Trevor Jones: Classical Painting Gets A Modern Make Over
Meet the Artist Leading A Technological Revolution Within the Traditional Art World
Traditional Art with a Technological Twist
“From the beginning of human creation, the purpose of art was to teach.”
From cave paintings that date back thousands of years to contemporary masterpieces framed in MOMAs around the world, art has always played a powerful role in human conversation and ideation.
Yet times have changed, at both a rapid pace and scale. Whether you like it or not, technology has transformed the world as we know it — And Trevor Jones believes that the traditional art world needs to get with the times.
On a quest to democratize art for the masses, Jones views technology as a valuable tool for making his art more accessible and impactful. His most popular works contain a marriage of mediums, and consistently blur boundaries between the digital and physical art worlds.
Through his exploration of the intersection between technology and art, Jones has created a number of works unlike any the art world has ever experienced. Examples spanning the last decade include scannable QR code oil paintings, and traditional paintings spiked with augmented reality that transform regular viewings into fully immersive, sensory experiences.
A Break Away From Tradition
“ I was the first professional painter in Scotland and one of the first in the world to incorporate AR with an oil painting.”
Jones left his native Canada in 1996 for a three year adventure that spanned four continents. Eventually he settled in Edinburgh, an enchanting Scottish city filled with medieval stone buildings and a majestic castle that looked like they’ve sprung straight out of Harry Potter. It was there that Jones pursued his passion for the arts, completing his masters in Fine Arts.
Jones kicked off his career in the art world with seven years spent as a Drawing and Painting instructor at Leith School of Art. This was followed by six years as the director of the national charity Art in Healthcare from 2008 to 2014, where Jones explored the connection between art and physical health and coordinated prestigious exhibitions within hospitals and other healthcare settings throughout the country.
Jones’ relationship with the traditional art world and its institutions has always been complicated. Although he credits his formal arts education for providing him with a necessary artistic foundation, he’s not afraid to express his disdain at the often conservative, stagnant nature of the current establishments.
No stranger to exploring art within different contexts, incorporating technology into his art seemed like a natural next step for Jones. But as he began experimenting with less conventional art forms and techniques, Jones noticed a pushback from the traditional Scottish art establishments he was once a part of.
He decided to run with it — Jones stopped showing in commercial art galleries and began hosting his own exhibitions across the country. He leveraged AR in a number of disruption stunts aimed at shaking up current institutions and generating a public response and dialogue at the intersection between art and technology.
Taking a technological turn ultimately resulted in success for Jones. The CryptoArt world welcomed him with open arms, and he quickly made a name for himself within the community. He’s since participated in shows around the world, and has been featured in the Financial Times, Coindesk, Bitcoin Magazine, Bitcoin.com, Daily Business Magazine, Scotsman, Hackernoon, and more. His rare digital artworks have sold for record highs, including a collaboration that sold for 70 ETH (~$14,715) and his two latest selling for a total of 90 ETH (~$18,774).
The Art of Digital Storytelling
Jones calls himself a traditional painter with a fascination for exploring ways new technology can be used to more effectively engage the viewer. Tech innovation and modern communication have surfaced as central themes within Jones’ work.
His creations start with a story, which is strategically expressed with the help of various technologies, be it AR, near field communication tags, video, social media integration, or more. These additions enable viewers to experience and interact with the artwork in a completely new way.
A New Original Artwork: All That Remains
“And if I hadn’t come now to the coast to disappear, I may have died in a landslide of rocks and hopes and fears”
His first published creation on MakersPlace, All That Remains, is a highly sentimental one for Jones. Inspired by the Scottish indie rock song, “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”, this artwork is a digital interpretation of the very first painting Jones sold from his first commercial gallery solo exhibition.
This creation was part of a series which explored synesthesia and the interpretation of music through color. Jones spent days and even weeks in his studio, listening to the same song on repeat and painting.
The original piece, Swim Until You Can’t See Land, was very different from Jones’ past works. The artwork has an intentional dark and moody feel to it compared to other pieces in the series. An array of rugged textures and deep blues dominate the canvas, while a small patch of light struggles to surface.
Fast forward 10 years: It seemed “Swim..” had cast a sort of spell over Jones, who was unable to shake the power of this piece from his mind. Armed with a new perspective and arsenal of tech tools, Jones set out to finish the story with an even more emotional impact.
All That Remains, transforms a static painting into a dynamic visual story. The new rendition maintains the original’s foreboding feel, but movement and music add a complex layer to the story.
Pricing: Only Accepting Offers
For more details on the inspiration behind All That Remains and Swim Until You Can’t See Land, check out Trevor Jones’ blog.
Trevor Jones’ newest artwork is currently being shown at the MakersPlace VR Art Gallery in Cryptovoxels until June 4th, 2020.