“I call it best view” says Jayson Lilley when I ask him about the giant two metre long print resting on the workbench in his studio. “It’s of Primrose Hill in London and I just love it, I can see all my favourite buildings from there.”
We are talking at his home just outside Sevenoaks in Kent. After living in London for years, the country life has finally beckoned. It’s a change that seems to have done him good “I get a lot more done now” he tells me. Away from the distractions of his favourite city he can now spend more time re-creating images of it.
Jayson’s work is striking to look at! The print resting in his studio is shimmering due to the layers of gold leaf which have been overlaid in place of the sky. It dominates the vista above Primrose Hill. The image itself made up of hundreds of individual photographs which he’s stitched together using photoshop.
Creating the final image is painstaking. Photographing every building and tree individually, it’s the only way he can get a crisp, flat image of the whole scene. The edition that he produces will be based on the final picture he manages to recreate. Then for every copy he will apply the gold leaf and hand finish. No wonder he needed to get out into the country, each print takes the best part of a week to produce.
Always a keen artist, Jayson’s schooling centered around his love of art. Falling behind at school in the more traditional subjects due to his dyslexia. It was a condition not widely recognised at the time and so teachers instead preferred to label him as having learning difficulties. The lack of understanding held him back in some areas but art became an outlet, the one area in which he could excel.
He talks with passion about his dyslexia noting that now having experienced stigma himself he is now in a position to support others. “It wasn’t recognised or addressed as it is now” he tells me. “But that’s why I’m quite proud of mentioning it to people… I get contacted by kids that are dyslexic and they’re quite interested in what I do. It’s a way of telling people that it might all be going a bit shit at school but there is a way out and it’s not a bad thing.”
EVERYTHING STARTS WITH BATTERSEA
Architecture is another passion! Perhaps unsurprisingly given the focus that he gives it within his art. In particular he likes brutalist buildings like the Trellick Tower in West London. “Other people hate them” he tells me “but I love them”. His favourite though by some way is Battersea Power Station. The view of the cooling towers and the shape the building makes against the sky is something he keeps going back to.
“Everything starts with Battersea” he tells me. The Primrose Hill image is one such example. The first image he used to start creating that landscape was the one of the power station. Elsewhere, his tribute to the iconic building can be seen in the cream colouring of the towers. He uses the same colour in the background of his prints. It’s another simple tribute to the tower. Not often overt, but its there. For Jayson every piece really does start with Battersea.
Jayson Lilley was interviewed at his home in Sevenoaks and the full version can be heard on our Art Related Nonsense podcast with Art Republic. You can download the podcast for either itunes or android by clicking on the links.