Brett A. Jones was born in 1966 in Redcliffe, Queensland. His family lived in the western outskirts of Brisbane until 1976. A move to the Gold Coast saw him attend art classes with Mr. Scott-Vandyke for a few years learning drawing and oil painting. During the next few years (while still at school) he painted and sold dozens of oil paintings, mostly in duo-tone and sometimes involving diptychs and triptychs of Australian landscape scenes. His inspiration in those days was Hans Heysen. He left school after grade 10 and completed the first year of a boilermaking apprenticeship in a shipyard on the Brisbane River before switching to a fitting and turning apprenticeship in the Brisbane City Council which he completed with honours in 1986. After working for an oil exploration company in western Queensland, he moved to Cairns and worked at Trinity Wharf, for a goldmine west of Georgetown, for the Far North Queensland Electricity Board, and for a large engine rebuilding company, while still developing his artistic skills at every opportunity.
He moved to Hervey Bay in 1991 and worked for various engineering firms until an accident at work. He broke his left wrist and permanently injured his spine. There followed a few very hard years during which he turned fully back to his artistic roots. The intense personal drive to be an artist sent him searching for a way to achieve in the fine art world, within the limitations imposed on him by chronic severe pain (hurt to move, hurt to breathe).
He experimented with various mediums including wood, steel, aluminium, brass, spray-painting, leather, house enamel & pure tint, coloured pencil, watercolour and oil paint. He hand carved motorcycle parts, did
custom paint jobs, hand made throwing knives from old car springs (which are things of great beauty and really just another form of artistic expression), painted a large mural which took two and a half years to finish and was started with a broken wrist, and set up a studio and tried to seriously re-engage with his oil painting past with a view to painting and selling originals. It took four months of pain to paint the first one (Canesmoke Sunset), which almost made him give up art for good.
"I sat like Rodins' Thinker for about three hours one day until finally realizing if I was going to give up producing originals for sale because of pain I might as well just do what I really wanted to and admitted to myself I'd really rather draw in monochrome than paint, pick the subject matter on a purely personal level, and not limit myself with time constraints and others expectations of what fine art is. It dawned on me after awhile (When I started winning art shows) that it didnít matter how long it took me to prepare for and complete a work if the results were good enough to be published as fine art prints".
He subsequently spent the next few years doing a series of works in graphite, each one taking many hundreds of pain filled hours to complete. Four of these prize winning works are now in print, with more to come.
"I always wanted to fully explore the concept of Chiaroscuro, to make people really believe there was a motorcycle, or bowl of fruit or whatever in front of them, using only the effects of light. For me 2B graphite lends itself to this perfectly as it represents all the grey tones from so close to white, that it is white unless compared to actual white, to black and every tone in between.
White is the blank paper, but to the minds eye can be made to look like anything if its surroundings are the right shape and tone. My art teacher Mr. Scott-Vandyke told me when I was ten that if I wanted to draw properly, to draw the shadows and let the highlights take care of themselves. He impressed that on me all the time. I can hear him saying it like it was yesterday, instead of thirty years ago.
The fact that I draw motorcycles on a white background is completely secondary to the fact that I am trying to produce fine art of the very highest order, which can be put up against anything here or overseas. The reason they're pictures of motorcycles is because I had to find a subject I could become so obsessed with, that it would override the ever present back pain (the physical sea of pain). Motorcycles have always held a deep fascination for me. A stationary motorcycle is a beautiful combination of balance, latent speed, power, and danger, and a symbol of so many things, including freedom. At the same time they provide a number of different materials, surfaces, shapes, and textures to allow me to fully explore the parameters I have decided on. I always place them in full sunlight, this being the light which produces the most intense reflections, back lighting, and deep shadows that result in the multiple light effects and three dimensional depth ideal for showcasing my chosen drawing technique (chiaroscuro). It's called Sea of Pain Fine Art Productions not just because of the maddening struggle with the spinal pain. When something takes up to nine months from start to finish with that kind of focus, it hurts your brain a long time before you're finished (the mental sea of pain)."
By 2006 he had established Sea of Pain Fine Art Productions and broadened his interests to playing card design and pastels, as well as continuing his works in graphite, always the primary passion.
He writes regular drawing articles for "Artists- Back to Basics" magazine and conducts drawing classes and workshops but the main interest above all else is still producing fine art originals which will be the main focus for 2011 and beyond.
"The playing cards took years of constant attention, I'm glad I started and finished that job, although he deck is already undergoing development so it will probably never really be completely finished. My main purpose now is to return to the graphite and pastels with full intent and attention and pick up the threads of a lot of half-finished and not-started projects in the studio which the card designing necessarily led me away from for so long".
looks like this section needed an update like all the rest. Since the whole Sea of Pain thing has started I really have been just hammering the dream harder and harder, nothing like hard won experience to help you hit desperate marks and I've needed every tiny bit over the last few years living far past my own best ability level for such a protracted period. It's all blown out to such a degree that it rules every waking moment and leaves me with an ever worsening conundrum on where I actually or exactly fit in amongst all this. It seems I've gone from wanting to be an artist to being an artist to what comes after that. What I mean is there is necessarily a certain insane level of high pressure effort to get far and fast enough to actually be recognised as an artist, by both others and yourself which either works or not (spiritually and/or financially). If it does then you are an artist (in all heads including your own) and are then faced with more crossroads. For the last ten years I have been smashing it like the truly obsessed and can only be happy with the results.
I am starting to see the end of one of those 7 year eras coming though. 2003 was when I finally went altogether awol on the rest of humanity and started the 24/7 psycho ride with the art, the end of the first era was my 2nd solo exhibition in 2010, the 2nd one will be this coming 3rd solo at the end of this year. I think after that I am entering the next era of concentrating much more on my art as a well established practicing artist rather than be hammering so relentless on the art shows, magazines and workshops, not to mention the playing cards. Hmm, words are easy to write but I am also planning on writing a book, and while I keep filling classes I'll keep doing the workshops. And the brand new Jones Playing Cards are already being mercilessly tossed around in the head in regards to the next deck design evolution. So I suppose it really doesn't matter in any meaningful way what the hell I write here, I'm waaaay too far out now to ever find my way back and the only other way is forward. So I continue. Watch this space, anything could happen now.