In conversation with Bath based artist Maxim Jones.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?
I grew up in a design orientated home, my father was an architect, and at times also painted. It was a grounding. I hadn’t considered a career as an artist until a teacher made a chance remark about my use of colour. Art became my focus. Art school a revelation.
Do you use a sketchbook? I’m interested in what a sketchbook means to you and your work?, or how people develop their ideas.
I tend not to use a sketchbook in any traditional way. I collect ideas through photography, images of paintings in progress, through conversation, noting particular poems, lines from songs or novels that resonate. The throughline would be “what’s happening right now”, the life events and emotional states of being important to me at the time of working.
Your work is very expressive and ‘raw’. Can you talk about what you are exploring through it?
Being present with oneself in action is the closest I can get to describing how I experience working. What happens within us while we’re creating. Curiosity remains critical, an inner dialogue with what’s being made. Some visual finessing is involved, those things that may have felt like mistakes left, the moments that hit the mark always a wonderful surprise. The result is the trace of the process, in some sense an arrival, the moment the viewer is free to enter their own unique experience with what is seen.
Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?
I live with paintings, photographs, finished and unfinished, and at the moment combine these to make composites in digital format. Something will stand out as a base point, and then there is a non-linear working that moves back and forth. Most days, there is a moment that grabs, and this is the moment to do it.
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic? I’ve become increasingly interested in the relationship of the sketchbook and the work to the artist.
I guess we all have times we may be deeply troubled, or happy, or somewhere in between. Working is less catharsis than an acceptance of this, that all these and more may be true, may coexist, and I love the paradox this involves. Working is being alive to these things, their sense and texture, their synchronicity, and for me is best described as a state of grace.