First Im­pres­sions

From build­ing sites to Vic­to­rian Clas­si­cism, Patrick’s art jour­ney has brought him far

ImagineFX - - Contents - Patrick J Jones

We talk to Patrick J Jones.

You’re a kid, you see a paint­ing that changes ev­ery­thing; where are you and what’s the paint­ing?

My Un­cle Jim sent me to the lo­cal newsagent with a shiny 50 pence piece to buy the lat­est is­sue of The Sav­age Sword of Co­nan #4. The year was 1975, and the cover art­work by Boris Vallejo changed my life.

Which per­son helped you get your first break as an artist?

Against all odds, art di­rec­tor Janette Di­a­mond from Or­bit Books gave me my first break. I had naively left Ire­land to be an artist, but I didn’t know any­one in the art busi­ness and ended up work­ing on build­ing sites while liv­ing alone in a Lon­don bed­sit. I spent a week’s wages on pro­mo­tional post­cards and sent them out cold to all the pub­lish­ing houses, sim­ply ad­dressed to ‘the art di­rec­tor’. Back then there was no in­ter­net. I didn’t have a clue. Just when I had all but given up hope, Janette got in touch with me.

Was there any­one you re­mem­ber who tried to get in your way?

No one re­ally, but there have been some sour en­coun­ters. In the early days I built up the courage to ring a fa­mous sci-fi artist who was pretty pompous and an­gry at my gall. That was the first time I’d ever talked to a real artist, but a few months later I met an­other fa­mous artist, Chris Achilleos, and he was just ter­rific. We hung out to­gether for a short time and I was in awe of him. Over­all, there are more good than bad folks in the fan­tasy/sci-fi art com­mu­nity.

What was your first paid com­mis­sion?

A black and white il­lus­tra­tion for a glossy sci-fi mag­a­zine called Ex­tro, which was pub­lished in Belfast. I metic­u­lously shaded the art with a ball­point pen. An art di­rec­tor asked me whether it was air­brushed art. That was a clue, so I bought an air­brush and did the next art­work in no time at all.

What are your paint­ing rit­u­als?

Pro­cras­ti­na­tion, cof­fee, then a delve into art books for in­spi­ra­tion un­til the clock tells me to stop mak­ing ex­cuses. Then I start paint­ing and don’t stop un­til around 7:30pm. If I left out the pro­cras­ti­na­tion I would have a reg­u­lar nine-to-five rou­tine.

Paint­ing art sure beats the hell out of dig­ging holes in the win­try streets of Lon­don

Is your art al­ways evolv­ing?

Al­ways. I’m be­com­ing more and more in­ter­ested in Vic­to­rian Clas­si­cist method­ol­ogy, which is re­flected in my lat­est works, such as The Cap­tive.

What’s your most re­cent ex­per­i­ment?

Wa­ter-sol­u­ble oils.

Do you re­mem­ber the first im­age where you felt you’d nailed it?

Dark­dreamer back in 2008 felt like a turn­ing point. I knew my fan­tasy art he­roes at the first Il­luXCon would see it, so I pulled out all the stops.

What ad­vice would you give to your younger self to aid you on the way?

Go to life-draw­ing classes.

What sucks about the in­dus­try?

Art di­rec­tion by com­mit­tee.

Why is it still the best in­dus­try to be in­volved in?

Paint­ing art for a liv­ing sure beats the hell out of dig­ging holes in the win­try streets of Lon­don.

Who’s the first liv­ing artist you turn to for in­spi­ra­tion?

Boris Vallejo. I still have the orig­i­nal Co­nan mag­a­zine that lit the spark, all crum­pled and worn. Through the hard times it stayed with me as a re­minder to hang onto the dream. It re­cently made its way to Boris’s home where he signed it. It now hangs framed on my stu­dio wall.

What’s the first thing you teach a pupil?

Don’t be afraid to make mis­takes.

What are your plans for the next decade?

To help bring beauty back to the art world. Clas­si­cal art has seen a huge resur­gence, yet schools still teach mostly mod­ern art tech­niques. I re­cently filmed ev­ery stage of the oil paint­ing Co­nan the Con­quered, avail­able to down­load from my web­site as Mas­ter­class ses­sions. Also, Korero Press will pub­lish the first of two books on my art this year. These two events mark an im­por­tant be­gin­ning to my work as a teacher and as an ex­po­nent of clas­sic oil paint­ing and the fan­tas­tic.

This year, Patrick will be ex­hibit­ing in the main show at Il­luXCon and will also be Artist Guest of Honor at Dragon Con in At­lanta. See more of his work at www.pjart­

co­nan the con­quered Patrick recorded each stage in the process of cre­at­ing this oil paint­ing for in­clu­sion in his Mas­ter­class ses­sions, which are avail­able to buy on his web­site.

dark­dreamer Patrick upped his game to pro­duce Dark­dreamer, which was shown at the first Il­luXCon in 2008.

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