Prolific Bristol music fan Big Jeff invites Bristol to his world for one week, as he launches his first solo exhibition at The Island from 16th – 21st November 2021 which will be free to attend.
The exhibition entitled ‘Welcome To My World’ will see the unveiling of 20 new paintings alongside the first 14 paintings from phase one of the collection from the artist, well known as one of Bristol’s best known music aficionados. There will also be an opportunity to see the new and existing works online with Jeff talking about some of the paintings and what they mean to him. The paintings, some of which have a musical influence, were created to surprise and challenge the viewer, instigating conversations about mental health and inspiring people in similar situations to make art themselves.
Big Jeff Johns explains:
“Welcome to my world, the full edition. I’m excited to exhibit these paintings together for the first time and introduce people to a side of me they don’t know. This exhibition brings my world to life, shining light on things I find difficult. This includes love and joy and everything else.
“I use drawing and painting as a form of self-reflection. A lot of my work echoes my struggles around feeling like I don’t fit into this world. Art for me has been about expressing emotions I can’t explain another way. These paintings highlight my issues with hidden anxiety and mental health and the barrier these create. Art for me is about creating space for myself and using my creativity to find my voice. At times this can be intimidating.”
Two years in the making, the collection features 34 artworks to challenge perceptions of anxiety, which is being experienced by so many after the events of the last 18 months. The full collection will be exhibited alongside a programme of events and special guest appearances at The Island. Many of the paintings represent moments captured from or inspired by many of the city’s music venues, where Jeff can often be found, right in front of the stage. Big Jeff has also invited charities working in Bristol to curate events and experiences alongside the exhibition. OTR will invite young people to experience the exhibition with an exclusive event. Big Issue sellers will have pitches at the exhibition throughout the week. Talk Club and Running Punks will both host events at the exhibition while Gig Buddies will invite their members & volunteers for an exclusive showing and meet and greet with Jeff.
Signed Limited Edition prints of 25 and unlimited unsigned prints of each piece will be available to buy via his website
Exhibition curator Lee Dodds explains;
“The response to Jeff’s first release of this collection was phenomenal. Musicians, presenters and Bristolians alike rallied around to support Jeff on his first venture as an artist and many of the prints are nearly sold out. His paintings are uplifting and will definitely be popular with music fans and art collectors in Bristol and beyond. This exhibition will enable us to show his full collection in person, while also curating a series of events in the space, obviously including music from some of Jeff’s favourite local acts. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at The Island for a week of celebrating art, music and supporting some of the city’s most incredible charities in their work.”