Jake Grewal: Bold, Bright and Painting the Natural

It was great to catch up with artist Jake Grewal this week to get some more information about what he does and the inspiration behind his creations. Head downwards to see his scrumptious paintings. 

 
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Can you give us a quick overview of your background and the kinds of themes that your work addresses? 

Sure. I’m a painter based in South London. I graduated from The University of Brighton with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2016 and the greatest successes I’ve achieved were winning prizes in both The Nation Open Art Competition and The Woon Foundation Prize. My work revolves around the theme of man's contemporary relationship with the natural and the landscape.  

 
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The process of creating an artwork from start to finish can be incredibly therapeutic. Is this so for you? How do you feel when making work? 

If only. Whenever I create work I go through three stages, a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning is the most fun. This is where I get to be gestural and loose in my paint application. It normally dictates the colours, composition and overall dynamic of the piece. The middle is the most challenging. This is typically when I want to tear the canvas off the wall and burn it. Problems in the work are highlighted and more often than not adjustments and reworking’s are needed. The end is the time where I can’t wait for it to be over. It’s like having to spell checking your essay, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Though laborious and emotional painting is when I’m most happy and content, despite the turmoil and melodrama. 

 
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You once said "Nothing is really natural". What do you mean by this?

I think I probably meant truly natural. Though the sentiment is the same. It’s a reflection on the fact that man has great influence over the natural, for example destroying the landscape through human caused forest fires or closely monitoring endangered species. It’s to do with the fact that even in the most remote parts of the world humans have damaged or affected the ecosystems. Take for instance the Great Pacific Garbage patch. This is part of the ocean where non-biodegradable micro-plastics are collected and trapped within swirling vortexes beneath the sea.  Fish then eat the miniscule bits of plastic and absorb their toxic properties and following the food chain, we eat the fish. In the middle of the ocean where there are no human inhabitants we have managed to make our mark. As I paint landscapes I carry this notion into my work as a comment on and progression of the legacy of landscape painting. My favorite quote to illustrate this point is from Robert Smithson, “Nature is simply another eighteenth and ninetieth century fiction”. 

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What can we expect to see from you in 2018? 

Currently I’m showing two works in a group show in The Garden Room at St Barnabas’s House, Soho. This was curated by The Earth Issue whose focus is on artists who work at the intersection of fine art and environmentalism. They raise awareness for the beauty in nature. These works will be up until late July however it is a members club so it isn’t accessible to the public unless you enquire about the Art Tour. I’m unsure as to what the rest of 2018 holds in store. I think my work will be a continuation of my landscape paintings whist experimenting conceptually and expanding my subject matter. Nature will still be a theme but I’m also interested in adding aspects of folk law, fairytale, and human ritualization. I think it could make for interesting narratives.  I’m also thinking about putting on a show or two this year though the prospect is quite daunting. All in all I’m excited for the rest of the year. It should be a good one. 

Follow Jake @jakegrewal