Artist Spotlight: Pete Jones

I was born and bought up in Bangor, Wales. After studying at Chester School of Art in 1979 I completed a degree in Fine Art (Painting) at Loughborough College of Art & Design during 1983. My life then took a “swerve” through the NHS, becoming a Learning Disability Nurse for 30 years, before returning to full time painting in 2016. Having intermittently accepted a range of commissions during my Nursing career, I am now fully focussed on my creative work.

I strive to convey a sense of place and time, endeavouring to create atmospheres through the use of colour and light. Portrait work attempts to capture an individual’s character and humanity within a moment in time. My portraits undertaken of former patients of Bryn-y-Neuadd Hospital (In which I worked for many years) have been well-received with 13 pieces being accepted into the National collections of Wales at Aberystwyth and Cardiff. I was fortunate that my first major solo exhibition (at Oriel Ynys Môn) was considered by Wales Arts Review to be amongst the top 10 visual arts exhibitions in Wales during 2019.

As an artist I begin with feelings about a theme, person or place. The process of painting can be all consuming and sometimes takes some work in directions that I had not planned, “accidents” and “chance” are important. I think that I generally try to create a “visual ambience”, a feeling for a place rather than a photographic reproduction of what is before me. This has led to some of my recent work becoming more abstract in form. I have also started to experiment with sound and film.

There is a large autobiographical element to many of my paintings. My current show at Storiel “Y BAE” (The Bay) is an exploration of the area in which I grew up, the Hirael area of Bangor. Whilst the process of painting has continued, I have also ventured into film making, creating a short film which reflects the context in which the paintings were created. Also included within the film is my own “soundscape”. Whilst not a musician my adolescence during the punk era gave me the confidence to experiment with music, an approach which probably leads to my attitude towards painting in so far as I am not precious about my work. I have been experimenting with ambient electronic sound and hope that the results compliment the imagery presented within the film.

I think that “art”, in whatever form, should make people think or feel something. If it can do both then it becomes something especially powerful and important in terms of reflecting the society in which we all live.

Whilst undertaking the work for my latest exhibition a gamut of feelings have driven the work (hopefully without being overly sentimental). All my work begins with an emotional attachment to the subject matter. Cezanne, I think, once suggested that a work of art that did not begin in emotion is not art and I take comfort from that.