I recently contacted the painters George Lloyd Jones and Nettle Grellier to gain further insight into their creative world. The artists live in the Boonrig Studio – a beautiful beast of a lorry that the artists kitted out as a live/work space straight after graduating from their Fine Art degrees in 2015. The benefits were plentiful – a way of living simply, keeping hefty studio and accommodation rent costs at bay and easy access to wherever the road took them. They could drive their studio to wherever they wished, immersing themselves in all manner of colours and cultures. It led them to setting up a residency in rural Spain for a while, but now they are based in Cornwall, where they have firmly established themselves as full time artists and have been able to afford a studio to accommodate large works on canvas. In this feature George and Nettle paint a picture of a life that is romantic, adventurous, challenging and inspiring all in equal measure!
Both of our parents are artists so we grew up with creativity around us.
We both studied painting at the University of Brighton, George graduated in 2014 and Nettle in 2015.
Our work is about….
(Nettle) My paintings depict scenes of affectionate physical friendship, beyond what is considered conventional in stereotypical British/Western culture. I explore what it could mean if we treated each other like we all deserve to occupy space in the same way. With a focus on tender touches and bodies absorbed in gentle tasks side by side, I wish to pass on a feeling of safety to the viewer, encouraging them to reflect on their own experience of friendship and in the hope that they will take a feeling of empathy from the work. Often placing the subjects within a landscape that is somewhat barren, I am referring to the future of my generation and generations to come in the face of climate emergency. In the turbulence and disjointedness of society in today’s world, allowing space for others to exist comfortably side by side is key to collective progress.
(George) I paint in pursuit of my own visual language. My paintings are celebrations of the things in our lives that are rich in restorative energy; pattern, light, colour, warmth, friends, family, pets, plants, trees, landscape. I want my painting to present an intense vibration from which the viewer could draw similar energy as i draw from my subject matter.
We tend to make stretchers in batches….
It takes a few days hard work to build, stretch and prime them all. The best art days are after this when you have a lot of ideas and a lot of blank canvasses.
In our studio we would be lost without our….
…loud speakers and cups of tea.
If I could give any advice to my younger artist self it would be…..
Seek out the advice of artists who you admire, listen and be open.
The Boonrig was our way of becoming full time artists straight out of uni.
We knew that as an artist your income is sporadic so not having to pay rent and bills monthly would relieve a lot of pressure. More excitingly we aimed to have the freedom to travel and be open to any creative opportunities as they came up. We built it to basic living standard in the summer of 2015 and moved in that December, so this is our 4th year of life in a lorry and it’s developed along with our needs.
We only lived and worked in it for a year…
As we prepared for our first show in Barcelona, after which we rented a farm in Granada and set up a residency. Now we have a studio in Cornwall. We don’t do any of our main painting in the truck but we use it to explore and make preliminary drawings. We’ve filled it with lots of lovely things to draw and park it where we find there are equally lovely things to draw.
The Jackson’s Gloucester Warehouse is one of our favourite shops in the whole world.
(George) The Jackson’s Artist oil paint range is delicious. We both love the Thixotropic Fast Drying Medium and recently we’ve switched from turps to the Sennelier Green for oil thinner which is much nicer for us and the environment. The best is when there’s a good selection of Old Hollands or Michael Hardings in the sale area- we haven’t quite progressed to buying these new yet!
(Nettle) I have just been given a box of raw pigments and have been meaning to learn how make my own paint for a while so I’ve got my eye on a glass muller.
Header Image: The Boonrig Studio