Former Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design.
I have drawn and produced art since childhood, and back in the 70s I studied Foundation Art and Design and HND in Graphic Design. In later years I studied for BA Hons Graphic Design, PGCE (FE/HE) and MA Digital Image (graphic design) I ran a successful graphic design studio with Leanda Ryan before embarking on an academic career as a senior lecturer in graphic design. Sadly, that career was cut short through illness.
This website contains a selection of personal photographs, digital and analogue graphic based art made from past to present. I have a large archive of photographs but will only post a very limited selection because currently I am interested in art. The photos will be added over time but some of them are available to view on Flickr Link. This work exists as a seperate entity from the commercial graphic design produced for buisness: it is my space to create for pure enjoyment.
Thanks to Leanda Ryan, my ex business partner, for the effort made in creating the superb WordPress portfolio theme: INXHIBIT. Inxhibit was inspired by the Indexhibit system: it is a clean and easy to use image based template and can be purchased from Leanda’s inxhibit site.
The work in this section is the result of what I call pictorial play. Again, drawing on many influences from artists and designers, I allow myself to create with total freedom. Some of the work is very experimental and others have been created with prints in mind. There are recurring themes as I develop the work so there may be some repetition or development of ideas. The work is almost exclusively graphic based art – its what I enjoy.
The collages are produced digitally and again they provide a great opportunity for play. I wrote a paper regarding digital collage which can be read here.
The portraits began as a personal reaction to the illness of depression and anxiety. I suppose the work could fall under the banner of ‘art therapy’ but because I have always engaged in artistic activities it is best thought of as an ongoing project that keeps the demons at bay. Additionally, I have practiced ‘mindful drawing’ having attended several courses in meditation and maintain a daily meditation practice which is now in its seventh year.
The portraits are eclectic in style because I decided to refrain from setting stylistic barriers. That said, they are graphic in nature because of my design background and there will inevitably be some evidence of ‘my style’ emerging.
I have made a firm decision to refrain from aligning the images with academic theory in the form of lengthy supporting texts, but to my academic interest is rooted in visual literacy, language and the principles of visual perception. In essence, I continue to study but the actual art work has to come first.
I have been fascinated with collage for many years. I tend to work with minimal elements and prefer geometric designs with activate white space. I also produce a more ‘looser’ aesthetic but again try to keep the elements to a minimum. My work explores personal themes and collected ideas; it visually comments on past memories and thoughts about the absurdity of life. I’m also interested in how humans present themselves to the world and what they hide – or keep otherwise secret. Life is surreal, unpredictable and often painful; this makes collage an ideal medium to express those hard facts.
I read an awful lot of books on the subject of Buddhism and I also read texts which discuss human nature. For example, at the moment I’m reading about the ‘Shadow’ which is theorised in Jungian psychology. I find that what I read inevitably presents itself in my work.
All images on this site are © 2017 John Washington