Since first seeing Jethro Buck’s work come off our printers at theprintspace, we’ve been huge fans of his beautiful and detailed art works. Reproducing his artworks on our Giclee papers has been a pleasure and we’re excited to interview Jethro about his artwork and his relationship with his meduim.
Hey! Please introduce yourself and what you do!
Hello I’m Jethro and I am a painter. Back in 2012 I travelled to India to study Indian miniature painting under the tutelage of a Master miniaturist from Jaipur (Ajay Sharma). I now apply these ancient techniques to my practice back in England.
Tell me a little bit about your current project.
I have just got back from Italy where I have been painting a mural and I am working towards a solo exhibition taking place at a gallery called The Crane Kalman gallery. A constant theme running through my work at the moment is the idea of the ‘axis mundi’- (which refers to a symbolic mythological center of the world).
What are the pros and cons you find daily about your practice?
The freedom that comes with being my own boss is great but requires serious self-discipline. The income is not steady but I am doing what I love. I now sell prints so there is some income in between exhibitions.
Painting miniatures is hard and each part of the process takes a long time but this is part of why I do it. Making tiny marks requires all my concentration so there’s no option but to be completely present in the action. You have to slow down which sometimes feels count erintuitive but paradoxically more is done this way.
When is the best time to work to get those creative juices going?
A lot of ideas come when the working hat comes off and when I’m in a more relaxed, playful state. The actual making of the work needs a lot of concentration and studio hours.
I am by nature a night owl. I think a lot of artists are…when the rest of society is winding down the creatives tend to come out.
When everything is quiet and I am tired I seem to get more done. It’s just me and the work. It sometimes takes a whole day to finally get in the zone. A lot of my work is of a repetitive nature and once I am settled I can carry on into the night. I’ve worked on a lot of nocturnes recently so it seems appropriate to work in the midnight hours for those ones, lots of blues and blacks.
I’m trying to be more of a morning person though, I try to assimilate ideas and objectives in the morning when things are calm before the studio hours begin.
What is it about your practice that you find so exciting and keeps you hooked?
The creative process by nature is explorative, so every time I do a painting I learn something new about myself, the world around me and my relationship to it.
I like the Alan Watts quote:
“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”
If you could experiment with any other medium, what would you choose?
I am free to experiment with all mediums and as an artist you have to choose which ever medium is best for the particular message at hand. I am a painter so I try to stick to paint, it’s good to limit oneself in order to perfect the craft and to distill ideas. Painting is a very versatile medium.
I love colour. Colour is light and light is colour so I would like to do more work directly with light at some point. I’ve made light boxes in the past and might again soon.
What makes you wake up each morning feeling pumped to create some new work?
It just feels like this is what I am meant to be doing. Each day is a process of shortening the gap between an imagined idea and the material realisation of it. It feels like a magical process when it’s working and a painful one when it’s not but you have to keep going either way, the same way nature does.
Are there any artists/photographers/writers/filmmakers or musicians where you have in mind when looking at creating new works?
There are countless people who inspire me – too many to list. If I could make anything half as good as Nainsukh, a Pahari painter from the 1700’s or the artists woking in the Indian Mughal ateliers then I would be very happy!
I am aways indebted to my teacher Ajay.
What are you currently working on that you just can’t get enough of?
Trees – I love their size, their verticality, their life span and their universality as symbols for life and interconnectedness.
I keep using gold in my work at the moment too. I started using it for small highlights then became increasingly interested in it for symbolic reasons but it’s a fine line, right now I’m just obsessed with how shiny it is. :/ I might turn into gollum if I’m not careful,… ‘precious’.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to make a career out of your given practice?
Keep working consistently, it’s good to keep the ball rolling, if the inspiration isn’t there work anyway until it is.
What’s next for you?
The main plan is to keep painting.
I really like what one of my tutors (David Cranswick) recently said “artist’s don’t create they participate”; as long as painting feels like the most appropriate way for me to participate in the universe I intend to do so.