Runner up - Jonas Ranson
Gone to Earth
Print graduate of the Royal College of Art, Jonas is an artist based in East London whose work falls into two main categories which encompass the twin strands of both Fine Art Practice and silk screen print making.
Fabricating hand drawn images, photographs, both painting & digital painting, traditional themes of landscape are reconfigured. The resultant interest lies in the artistic momentum of filtering, levelling and balancing out the pictorial qualities of this material, a coming together of analogue and digital processes. Achieved then through treatment in both digital conversion and CMYK colour half tone separation silkscreen technique, final pieces consist of large printed works which are technically & visually complex and often cartographic in form.
60 seconds with Jonas Ranson:
First of all, congratulations on on being a runner up in this years Secret Art Prize!
Can you tell us a little bit more about your practice? How did you come to start producing these pieces?
Screen printing has been very much the focus for my artistic expression for many years. I took to the process immediately as part of my fine art degree studies at Falmouth College of Arts and spent the next 3 years learning and developing the medium whilst a student there. This in turn led to my Masters degree in Print at the Royal College of Art in 2001, on which I again focused exclusively on the screen print process. I have subsequently been fortunate enough to have found great studio facilities to continue working in this medium.
The current landscape pieces which form the core of my current practice are the result of an initial love of landscape art more generally, particularly that of 19th Century Romantic painters and writers. This as well as the result of experiences and impressions whilst travelling in Scandinavia and Russia.
Fabricating hand drawn images, photographs, both painting & digital painting, traditional themes of landscape are reconfigured. The interest lies in the artistic momentum of filtering, levelling and balancing out the pictorial qualities of this material with digital processes. The finished pieces are achieved then through treatment in both digital conversion and CMYK colour half tone separation silkscreen technique.
The piece you entered into the art you entered into the art prize is a landscape piece – what inspired this series of prints?
I think there is a desire to immerse myself in these spaces. I try to make the works incorporate a visual language that simultaneously monumentalises and dissolves form. A sense of immersion, a luminal space traversing fact and feeling. On a deeper level the landscapes become a metaphysical realm for the purging of emotional trauma. Cloud expresses the aphophatic nature of the divine, the unknowable, that which will forever elude our human understanding. The aspect of the cloud as symbolic form, as
phenomena and appearance, always in a state of metamorphosis.
Why do you choose to work with CMYK as your colour base and how does that influence your colour palate, do you find it limiting?
The CMYK four colour separation process has always been something that I have been drawn to. The ability it has to recreate more painterly works rather than the more ‘graphic’ look associated with screen printing. Despite the, on the face of it, ‘limited’ palette, there is a considerable range and depth of colour that can be achieved. My intension has always been to try and eliminate as much as possible the obvious half tone look to the images. This has been the result of many years working in and developing the process, creating finer, ever more imperceptible halftones, consistencies of process coloursetc…. I also of often incorporate layers of iridescent and interference colours over the CMYK layers in order to create a more visually seductive and tactile quality to the print. The aim has always been to create a bit of magic in the work, of technical artistry that isn’t always immediately obvious how it is achieved.
What has been your most memorable moment of your artistic career to date?
I was very grateful to have had the opportunity to gain a place at the Royal College of Art in 2001. It felt a real milestone and is something, an ambition I’d had from a very young age. To have finally achieved that felt extremely rewarding.
I also found it a great privilege when invited by Pallent House Gallery to participate in the Eduardo Paolozzi ‘Collaging Culture’ exhibition in 2013. I was asked to produce a very large installation of 17 metres in length that was to accompany the retrospective show featuring over 150 of Paolozzi’s works. It was felt that the work I was producing at the time owed much to the preoccupations and style of his work. Having been a fan of Paolozzi for many years it was obviously a great honour to be given this opportunity.
On a more personal level, I thing each new work I’m engaged in, comes with it’s own memorable moment. It’s also a great thrill when a new technical and or aesthetic goal is accomplished due to many hours hard work and study.
What would consider the biggest hurdle for an artist nowadays?
Money is often a huge hurdle for creative people. Space to work, investment in education and careers, materials, equipment, it all comes down to money. With property becoming increasingly more and more expensive over the years, particularly in London, I have seen at first hand the impact that it has on artist’s ability to afford adequate studio space, galleries being priced out of areas, young people being unable to afford to enrol on degree and masters courses. It seems more and more the preserve of the rich to send their sons and daughters to art schools and universities. I know so many colleges that have closed down print facilities, down sized student’s spaces in which to work, the emphasis being on attracting more and more wealthy students from overseas. It’s not a healthy environment for young people wishing to go into the creative industries.
Lastly – what is your biggest realistic or unrealistic artistic dream?
My dream has been to make more crucial, honest and satisfying work. That this work will interest an audience who will find the work enriching, beautiful, bring some pleasure into their lives. It would just be very satisfying to be able to support myself solely through my art practice, and this in turn give me the time and space to produce bigger and ever more ambitious print pieces. I think also that the ‘dream’ is contained within each new work to a certain degree. There is a certain amount of escapism involved in designing the works. As I said previously, an immersion in the work being created.