Jones Keyworth was born in London in 1980, but spent her childhood in the Sussex countryside. She completed her degrees in English Literature with Art, and English with Creative Writing at Chichester University before going on to study Art History at Cambridge. Established as a freelance artist, writer and theatre designer she moved back to London in 2004, collaborating with galleries as well as theatres such as The Old Vic and National Theatre.
Often painted on panels of mahogany cut from old doors, the works are small and heavy pieces, painted with luminous jewel like tones. For many years Jones Keyworth concentrated on landscapes including the series Albert which portrayed views sketched from the very top of the Albert Hall’s famous domed roof. The haze of heaped houses, glass office blocks, towers and cranes just about visible in the smoky ‘London particular’. Reminiscent of icons or illuminated manuscripts, the oils evoke strange and dark fables, exploring themes of memory and perception. Beautiful yet claustrophobic, the landscapes create a sense of unease with patterns of people and trees.
Currently Jones Keyworth is taking a new direction and is working on a series of portraits. The first of which were shown at FLUX Exhibition at The Royal College of Art. Her striking works created with oil, gold leaf, hot wax, pigments and resin on wood certainly made an impact. We were not surprised when the editor of Grazia Magazine posted Jones Keyworth as her selection from FLUX.
We are very excited about following the journey of such an incredible artist. An artist that produces work that is dramatic and compelling, work that you are mesmerized by, work that draws you in and makes you linger on the strength of colour and composition. Thank you Jones Keyworth for sharing your work with us.
Self taught or art school?
I had always wanted to paint and write, so decided to do my BA and MA degrees in English Literature with Art and Creative Writing. My first solo exhibition was in Chichester and I ended up working at the Festival Theatre and Minerva doing costume for a few years whilst being represented by Chichester Gallery. I moved to London in 2004 in order to work more closely on exhibition projects at the Old Vic, the National and the Spitz Gallery, but I missed the writing side of things so went back to study Art History at Cambridge. I’d like to say I was self-taught as I didn’t take the traditional art school path, but I think that each part of my studies so far has shaped my painting a certain way.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
I’d love to take Henri Rousseau’s Tyger home with me. I was 5 years old and on a school trip to the National Gallery when I first saw it- I remember staring at it for ages, astonished at how it was so real but at the same time just like a cartoon. I remember the details of the raindrops and the tiger’s crazy eyes. I go back and visit it sometimes- but its so much smaller than I first thought!
How would you describe your style?
I guess maybe abstract, or abstract impressionist? I have worked primarily as a landscape artist for the past 15 years and have just begun new portrait works. Whatever the subject, the extremes of light and dark, or the effect that colour combinations have on the eye are the main focuses of how I work.
What are your favourite places to view art?
I love galleries that consider the setting for the art: Beautifully lit, quiet, perhaps with only one or two pieces in each room- Almost like being in a church. The Rothko room at the Tate Modern is so peaceful- I think the works were originally intended for a restaurant and so they are lit at just the right level of candle-light brightness.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
Frieda Kahlo for her symbolism, Howard Hodgkin for his love of colour, Polly Morgan for her humour. I have also just started to collect Indian miniature paintings and icons. I think there is a real beauty to smaller works.
What or who inspires your art?
Probably the actual inventive/ scientific process itself. I rarely use brushes and my studio often ends up looking like a laboratory with all the resins/powdered pigments/potions lying around. A visit to L. Cornellissens is also very inspiring, a real Aladdin’s Cave of art materials- like something straight out of Harry Potter.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
My studio is at in my home in Bloomsbury. It is full of interesting old junk from car boot sales- books, photographs, papers and weird ornaments.
Do you have any studio rituals?
Just do the next thing that’s in front of me. I easily procrastinate and get distracted by other ideas that seem far more exciting because I’m secretly a perfectionist. And then once I get focused I mostly can’t see the wood for the trees. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster- usually wanting to give up and throw everything out the window- but if I get through that first painful stage, I can take a break, let the dust settle, see what needs to be done next.
What are you working on currently?
I visited Tippi Hedron’s big cat sanctuary (Shambala) just outside LA over the summer, and am now working from those sketches on a fundraising project of lion and tiger paintings.
Where can we buy your art?
I can be contacted via www.joneskeyworth.com or my Jones Keyworth facebook page.
What are your ambitions?
The three Made Without Hands works I showed at Flux combine the ritual of icon making with the fiery drama of encaustic painting. The sitters are actors I have previously worked with, and the plan is that once I have the completed series it will be eventually exhibited at a theatre. After that, who knows! Ambition is a great driving force, but for me it has sometimes brought far too much pressure. And actually I’d rather play it by ear…