Last month we put one of the UK’s most exciting artists, Jen Allen, in the spotlight, and this month it is the turn of her collaborative efforts with fellow artist and partner Jay Fortune, to receive some well-deserved recognition.
Collectively known as J&J, the pair have been working on a series of paintings which seek to utilise, combine, and elevate the considerable talents of the creative duo to the fullest. Their creative process involves working on each painting separately, then passing it to the other once they are completely content with their individual contribution.
Laurel and Hardy, and sublime starlet Audrey Hepburn) in a vibrant style which is at once accomplished and convivial.
We found out in last month’s article that Jen draws on her varied professional
experience; illustration, set painting, prop making, and circus performance, to name a few, to create dynamic paintings with a lively and distinctive quality (head over to the article to find out more). But what of her partner Jay?
After graduating from art school, Jay Fortune took a radically alternate professional route and carved a successful 18-year career as a stage magician, performing his entertaining shows to live audiences. He eventually found his way back to the art world in 2018, however, after working on several books as an illustrator and hasn’t looked back!
His eclectic career history as a comedy performer, BBC consultant, radio host, and published author has undoubtedly influenced his artistic design; creating as he does work that is quirky, colourful, comical, and embellished with bold typographic elements.
In an interview by Toby Buckley for The Net Gallery, Jay is quoted as saying that he honed his artistic style “through isolating myself in the studio and focusing on content that allowed me to express my personality. By doing this, you can begin to create work that is personal, true to who you are…allow yourself time to be alone, imagine, create and repeat. That time alone, isolated in your studio, is a time of creative growth without any outside influence. In that space, you’ll find how best to speak your truth as a creative.”
He is a prolific painter of famous faces, with portraits including Uri Geller and Derren Brown to his name. In October 2021, he painted a portrait of British icon Sam Fox, which was countersigned by the personality and auctioned in aid of raising money for Breast Cancer.
He has also recently had his first book, psychological thriller All Fall Down, published. Of it, he says “[it] questions the illusory nature of reality, so I think my love of magic has crept into the narrative.” In wonderfully poetic, and typically synergetic style, the cover was even designed by Jen Allen - another fantastic collaboration from this artistically gifted pair!
Head over to our online gallery to browse and buy from their current collection of stunning original paintings.