We’re huge fans of Jonathan Wilkinson's pared down graphic representations of our unconventionally beautiful city. With We Live Here work hanging in our studio and our home we share Jonathan’s enthusiasm for brutalist architecture and a predominant use of concrete. Good job really. Known across the city for his trademark two colour depictions of Sheffield landmarks such as Park Hill, the Roxy, and the much missed Egg Box, Jonathan’s work is instantly recognisable. The detail in each piece is incredible, it makes my graphic designer eyes water just thinking about the hours and hours he must spend drawing bricks, window frames and tiling.
A recent move into colour has not taken the edge off Jonathan’s style. The perfectly chosen colour palette brings the buildings to life – never has flat colour looked more vivid. You can get your mitts on all manner of We Live Here goodies on Jonathan’s site – prints, tea towels, brooches and more, including A is for Angelica, a book (written by OFP pal Iain Broome) with a special We Live Here-designed cover.
How would you describe your work?
My artwork celebrates the places and things that people love about where they live. I am a painter, illustrator and designer and scenes of urban landscapes and architectural landmarks are the mainstay of my work. We Live Here celebrates Sheffield landmarks with a brutalist or industrial flavour; Park Hill, Cooling Towers, Roxy Disco, and the Arts Tower.
What inspires you?
It’s hard to always put your finger on what inspires you as images can sometimes present themselves when exploring the city and other environments.
At times I base designs on memories of places so the work then becomes more imaginary. George Shaw, Edward Hopper and Patrick Caulfield are influences, and the anonymous photography of British tourism postcards and classic illustrated posters.
What’s your workspace like?
My desk is always a tip! Despite the clean neat appearance of my artwork my working practice is rather chaotic as I seem to always be surrounded by bits of paper, doodles, empty cups and general mayhem. I have a good tidy up every month or so (and for your photo shoot!) and always intend to keep it in order each time.
What do you love about Sheffield?
I have always appreciated the laid-back friendly nature of Sheffield life and the whole ‘biggest village in the country’ vibe. That coupled with the DIY approach to making things happen has enabled good things to happen for me and my peers.
What would you do to improve the city?
I would be happier if parts of the city centre were better populated and used to a greater extent. Seeing the city centre unoccupied doesn’t sell the city so well to visitors.
- Words by
- Claire Thornley
- Images by
- Nigel Barker