Have you met…Jai Llewellyn?

'T' Bar 2 Oil on canvas 35 x 25 cm 2013

‘T’ Bar 2
Oil on canvas
35 x 25 cm

An introduction can be a wonderful thing. You can meet interesting people, and make new friends. You can be introduced to your new favorite foods, books, music, or artist.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite artists. Some of whom I’ve been familiar with for years, and others I’ve only recently been introduced to.

The person I’d like to introduce is the artist Jai Llewellyn.

Untitled #6 Oil, oil based ink & graphite on paper 40 x 30 cm 2013

Untitled #6
Oil, oil based ink & graphite on paper
40 x 30 cm

Jai Llewellyn was born in London, 1977.  He grew up in the muti-cultural borough of Camden.  Jai comes from a German/Jewish background on his mothers side and Welsh on his Fathers.  From a young age he was introduced to art, his father being a film maker, his mother a painter, his stepfather a celebrated photographer and his grandparents avid collectors of art.  At the age of eleven he moved away from London to live in the desolate, flat and rural landscape of the Lincolnshire coast.


Camberwell College of Arts, Ma, Printmaking, 2009-10 (partially completed)

Camberwell College of Arts, Ba hons, Visual Arts, Drawing, 2000-03

Norwich School of Art & Design, Foundation, Art & Design, 1997-99

Other material relating to Jai Llewellyn.

Level ground Intaglio 25 x 30 cm 2013

Level ground
25 x 30 cm

“I have spent my life split between the city and the countryside.  Experiencing both the architecture and crowds of urban life and  the solidarity of living in isolated areas of the English landscape has affected the way that I work.  I have always had to adapt to fit in with my surroundings.  I often move from one thing to another, approaching a piece from a different perspective depending on my frame of mind.”

Jai Llewellyn‘s paintings and prints are about the process of mark making, the history of a line seen through an abstract picture of the future. Llewellyn often works between painting and printmaking, both disciplines informing each other, both focussing in on relationships, juxtapositions of old and new, growth and decay, construction and deconstruction.

Llewellyn works intuitively and often begins by recycling or re-appropriating existing images – drawings, etchings and prints from old books – on which he layers his compositions with marks, lines, giving us, the viewer, a peek into the history of his process, the space to see the artist in action. His work is wonderfully graphic and it’s interesting to note that all his work has the most traditional of art practices at it’s foundation, the nude, life drawing. It’s clearly not something you’d alight upon when looking at his work however he has this to say about it:

The foundation of my work comes from an intensive study of the ‘nude’ and although the formal representation of the figure has completely vanished from my practice, there is an underlying system or structure that has it’s roots in the abstraction of the human form.

I for one love how he’s been able to combine his love of printmaking with painting, both informing each other. The result is a wonderful abstract expressionism that relies on graphic mark making and a clean use of line. Here’s what he has to say about his work:

I rarely plan or rehearse a piece, working intuitively I allow an image to evolve naturally, to have a life of its own. I am interested in the idea that when something is destroyed another is simultaneously created, as in reincarnation or rebirth.

I often use surfaces that have previously been worked on, rather than a blank canvas, I react to existing marks or images. Working in this way produces results that I could not plan for or even imagine and it is important that the ingredient which attracted me in the first instance is not completely lost but given a new life. Often I leave some of the original elements to pay respect to its contribution.” JL

Mask Oil on found paper 22 x 18 cm 2013

Oil on found paper
22 x 18 cm

Other material relating to Jai Llewellyn.

Artist website: jaillewellyn.com

ArtSlant: Jai Llewellyn

Artwork 100: Jai Llewellyn

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