!! I always like to be in the studio by 9am, we had a studio built in the garden so my commute is a good one. I’ll instantly start work on what needs to be done, probably that will be laying some colour down on whatever I’m working on at that time. Whilst the ink is drying I’ll work on the computer producing designs for new work.... I will usually look at and respond to emails and messages at 5.30, I’m not a fan of interrupting my work flow during the day time! ..... and did I mention the coffee...? Far too much coffee is drunk in the studio... I’m back in the house by 6pm.
Do you have exciting projects/exhibitions coming up?
This year has been a little crazy so far…. I was lucky enough to be selected for the Royal Academy’s Summer exhibition this year, and also have four pieces shortlisted for the 2019 Westmorland Landscape Prize which opens in September. I’ve just released a new collection of Bristol work, and later in the year I will be releasing new work for upcoming New York and London exhibitions. I also already have some very exciting London exhibitions in the diary for 2020.