Broadway’s own Jeremy Houghton has achieved great success over the years and this year is certainly no different.
It’s hard to believe this successful artist nearly didn’t pursue a career in art at all. In the early 90’s Jeremy was studying for a degree in law, at the University of Exeter, after following advice to get a ‘proper job’. However after spending most of his time at university in the back of his camper van which he used as a mobile studio, he soon realised he would only be truly happy doing what he loved. He finished his degree then began his career in art studying at the Slade school of fine art, before becoming head of art at the international school of Cape Town.
It was during his time in Cape Town that he found inspiration for his numerous pieces obscurely picturing flocks of flamingos. The elegant birds became a passion of Houghton’s as he observed them en mass in their natural habitat along the South African coastline. He found it fascinating watching the heat merge with the air and water around them, transforming them into a shimmering mirage that distorted the birds to abstraction. It’s no wonder Houghton felt so compelled by this natural phenomenon that he painted many pieces depicting this miraculous scene.
Walk this way by Jeremy Houghton
Houghton describes his time in Cape Town as a boy to man experience. When he returned at the age of 30, he felt he had found his identity and was ready to pursue the life he wanted. Since then Houghton has gone on to achieve great success. He has worked as artist in residence for H.M The Queen and H.R.H The Prince of Wales, as well as being the official artist for London Fashion week 2008, The London 2012 Olympics and Wimbledon 2017. The artists success has continued this year as he returns to Wimbledon as their official artist for the second year running, as well as producing artwork to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Royal Air Force.
When Houghton was approached to be the Wimbledon championship artist again this year, he could hardly refuse. Tennis is one of his great loves and he even coached the sport in his student days to help fund his painting trips abroad. His work at this years tournament focused on creating a visual narrative to depict what goes on both on and off the court. As Houghton’s work often concentrates around movement he was able to capture the intensity and speed of the matches. He does this through a process of sketching and taking photographs. While court side, Houghton makes as many sketches as he can, and has a short hand to remind him of any little details. These sketches partnered with photographs allows him to create these truly fascinating pieces of art work. He uses blank white canvas as a negative space to represent light and carefully balances the level of detail in his paintings to create a remarkable sense of dynamism and fluidity. The paintings, which Houghton has created from this year’s Wimbledon championship will be displayed in a special 150th anniversary exhibition at the All England Club in September where proceeds will go towards the Wimbledon foundation.
Wimbledon 2017 by Jeremy Houghton
Houghton also found inspiration for his paintings, from the stories of his grandfathers time in the army. Despite not wanting to follow in his grandfathers footsteps, as he hates being told what to do, he has great respect for the institution and enjoys painting our great war heroes. For his latest project Houghton has created a series of fantastic paintings and sketches to commemorate the centenary of the Royal Air Force. Although his focus covers a wide range of subjects, from sports to portraiture and from nature to community activities and his style varies from semi-abstract to representational, his technique is consistent and what is most noticeable, of course, is his signature use of ‘negative space’. The absence of the medium in Houghton’s work represents both light and the space that exists between subjects, a space that cannot be experienced when a canvas is entirely filled with paint.
Boys to men by Jeremy Houghton
For more information on Jeremy Houghton, and works of art available at Trinity House please contact Noah Warren.
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