Jon graduated from Kings College, University of London in 1982 with a degree in Geology, specialising in vertebrate palaeontology and stratigraphy and worked as a natural science and archaeological book illustrator from 1984 to 2005. Since 2006 Jon’s work changed flavour becoming more conceptual exploring the ‘hidden or layered’ and playing with perceptions of what is normal or what is inaccessible in a wide range of media. As a geologist by training, Jon’s seeking of the ‘concealed’ in his art often reveals his Aspergers naturally systematic thinking via his inclination and ability to uncover systems within everyday interactions and landscapes. His current work weaves photography, video, sound recording and digital sound and visual manipulation, 3D installations, traditional sculpture and illustration. He specialises in digital accessibility and social inclusive work.
Recent commissioned projects include – Look About – a two-year conceptual geology mapping and collecting project in response to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and Konfirmation Systemisation – a project funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award and commissioned by The Arts Catalyst after Jon was introduced to Professor Simon Baron Cohen at their Cheltenham Science Festival event ‘Alternative Ways of Thinking: Exploring the Autistic Mind’, where he was identified as a natural systemizer. Both these creatively driven, multi-layered projects weave together science and art, digital and analogue, his synaesthesia and autobiographical experiences. He has also worked on the 2014 play ‘Valley of Astonishment’ informing the theatrical research of international Director Peter Brook by explaining and exploring his personal experiences as a synaesthete with the cast.
Jon was awarded a RSA Fellowship n 2012 and serves on the Arts Council South West Area Council and a Director of the ‘Artist Access to Arts Collages’ scheme. He is also on the partnership board for Fratton BigLocal.
Since a young child sound has always had meaning above and beyond the source or the mere hearing – Jon feels it, becoming able to hold and embrace the sounds. He always subconsciously references his synaesthesia; often playing with ‘found sound’ samples including noise and through either computer or analogue transformative processes creates sound-works for installation or film. Jon uses a specific software process called ‘Granular synthesis’ which enables him to ‘hide’ and subvert the original sounds presenting them without aural reference to the original source. Granular synthesis the samples are split into grains and layered within soundscapes or clouds – the resulting timbres are sculpted and ‘played’. Jon also applies a similar process to his imagery, photographing everyday ‘patterns’ and transforming these into imagined landscapes and abstract maps. His sound cloud site name references ‘fragments reassembled’ in different timbres, colours and tones. Often he makes calming tones from noise in the form of slow changing repetitive minimalism, almost aural ‘stimming’ for someone with Aspergers. Whilst it’s never specifically about the Aspergers or dyslexia Jon uses them both intuitively throughout the process to control the sound shaping alongside the synaesthesia.