Jill Leighton is not a 'visual artist' in any conventional understanding of the term; in fact, she is a professional musician. Jill graduated from Goldsmiths University of London in 2005 with a honours degree in music, and began to develop her career as a singer songwriter.

 

After writing and performing world wide for over a decade, Jill took a hiatus from music, and began to make art; her creative spirit found another channel.

Jill started making images, tentatively at first, not doodles, but there was no particular sense of direction in the works.  However over a couple of years of trial and error, a number of motifs began to emerge spontaneously, developing in intensity and scale as they took on a life of their own and blossomed into the works we now see.

The images are not part of any recognisable art 'movement', they don't subscribe to any particular artistic 'style'. They could be fitted into the categories of Outsider Art, Naive Art, Visionary Art, or even Folk Art but only as round pegs in square holes. Although there may be superficial resemblances between some of these images and a wide variety of artistic traditions - ranging from Pictish and Celtic art to1960s psychedelic art, and kaleidoscopic and fractal pattern making - none of these have inspired Jill's practice. One can recognise possible sources of inspiration however; for example Jill spent her childhood in Papua New Guinea and throughout Asia,  so perhaps the colours, the patterns encountered early in her life have found their way into the work. And her music is literally staring us in the face; her compositions display harmony and dissonance, rhythm and pace, mood, tonality; examples of the  vocabularies shared by music and visual art. 

 

Jill has developed her own unique 'style';  typically  frameworks of strong angular background armatures that can hardly support the soft but relentless pressure of the supple plants, ranging from seaweed and mushrooms to convolvulus and iris, whose growth seems to have been responsible for the background fragmentations or crystallizations. The images are also 'layered' in that the powerful 'architectural' forms that serve to hold them together, progressively dwindle down through identifiable forms such as the plants, their stems and petals to tiny dots of colour and the finest of hairs twisting in an invisible breeze. Jill's uncanny ability to orchestrate the unlikeliest colour combinations to form  her images may remind us of music - crazy jazz, serene sonatas, sad laments, dissonant modernism, mesmerising minimalism - where the same twelve (in Western music) notes can be endlessly recombined, and remixed,  just like colour combinations elaborated from a few primary (red, yellow, blue) and secondary (orange, green, purple) tints and shades. Finally, each of Jill's creations has what she calls an 'energy point' that triggers the explosions that adorn each individual work. 

Jill regularly creates bespoke commissions for a variety of clients. She has collections currently throughout the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Estonia, New York and Los Angeles. 

© 2019 by Jill Leighton