I know you all have been wondering when I would get around to his interview. Well here it is! Meet Trevor Jones, the very talented and multi-faceted artist transplant to Scotland.
1. Give us a short bio please. Where you are from , where you studied etc.
I was raised in a wee village on the west coast of Canada. I decided to go backpacking in 1996 and I eventually ended up in Scotland in 1999 and kind of got stuck. I’d been working in Edinburgh for a few years and then decided to do an art foundation year here so I could apply to art college. I spent the next 5 years on an MA Fine Art programme that was split 50/50 between Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art. It was a brilliant course and we’d spend half the day studying history of art at the university and the other half at the art college.
2. tell us about your start as an artist. what was your focus? has it changed since then?
I entered college with quite a naïve view of the world of art and I was adamant I would come out the other end a figurative painter. Initially I was very interested in the human form and movement but by my third year I began experimenting with abstraction with a focus on links between the colour spectrum and music. Artists including Kandinsky, Paul Klee and the Australian painter, Roy de Maistre were all influential. Recently my work has taken another dramatic shift and I’m now collaborating with an IT company and web designer to build websites which are accessed through QR code paintings. I’m looking at ways to create websites that will evolve and change with the input of other people around the world so that my paintings are essentially a portal to an online community of people engaging the website and each other.
3. The QR paintings are interesting. How did you get into that vein of thought?
I’m the director of a charity called Art in Healthcare (AiH), which lends artwork from its large art collection to hospitals throughout Scotland. I’ve been obsessed with finding ways for the artwork to impact more whether the viewer is a patient, staff member or visitor. In 2011 I started using QR codes on invitation postcards to help promote my solo exhibition and it was at that point I began to see the potential of utilising this technology to address my AiH preoccupations of providing more information about the charity’s artwork and the artists who created it.
After spending so much time with QR codes I was curious to see if I could turn these computer generated patterns into aesthetic works of art – that actually worked. The ideas behind the website slowly developed over this last year. I’m still at early stages but I’m really excited about the potential.
4. The colours are interesting. Is there a reason why you chose to do them in color and not B&W?
The first four QR code paintings I completed for the UNIONgallery’s Festival Exhibition in August were all named after great Scottish artists from the past; Joan Eardley, Henry Raeburn, Alexander Nasmyth, and Samuel Peploe. I incorporated their colour palettes to create the corresponding painting, which was a unique exercise. It’s quite easy as an artist to always gravitate towards particular colours and colour combinations and so using other artist’s palettes to create the painting was an excellent learning experience.
5. Is there a recurring theme in your work?
Not really. I go through periods of interest and inspiration. I’m fortunate that I have a wonderful job that pays the bills, which allows me to turn my attention to whatever I want when it comes to my artwork. I don’t feel the need to develop a particular style or theme to “build my audience” or appease gallery owners like many full time, professional artists do. This may be a negative in that the possibility of ever making a decent living solely from my art could be compromised but at the same time I’d never want to paint myself into a corner with regards to my creativity.
6. What is next? Any plans beyond QR?
Ha, I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea! Maybe I’ll have an exhibition of figurative work and really surprise some people, or maybe a collaborative piece… who knows? All I can say is that the ideas behind the body of work will need to be strong enough to hold my excitement and passion throughout the duration.
7.Is there a connection between why you relocated to Scotland and your art?
At first, after reading that question, I was going to say, “Absolutely not”; however, I guess the connection would be a passion for exploration. I fell in love with travelling because it opened up my mind to other experiences, ideas and endless possibilities. Art and creativity are very much the same in that regard and as Twyla Tharp said, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” I guess I did both.
8. List 5 words that describe you/ or your work.
9. tell us about your work with Art in Healthcare.
I manage a charity called Art in Healthcare, which has been lending original, Scottish artwork to hospitals and other healthcare settings throughout the country since 1991. We have over 1400 fantastic artworks in the collection that have been purchased by the organisation or, in many cases, gifted to us by generous artists. Through consultation and discussion we use art to create stimulating environments for patients, staff and visitors that positively affects one’s mental wellbeing and contributes to an effective healing process. We also project manage site-specific art commissions for hospitals, offer advice and care for other’s collections, and provide art workshops for patients and care home residents.
10.Any Advice for aspiring artists?
Work hard and develop your time management skills, spend just as much time looking at artwork you don’t like as artwork you do like, grow a very thick skin.