Jayson Lilley: From London to Bristol


Jayson Lilley Gorgeous View ii | currently on exhibit at Hair at 58

From London to Bristol is a celebration of two relationships: the British artist Jayson Lilley’s personal affiliation with the city of Bristol, and his ten-year relationship working with curator Anna Smithson, director of Smithson Gallery.
This new collection of Bristol work has brought an opportunity to revisit a city close to Jayson’s heart, having grown up in the West Country. Over the years, this close relationship with the city has provided a natural inspiration for his work and since his first Bristol collection in 2012, much has changed in both the landscape of Jayson’s practice and the city itself.
Precision and detail are at the core of Jayson’s distinct approach. His response to the everchanging nature of the urban landscape is a desire to capture every minute detail, taking up to 1000 photographs for a single screen print. Collating his images back in his home studio, each skyline is carefully reconstructed without bias for popular landmarks or architectural elements. Jayson continues to develop his unique viewpoint through his meticulously presented gold leaf vistas, maintaining his signature bold silhouette of the city cutting into the skyline.  


To celebrate the release of his latest body of work, we worked with Mechanical Mouse to produce this wonderful insight into Jayson's unique process and methodology.


From London to Bristol also celebrates a ten-year anniversary working together for Jayson Lilley and director and curator Anna Smithson. To mark the occasion, we spoke with Jayson about the creation of his latest body of work, his affinity with Bristol and working with Smithson Gallery over the years.

Smithson Gallery: What is your relationship to Bristol?

Jayson Lilley: I often came to Bristol as a child; growing up in the West Country meant that we had a lot of school trips to the city, and we’d often visit as a family. I remember always being drawn to the maritime buildings and the docks, and enjoyed the atmosphere of the City. My love for Bristol continued into adulthood and so was an obvious source of inspiration for my art work. I’ve now been producing works of Bristol for about eight years and it continues to provide me with a lot of inspiration and is a constant source of excitement for me.

SG: What does this collection mean to you?

My first Bristol collection was completed in 2012, and it’s fabulous to revisit
the same city and continue to see new things in it. As my practice has changed and developed, it’s really interesting for me to see how the same cityscape
can be expressed in different ways - it feels like it expresses the changes in myself as an artist, as well as reflecting the changing city.

SG: What are you looking to capture or communicate in this body
of work?

This new collection of works is really trying to communicate the vibrancy of Bristol. When I come to Bristol I always get a sense of excitement, it feels cosmopolitan and youthful, and I’m trying to capture an element of that in the bright colours and loose pen work that I have introduced into this new collection. 

SG: This year marks your tenth anniversary of working with Smithson Gallery. Could you tell us more about this relationship?

I have always enjoyed working with Smithson Gallery. Throughout all the years that we have worked together, they have introduced me to some really interesting projects, which sometimes push me outside of my comfort zone. I think that’s really useful as an artist as it stops your work from becoming stagnant, stale and repetitive. Having built a relationship over such a length of time, we have a huge amount of trust with each other, and I think that’s really important when working with any gallery on projects.

SG: How does it feel to create work on a city outside of London and New York?

I like to create work about places that I really love and feel like I have a personal connection with. While I love doing work about London and New York, a lot of my relationship with those cities is based around the architecture and the iconic skylines. For me, coming to Bristol is almost like coming home, and I think the work I create of Bristol is perhaps a little more intimate, an attempt to capture those childhood memories and to continue to be connected to this part of the country.

 View the Collection