Born in 1985, Jonny Gillard grew up around art, music, writers and weridos. Both his gran and his mother were painters, and he always liked drawing cartoons growing up. School was a struggle for Jonny, and his art teacher was very negative toward his approach, which eventually led him to stop drawing for a few years.
Whilst at college he figured the only subject that he could do 2 years worth of work in a one month period, was art. The teacher at college, Denise, was incredibly encouraging, leading him to draw and draw. Jonny was doing a lot of drugs at the time, which may have been a help or a hindrance, but regardless, he got the grades. He then moved to Nottingham with his band for four years, steadily increasing the old drug intake (no longer a problem that Jonny contends with), working at a 999 call centre and as a roulette croupier, before returning home with tail between his legs. Eventually, he went back to college to study art history before moving to Leeds to study at degree level.
In need of some cash, he started drawing portraits. Jonny said, “I’d always loved the work of Auerbach, Picasso and Schiller so they were a large influence.” After getting a few people in the public eye to either write about him or commission his work, he seemed to get a relatively steady stream of interest (visit Jonny’s Facebook Page to see the vast array of unique portraits – including Mike Tyson, Martin Scorsese, and Tom Waits).
Jonny’s work tends to be driven by the theory that speed and simplicity are integral. Don’t use 10 colours when one will do. Don’t spend more than a few hours on a portrait. Don’t use hundreds of tools. “Occam’s Razor is a theory I admire”, he said, “If two equations give the same answer, use the shortest. That’s not to say I don’t admire complex work. If given the choice between owning a Gillard or a Caravaggio, I’d probably vote Italian, but it is the style I’m currently working in.”