Interview with Artist Terri Jones

13 February 2018

Terri Jones is located in Cwmbran, South Wales, UK. Here's our interview:
Hi Terri, thanks for talking to us today. Can you please describe your artwork style?
My style is unique, a mix of bright, modern mixed media techniques and traditional fine art.  My pieces always begin with a torn paper collage background, most of which is recycled from magazine and leaflets! The paper I use in the background sets the colour scheme and tone of the whole piece.  It is difficult for me to plan a piece in detail until I have the paper colours on the canvas, only then can I start to plan the other materials I will need for the layers of detail.  Once the paper background is done, I can start working on the layers.  I like to use a mixture of mediums, depending on the piece.  I love working with texture paints and gels.  One of my favourites is called 'Liquid Glass' (by DecoArt Media).  I also work in marker pen, metallic paints, hand stitching, 3D relief gels and seed beads.
What is your background?
I have never really had a clear plan of what I wanted to do in life! At college I was leaning towards animation - inspired by both the clay work at Aardman Animations and the groundbreaking digital work of Pixar Studios. At university (Northbrook College, Sussex) I chose to study theatre arts, working in 3D props and scenery construction.  I enjoyed working on large scale things and working out the best way to build something that was often fully functional.  After I returned to Wales, I had all these images of the beautiful Sussex coastline in my head and all I wanted to do was paint them.  I didn't want photographs, I wanted to display it as I saw it in my head.  Painting became an outlet for missing a part of the UK that I love as well as friends I had made there.  I worked mainly in acrylic paint on box canvas, until about two years ago when I started experimenting with mixed media.  I started off just adding small amounts of paper collage into my paintings.  I found it gave me a level of freedom I didn't have working with just paint.  Suddenly I discovered all these new products and mediums to try out that gave my work depth and texture that I couldn't achieve in just paint!
How long have you been an artist?
I have been painting and creating all my life thanks to my mum!  But I started painting on canvas about 13 years ago before moving into mixed media.
Who / what are your biggest influences?
I enjoy a wide variety of artwork and creative medias.  I have always enjoyed the abstract absurdity of Salvador Dali.  I love the curved, fluid shapes and clear colours of his work.  As I studied art more I became drawn to the work of Expressionists and Abstract Expressionist. Jackson Pollock is a favourite Abstract Expressionist artist of mine.  I love how spontaneous his pieces look, as well as all the details you find. This is an element I try to put into my work, being able to see different things every time you look at it. Expressionist art is bold, powerful and passionate.  The colours are striking and from a simplistic pallet, with lots of use of primary colours.  Even though they are often simplistic, there is still texture and shape.  You can see the brushstrokes and imagine the artist creating the piece.  At college I discovered H.R Giger and the Chapman brothers, Jake and Dinos.  Giger's work is so complex and captivating, almost mathematical in its detail and clear lines.  The Chapman brothers create huge scale artwork, from tiny models in intricate detail; often with a deeper underlying meaning.  Their work is powerful and thought provoking.  
I like colour and detail.  I like art that makes you feel something, or that has a meaning or story behind it.  I enjoy delving into a piece to find out more, knowing that there's more than meets the eye!
I am inspired by the world around me.  I work mainly in landscapes, beaches, areas of natural beauty, city-scapes etc.  I love recreating the waves of the ocean and the texture of the pebbles and sand on the beach. I also like to spend time working on the clouds, giving them a texture that you can reach out and touch.
Where do you create your work?
I work from home.  One day I hope to have a studio space, but for now it's the kitchen table!  There I have all my paints, markers and materials to hand so I can pick and choose what I want, as well as being able to change between mediums quickly.
What do you feel is the role of the artist in society?
Art is such a personal thing, everyone seeks something different from it.  For me, my art is a record of places that have inspired me, things I have seen and feelings I have felt.  Getting to share these things is a wonderful thing!  I think art should have meaning and purpose.  It should be something you want to look at everyday, something that makes you happy. 
What techniques / mediums do you use?
My art is very hands on.  The paper collage base is all applied by hand, as well as a lot of the paint work.  I like to apply thick layers of texture paints and gels with pallet knives.  Often we are told not to touch art, but I like to make mine hardy and tactile.
Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting or the way it is executed?
Subject matter is important to me.  I need to feel inspired and to enjoy working on a piece.  For me the medium and execution isn't planned.  I use what I need to create the look I want for each part.  Sometimes I think I know what direction I am going in, just to change my mind at the last minute! Often I will end up using a large number of materials in just a small area in order to achieve the look or texture that I want. I wont stop until I am happy with each part.
How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on canvas?
My aim is to let the viewer see things through my eyes.  I want them to see what inspired me to create that piece, to show them all the tiny details that I noticed.  I want them to feel what I felt and relieve my experience through my artwork.  I want to remind people of their own memories of their favourite places.
What project are you working on now?
I have recently finished two pieces of work based on Blaen Bran, Wales.  I worked on both simultaneously, as I wanted to keep the colours and feel of each piece similar.  You can enjoy them together or as separate pieces. 
15. Is there a piece you are most proud of? Why?
'Awaiting the Tide' is a piece I did for an outdoor exhibition in Haverfordwest called, 'Breaking Out of the Gallery'.  It was a large piece, my first on board instead of canvas.  So I had to rethink a few of my usual techniques, to make them suitable for board.  It was harder to work on as it was so heavy and harder to maneuver than a canvas! But the end result was fantastic and I was able to visit Haverfordwest and see it on display in the town.  It is based on Tenby, which is a favourite place of my children.  We have visited many times now and it's such a beautiful part of West Wales, it's hard not to be inspired! Most people choose to capture the view in the other direction of the colourful houses and the harbor, but I thought I would try something different and chose the dry dock on the way to the beach instead.
How do you know when a piece is finished?
I will keep adding detail and texture until I get to a point where I no longer feel anything is missing.  It isn't planned and sometimes the process ends abruptly.  As i'm nearing the end of a piece, I like to leave it somewhere where I will pass it several times a day.  Details will jump out at me that need to be worked on.
Is there an element of art you enjoy working with the most? Why?
I love creating pieces of places I visited as a child, or have visited with my own children.  It's like I'm creating a piece of my history.  I love doing beaches and funfairs, happy places.  I want to remind people of their own memories when they visited these places.
You can contact her here: [email protected]

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