Edinburgh born artist Jacob Littlejohn is currently living in New York, undertaking his MFA in Studio Art at the Hunter College. His practice is concerned by a personal interaction and investigation with the natural world. His work explores ways he chooses to represent place and space. The initial inception begins with the concept of landscape, creating a tension between a conscious and subconscious interpretation. Many of the Jacob’s works honour approaches of deep mapping and exercise ideas or objectives of psycho-geography, such as the dérive.

My paintings are informed by the momentary sublime rooted in the vastness of the natural world. The work is centred around landscape as a concept— unity, balance, focal point, and transitions, exploring the tension between conscious and subconscious interpretations of place and spaces. By continually re-working intervals of space, rhythmic movement, and perspective, my work critiques the human consumption of natural locations, while honouring the poetic and everyday subject matter that is often overlooked. Each work attempts to draw from and convey both personal and cultural narratives, surveying concepts of time, challenging perceptions of reality while welcoming the supernatural or enigmatic. I’m deeply interested in differing positions of interpretation and challenging conventional perception, I feel abstraction encourages this and believe that the work created is deeply dependent on the ontological experience. 

Aspects of non-local colour placed alongside familiar hues are combined to celebrate contradictions between actual and non-tangible spatial and pictorial scenes, with the intention of discovering something novel. The compositions truthfully merit the tyranny of the hand. Experiential moments are depicted as chronologies layered across space and time, established conceptually and on the surface in a non-linear fashion – often inspired by natural phenomenon – bridging a connection between conscious and unconscious action. Scale and gesture is a continuing area of investigation for me and it is in this area that I try to develop ways of composing mood or atmosphere through sudden or prolonged events – like patinas or astrological events like comet showers. Subject matter that extracts from the minutia to the infinite, guided by ethereal beauty of certain celestial imagery, film, distant stars and other cosmic events located in Mediaeval manuscripts. My intention is to challenge viewers to reconsider their place within the vastness of the universe conceptualising fleeting moments of beauty and humility that define our existence. By fusing different speed and time throughout gestures within the works and its history, a proposal for a lack of hierarchy between figure, ground, subject and process is lost so that all can coexist as one cosmology.

Jacob graduated from GSA in 2018 with a 1st Class BA(Hons) in Painting & Printmaking. He completed a fully funded residency at the Leith School of Art as the Graduate Artist in Residence 2019-20. In 2021-2022 Jacob undertook an MFA in Studio Art at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is currently completing his MFA in Studio Art at Hunter College, New York.

Jacob has won numerous awards and has had work featured in shows across Scotland, London, San Francisco and New York. He is an absolute rising star to keep an eye on.