Third year Literature and History student Jack Coleman is currently exhibiting his work at the Anteros Arts Foundation Gallery in his first solo exhibition.
Photo: Will Cockram
Unusually, and rather enviably, artistic flair seems to run in the Coleman family: “My Dad and Grandma are both artists, so naturally they’ve been really supportive and I’ve always been involved in making art with them ever since I can remember. We actually had a joint exhibition a few years ago back home in Kent at the Whitstable gallery.”
Jack first began painting at a young age with his family, but it wasn’t until a few years later that he really started to develop the techniques evident in his exhibition: “I’ve always been interested in painting, but it was only really with GCSE and A Level that I began to hone my skills and see what I could develop and focus on.” Like a lot of GCSE art students Jack was drawn to bright colours and bold lines. “For my earlier pieces I didn’t really have any particular influences, I think I just had to get them out of my system. I wanted to create bright bold pieces and of course it’s very pop art, like a lot of people enjoy playing around with at that age.”
More recently Coleman has moved into painting landscapes, and took inspiration from “Wayne Thiebaud, an American who was around in the 1960s. His Californian landscapes, taken from above are really stylised with bold colours. And I thought that would be a great style to try on the landscapes that I enjoy working, with which are mainly Mediterranean, and so vibrant. So I looked in from above, really stylised them and tried to bring the colours out as fully as I could, and feel that in most of the pieces I have here that things have really come together.”
The majority of Coleman’s works are Oil on Canvas, and his skill in layering colour really is exceptional, particularly in his landscapes. “The right tones and the right combinations of colour are really all you need, and I’ve found that oil paint is best for achieving what I want. I’ve been painting in oil since I was about ten and sold my first piece at the same age.” Although a large portion of the exhibition is dedicated to his Mediterranean landscapes, portraiture is something the artist has been developing more recently. Several of the portraits on show are of his family members, and Venue could feel a real warmth and passion when he spoke of creating and developing them.
For someone in their final year of university and featuring in their first solo exhibition, thoughts inevitably turn to the future and art as a profession. “I’m a Lit-History student at UEA so obviously I enjoy those areas of study as well. In an ideal world I’d just be an artist and paint, but that seems pretty difficult in this day and age. I’m possibly going to do an MA after this degree in fine art just to take it a bit further and see what else I can do.”
On the overall exhibition, Coleman commented: “This collection of work ranges from recent landscapes to some early still life but it gives people an overall introduction and to me as an artist. I feel that the variety in the exhibition really shows my progression as an artist over the last five years.”
Jack Coleman’s exhibition ‘Introductions’ can be found at the Anteros Arts Foundation until the 21st of March, and Venue believes it’s definitely worth a look, so make sure you check out the free entry exhibition. Now, if only we had the budget to buy one of his pieces for the Concrete office!