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Jonathan Oakes Artist Logo

The theme behind most of my artwork is the emphasis of the true experience (the physical) compared to the illusionary experience (the virtual). The enclosure of the body from the elements, comforted in a self-made environment. The feeling of getting soaked by a thunderstorm on a hot summers day. Rather than sheltering behind double glazed windows in a centrally heated house, eating some real cheese flavoured reduced calorie, reconstituted potato crisps and drinking virtually fat free milk, whilst chatting to someone across the world via Zoom.

latex thumb piano scan

Mass communication

 Life in isolation 

abandoned building interior photograph

In my various projects I try to convey the importance of a realisation of being, an understanding of who we are through the identification of real, direct experiences. In contrast to synthetic experiences which alienate us in some greater or lesser degree from the natural world. For example, the differences between painting with a brush on a canvas and painting digitally with a stylus on an interactive screen.

Jonathan Oakes Artist

I miss the feeling of my cold, wet hands whilst washing out my brushes under the cold tap. My lower back starting to ache from too much bending. Stood watching as if entranced by the fading, watery paint rush down the oversized sink. Cold and sore the session finished.

robots clash goats

latex scan altered

Scanning a painting into a computer to brings together both the ‘real’ experience (the painting, complete with the moods and emotions of the artist), and the ‘non-real’, the digital element, the data. All the originality is sapped out of the artwork and is replaced by pixels. The data is stored in the computers memory, a difference of light and dark, binary, there and not there, no physical existence.

Never having the true experience, or never experiencing the truth. This is the illusion which humankind inherits, to be supreme over all things, ceasing to evolve due to arrogance, self praise and a self made environment. Disposable, but everlasting.

dried bucket

shampoos curve carrots

DJ image turntablist

When I asked my artist friend what his influences and inspirations were, he replied.

"The birds, the animals, the trees, the sun setting and rising the next day, the sound of a large explosion, the feel of someone else's skin, the fear of a big black dog, the heat of an injection, the stillness of a white room, the curl of smoke from a cigarette, the public phone box that rang on the way home that I didn't dare pick up, the texture in that wall on your left, the feeling that the world may end soon, the scream of an electric guitar, the scream of the kid being burnt by its mum two doors up, the feeling of despair, the feeling that I have been here before, the feeling that my dead dog is still running through the wood, the dream I had..."

I like to study anthropology and prehistoric cultures. 

Below is a random gallery of some inspirations. Most are named with what 3 words locations.

The thought starts when I laid out a selection of random photographs, a series of pictures related because of their position, formed into a sequence only by the viewer. We are trained to read the unrelated images in this way (left to right, top to bottom.) Looking at it in this way, each image represents a time or a stage in the sequence or story. Our reading of the images creates a built in path of recognition of otherwise separate, chaotic or confusing images. We are constantly searching for understanding or a narrative.

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