by Javier Melian; ChromArt co-founder
Jason Pengelly turned up one day in the London art scene and immediately caught a lot of people's attention, like a newcomer to a party that everyone pretends not to notice whilst they find ways to force an introduction. His art is a good reflection of his personality; happy, warm, solid and adventurous. Ever since I met him I've watched him going from strength to strength, building up from his background in carpentry and joinery, and it makes me wonder what the future holds for someone with such talent and determination.
There are many reasons why I love Pengelly's work. I can summarise them as genuine well executed bold uncomplicated pop. Pop it's called pop for a reason, and it's a genre that continues to be relevant, specially loved by art lovers as it's that kind of art that makes a house a home; art you want to live with and socialise around. Just as much renaissance and baroque artists painted goddesses and saints, pop artists paint modern icons. It's a canon, it's a style and a powerful narrative.
Popular is a fitting word to describe Pengelly too, as he was talked about by pretty much everyone that attended our #TRIBE15 Festival. Architects and designers have requested his works for past and future projects, as they know first hand how much a good art work can transform a space and quickly become a focus point. Jason Pengelly deserves to do well as he's got tones of imagination, is a perfectionist, works hard, is committed and professional.
It was a strike of luck that injury that made him return to art, as It would be a waste of talent otherwise. This is just a beginning for him, but whatever he does he will always have our full support.
Above Pengelly's latest work "Together We are One"; A formidable ensemble of 1600 individually painted blocks frame in neon green acrylic. 110 x 110 cms.
Questioned about his beginnings, Jason tells us "At the age of 16 I started an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. This fulfilled all of my needs as a typical young male. To be able to take a pile of wood and literally build or create something with it". Pengelly has worked in different locations around the country but mainly around his home in the South Hams, a beautiful area of South Devon. "I've designed, made & fitted numerous kitchens, staircases, pieces of furniture along with the usual windows and doors over the past 20+ years" he says.
Jason Pengelly fell out of love with art in the nineties and fell back in love with it two years ago. Working predominantly with stencils, be it simple two layer white on black or more intricate multi layer – multi colour methods. Spray paint is his preferred medium, however acrylics and emulsions interest him along with the various methods of application, be it brush, roller or directly with his fingers. Currently exploring the human body and how to translate how he perceives it onto canvas or board using smooth flowing lined stencils. Pengelly works from Kingsbridge, South Devon, the location of his first exhibition as part of ‘The Eclectic Collective’. He has since exhibited at #TRIBE15 in London with Chrom-Art.
Jason's 'Jim in Pieces' made for #TRIBE15, painted on a hundred 10cm squares of plywood, mounted on a backing board at different heights to give this piece an added dimension. He also framed it himself.
Pengelly considers himself primarily a lover of art who's been able to spend recent times experimenting with various techniques focusing mainly on stencilling and free style spray can work. A serious shoulder problems and surgery meant an extended break from his day job of joinery, furniture design and build was necessary. With an active mind and less active body he's been exploring the hands on side of the art world, "I must say I love it" he tells us.
"I've always admired the guile, courage & temerity of graffiti artists such as Blek Le Rat and of course Banksy. I like to produce striking images without overloading on detail (less is definitely more with me!)" he says. Pengelly uses the timeless blacks and whites together, as well as creating geometric patterns full of colour. His art is an extension of a mind that is constantly looking to satisfy his own curiosity.
Jason started doing stencils totally by chance. He'd always admired street art and artists. Their vision and cunning to get their work in some very public and sometimes dangerous locations.
"I had bought some spray paint for a multi coloured table that I'd designed and made and it went from there. Plenty of plywood off cuts would get sprayed up and more often than not, ruined. But being my own boss it didn't matter too much" he confesses.
His love is not just colour but contrasts too, and how you can work relatively quickly and achieve great results. Jason always wanted to work on a large scale and as he's grown in confidence his work has become bigger and bolder. He admires many styles of art, from the old masters through to the likes of Banksy. "I feel more suited to the street art style as when I get a flash of inspiration I need to see the end result as soon as possible. I wouldn't say I was impatient, more enthusiastic and excited to see if my ideas work" he continues.
Asked about his source of inspiration, Jason doesn't know where his ideas come from. He very often starts a piece and it totally evolves, more often than not changing direction more than once . An example of this is the peacock he painted a while ago; this stencil was going to be a cubist explosion but after he'd sprayed the initial layer Jason saw the peacock evolving and that was that.
"I'm not sure who said it but it goes: 'an artist shouldn't be paid for his time, but for his inspiration' this is quite ironic as in my day job it's the other way round. Time is everything - money money money" he jokes.
Jason Pengelly's works "Jim in Pieces" and "#Tits" adorning the walls at Ransome's Docks, our unique collaboration with CLPD architects. Chom-Art provided art for the marketing of these two bespoke riverside apartments, in a exclusive complex that used to be Victoria Beckham's atelier.
Jason's spontaneity comes to light when asked about his style. "I'm still in the very early days of being an artist. To be truthful it's still very experimental almost satisfying a typical males curiosity. I like to create stencils that are relatively crisp and sharp, being a joiner I like things to be just so. On the other hand when I feel like having a blowout I just get some colour together and see where we end up, quite impulsive really" he says.
"The human body is full of features that can be picked out, be it the face or any other area. I like to challenge myself to create an image using the most minimal amounts of paint, I feel that the mind is a powerful thing, it can finish an image for you in many different ways. So I'm starting the image process with paint and the individual's mind can finish the job by how it interprets it", Pengelly reflects.
Our final question is about his artistic dreams, to which he responds "I'd love to make a career in the art world, it gives great freedom to produce as and when you can, it fills me with joy to see the look on someone's face when they see a piece for the first time." The joy is ours. We leave Jason working in his studio, looking forward to continue sharing his art with you.