5 Good Things - Jonathan Lawes, London

5 Good Things - Jonathan Lawes, London

"My overshirt is my go-to item in my studio. I love that it’s cream and shows a story of my work with all the paint over it".

Five Good Things catches up with various creatives from around the globe to hear their stories and their recommendations for inspiration or places to visit in their city. Today, we’re talking with London born artist and designer Jonathan Lawes, to welcome him to the first issue of 'Five Good Things.'

We're always sharing other people's work in the Uskees office. One day, we came across the work of Jonathan Lawes, and immediately, we all agreed that his aesthetic, colour, shape, and design hit the nail right on the head with what we're all about.

I’m Jonathan Lawes, an artist & designer based in south east London. I specialise in the screen printing process and create works that reflect my love of colour & shape.

London and Berlin are two cities rich in their multicultural populations, attracting artists and creatives from all over the world.

Berlin is the mecca for street art, and London is bursting at the seams with its array of museums and galleries. So, for an artist who has lived in both cities, you'd imagine they're not short of inspiration.

You spent 10 years living in Berlin, as an artist that must have been a great city to live in, how does it compare to London?

Berlin is a lot more laid back than London, with less people and more space to breath. I do miss it sometimes, but I've moved on from that part of my life and it was good to come to London and pursue my career further.

Your studio looks like the perfect place for you to create, you must get a great sense of freedom in your own space?

I absolutely love my studio. I only moved into this bigger space at the end of last summer, but it’s allowed me the space to really push the boundaries of my work. It’s right by the Thames Barrier and offers the perfect setting - my own creative hub right by the water.

What inspires you to create?

That’s a tough one to put my finger on. I think it just comes naturally, from within. I am pretty obsessed with the screen printing process and am always on the look out for developing the ways I work.

It’s great that you give something back to those who want to learn from you, could you tell us a bit about the workshops you run?

I run private screen printing workshops for people of all levels. Whether you’re a complete beginner and want to try something new, or want to learn a bit more and hone your skills. It can also be beneficial for me too - it’s interesting to see the way different people approach it and the colour combinations they choose. 

Jonathan's work may have originated from printed textiles and surface pattern design, but it's certainly not confined to that. Over the years, his list of clients has expanded, undertaking projects for companies such as COS, The Conran Shop, Gandia Blasco, Petit-Pli, and Joseph Joseph.

You often hear a lot of artists say what they’re working on at the moment is their favourite piece to date, is that the case for you? What are some stand out pieces for you of your work?

I’m quite productive and like to create a lot of work. I thoroughly enjoy screen printing and that drives me to do more and more. I’m currently working on a collection of pieces for an upcoming solo show at The Vanner Gallery in Salisbury. It has been a great experience working with David, the gallery owner, and I’m looking forward to showing the array of work on different mediums that I have done. 

The world of geometric artwork certainly has its big names — Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, and Gottfried Honegger come to mind — each with their own style and flair. You'd think it would be difficult to bring something new to the table, but Jonathan definitely has his own vision.

What drew you to working with geometric shapes and patterns?

It was a natural draw, really. I’ve always had a fascination with it - how things line up and fit together, the bright colours you can add to that. It just suits me very well.

Are there any particular artists that have inspired you over the years?

Too many to choose from. But to name a few - Joseph Albers, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg. 

Do you find yourself attending many exhibitions and are there any coming up that you’re looking forward to? 

There’s a great one coming up in Salisbury at the end of March! But yes, I do enjoy going to exhibitions and seeing works up-close. Sometimes I just need to be aware of my ‘work-mode’ taking over - I need time to switch off and enjoy the exhibition for what it is, rather than inspiring me to create new work.

Jonathan wears the ultimate blank canvas. The #3001 overshirt in Cream, unforgiving to specks of paint, every drop tells a story. 

I want something practical, good-fitting, and comfortable, and that is exactly what Uskees offers. My overshirt is my go-to item in my studio. I love that it’s cream and shows a story of my work with all the paint over it.

Now, onto five good things. Jonathan recommends five good things to check out in and around his city, London — as well as a couple of bits he’s enjoying at the moment.

Hidden spots for inspiration around your city?

The Thames Path, right outside my studio. It provides a real sense of space and time to think. 

A museum/gallery in your city you’d recommend?

White Cube in Bermondsey. And also Hauser & Wirth on Savile Row. 

An album you’d be lost without?

Beach Fossils - What A Pleasure

A book on your shelf you're always returning to?

Joseph Albers in Mexico - full of his photography and experiments in abstract art. 

Best place for food in your city?

I always love a trip to The Eagle in Farringdon. It’s what a real pub should be.



Thank you, Jonathan, for kicking us off in the first edition of Five Good Things.

If you're inspired by Jonathan's work and want to find out more, you can visit his website at jonathanlawes.com or check out his Instagram @jonathanlawes.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the next edition of Five Good Things, coming to a city near you.


Photo credits -
@figure.film @cutmeupjimmy @michaelacedeno⁠
Thames Path Photography © Copyright Malc Macdonald