We’re on a mission to celebrate artists of all types and abilities. Our Featured Artist profiles are here to help inspire you to get creative and maybe learn a thing or two as well.

This week we’re introducing you to Jamie Kettle, 26, of Finsbury Park in London. Jamie is a Graphic Designer with a keen eye for abstract portraiture…

Jamie Kettle

How did you get started as an artist?

I’ve always been creative from an early age. One of my first memories is sketching with my Grandad as a kid, the majority of which was either trains or Michael Owen – two of the weird obsessions I had back then. I did my first painted commission when I was 18 of a Bob Marley portrait, although I didn’t really start painting regularly until after I’d graduated university and moved to London.

What inspires you to be creative?

Whether it’s within graphic design or fine art, I love the feeling of creating something that’s new and original that can have an impact on someone for whatever reason that may be. However, in terms of people, I’d say that my love of art stems from my dad and Grandad.

How would you describe your creative process?

I feel like I’m quite spontaneously creative. I’ve never been a huge fan of slow, methodical planning processes – when I get an idea I always want to throw myself into it and iterate on the go in fear of losing momentum, as that initial excitement of the ‘idea’ is the biggest rush for me.

What’s your favourite medium to work in and why?

The immediacy of pen and paper is always hard to beat as it’s the quickest way to visualise the idea, however within acrylics is where I find the process most exciting. Although I like to be precise, I prefer to be expressive and that’s what working within acrylics allows so well, building up layer upon layer and producing happy accidents that you never intended.

How to you tackle a blank canvas?

I’ve heard some people find this stage daunting, and I can see why due to the realisation of the enormity of the task ahead of you, but I actually prefer it. I see it as a ‘shackles off’ stage, given the fact that my paintings usually contain multiple layers, the early stages feel like a trial run where I can afford to be more expressive and ambitious with less consequence.

What do you find the most challenging about the creative process?

I’m usually quite restless whilst working. Maintaining concentration doesn’t come easily for me. I’ll sit down to paint and I’ll consciously be aware that I’m not fully in the groove until about half an hour in. Whether it’s people, a thought, or the fact I’m always hungry, I can get distracted easily in the early stages.

In which ways do you differentiate your work from that of other creatives?

In my day job I’m a graphic designer who specialises in data design, so I’ve always felt that I wanted to merge this with my paintings in some way. It’s so hard not to be influenced by others though in the digital age. All you can do is try to stay in your lane as best you can, so that when you stumble on your own unique idea it will feel all the more special.

What are your most essential tools?

Acrylics, palette knives, square brushes, sketchbook, masking tape and Adobe software for creating my initial mock up designs.

What’s your studio/workspace like?

I work out of my bedroom currently of a flat share in Finsbury Park and it’s definitely not the most ordered – canvas’ everywhere, protective tablecloths covering paint spots on the carpet (the deposit for which I am definitely not getting back), but I prefer organised chaos. I set up my easel next to the two glass double doors overlooking our garden. It’s a great spot that brings in so much natural light making it a pleasure to work at in the summer.

Do you have a favourite art tip that you can share with our readers?

Always document your ideas, you never know how they can evolve and formulate into something new in the future. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment. The comfort zone is a great place, but nothing ever grows there.

Where can our readers find out more about you?

You can find me, Jamie Kettle, over on Instagram. You can also download free tickets for my upcoming solo exhibition in Brick Lane on the 9th & 10th August.

Find out more about other amazing artists like Jamie Kettle on our other Artist Feature blogs such as Featured Artist Lana Arkhi.

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