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Jonathan Williams

  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration

I have worked in education for over 20 years, teaching from year seven upwards to Masters level. The opportunity to engage with students from all parts of the world through tutoring with IDI is fascinating and highly rewarding.

I have illustrated over 30 books in the UK and Europe, have a BA (Hons) PGCE and a Masters Degree with Distinction in Graphic Communication from the University of South Wales. I’m also an Illustration lecturer at the University of Wales TSD in Swansea. I have held group and solo exhibitions, designed and produced large scale public artworks including the Captain Scott memorial in Cardiff Bay, drawings for the BBC and was highly commended at the Welsh Artist of the Year exhibition 2013.

I have produced work reflecting life in Europe, South America and Asia. Alongside my lecturing position I create work at a number of festivals including Bestival, Bearded Theory, Watchet and Cheltenham Jazz. I am currently the Artist in residence at the Cardiff Blues RFC documenting the season. The aim of the drawings is always to be aware of life as it is happening, experiencing the moment, embracing the fluidity and flux. To create without preconceptions, to recognise and accept the mundane as these also have merit.

My greatest achievement

The production of the Captain Scott memorial in Cardiff Bay opened by HRH the Princess Royal.

My inspiration

The gallery of everyday life, Wabi Sabi, Zen, Felix Topolski, Lautrec, Picasso, Daumier, Degas.

About my work

Do you do think a thought or listen to music? As soon as you place the fact that you are listening to music means that you are no longer listening. Can you read and also think I am reading?

The application of these concepts within my work is connected to reportage illustration. This is not taking a line for a walk, because going for a walk implies a destination and the act of drawing is not a destination, but is in the process, more like dancing to your favourite song, you are not waiting for it to get to the end, just enjoying it while it lasts. That moment, that time is the only one of any importance and if the drawing lasts for 20 seconds or 20 minutes it is complete.

There should be no concern for outcomes and it is important not to over analyse, aiming to create without preconceptions or catagorisation of importance, bringing back a childlike clarity of vision enabling you to see things just as they are. To view the apparently mundane as magical, how it is without judgement, to see and feel what it is and not as it is named.

There is no experience but present experience, this moment so brief yet also always here.

This primary experience is being substituted by secondary, mediated versions of the world offered by television, the internet or gaming for actual experience.

There is beauty in the impermanent, modest, and overlooked as people become more inwardly focused and in their personal bubble. The aim is to gain a mindful awareness of everyday activities and fleeting glimpses into people’s lives.

All work I complete on location from life and no photographic reference material is ever used, the immediacy of the moment and response is of central importance to my work.

Working on location always generates a great deal of interest and fascination from the general public, with whom I am pleased to interact and discuss my work. I am a passionate believer in the value of observational drawing and the status of the activity in the age of the digital camera where the instantaneous creation of vast amounts of photographs with little or no discernment or analysis. Ironically with all these snapshots the act of looking is often overlooked. In music there are sound forms composed within time, in drawing there are visual forms composed within space. They say a photograph stops time where as a drawing captures time and it is amid these distinctions that my practice lies.

Conversation in real life is full of half-finished sentences and overlapping talk. Why shouldn’t painting be too?
Edgar Degas

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