Featured artist

Jasper Stinchcombe

In my art practice I explore narratives, philosophical principles and concepts. I achieve this through my painting, writing and drawings. During the past year I have explored the medium of film and animation.

I begin my work by first thinking of a scenario which I then write up in the form of a script, a dialogue or a series of scenes. I then begin to draw out my ideas as an initial sketch. I then repeatedly draw over a picture, photographing each stage of the picture’s development. This has allowed me to create motion in my drawings, allowing me to tell a story which explores my conceptual/philosophical interests.

In one example, my film “Minds Palace”, the central character tries to tackle philosophical concepts about certainty (such as Shroedinger’s Cat, Wittgenstein’s theories of language games, Bertrand Russell’s Tea Pot, and Descartes’ Cartesian doubt). Through his drawings which animate on the screen, the audience can see how the character sees these concepts visually in his head as he navigates through the corridors of his own mind palace.

What I am planning to do next is to explore how painting itself has developed since the time of Duchamp (who famously abandoned painting, only to change the way we see painting and appreciate the conceptual aspects of it, not just the aesthetic value). What I hope for this film to show is my own understanding about how Duchamp’s attention to concepts can improve painting and drawing in itself and push painting as an art practice forward.

What I want for my art is to push the boundaries of painting, and continue to explore my own imaginative thoughts, and present them in such a way that everyone can both understand and enjoy.

At fourteen my work was focused on icons such as musicians, and inspired by Pop Art, I wanted to understand visually what made figures such as Monroe, or Keith Richards iconic. At the same time, I refined my skills in the FPAA drawing sessions, to better see proportions and tones.

When I went to the Lady Grey Arts Academy in South Africa for my Gap year, I had no idea what art work I wanted to develop, and so I began painting from any photographic cutting I could my hands on. Art books were everywhere and I painted copies of post-impressionists and cubists' artwork, as a way to explore other art styles. I also painted from photographs of artists in their studio spaces, such as Modigliani, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. One particular photograph of Bacon particularly drew, which was a damaged torn photo of the artist with his partner George Dyer. The quality of the image itself intrigued me, and I took this fascination with photography back home with me to start my course at Manchester.

There was a desert of materials and I resorted to scavenging dumpsites for old cardboard boxes to use as canvasses. I was refreshed by the generosity of the splendid pristine tubes that mum sent me: delivered with the gift of encouragement from my friends and mentors in the ‘Shed’.

At the Manchester School of Art, I was encouraged not only to think in terms of aesthetics, but to create art which asked questions and engaged with the viewer. My first project of the year was to create a sculptural bird which reflected myself in some way, and to use only one material.

The bird I chose was a Black Swan. It is the analogy Nassim Nicholas Talib utilises to explain moments which no previous data could be used to predict (if you go through your whole life only seeing white swans, then you are not likely to expect a black swan). This was particularly important for me because of my Autism – as a child I needed structure, routines and repetition in order to feel comfortable and safe, but as I grew older, I realised I needed to embrace the fact that there was always going to be things I could not predict. In order to survive, I needed to adapt and embrace chaos.

The choice of material is in part linked to my love of music, but also when you sculpt a vinyl record, you’re essentially muting it, much like a Mute Swan.

During my year at Manchester I began a project called “A Million Shades of Grey”. It was in this project that I looked towards photography and paintings by Gerhard Richter and Chuck Close. I was interested in how photographs could be used in painting and even improve a photographic image. I started painting from monochrome photographs of figures who are known for their moral integrity such as Mother Teresa. However if one were to look into the history of these figures, one can see that it is not as black and white as one might hope for. For instance, Teresa accepted money from corrupt figures like Charles Keating, or from gangster families, and instead of returning the money to the victims, the money went towards building houses for the dying, in which no expenses helped the sick and dying live, but simply to die easier.

In response to this I painted her shaking hands with Mr Keating. I wanted to explore in other ways how to change the image to ask further questions, and so I began painting a picture of Ghandi using a grid system used by Chuck Close. The reason for this is because it raises moral issues of perception, how upclose, it is hard to distinguish what these shapes are, but much like in moral dilema’s we need to take a step back in order to see the full picture. I took this process a step further and had a frame made, with moveable slides. I then painted on these frames Mandela, which you not only had to step back in order to see, but you needed to move the slides into the right place to create the picture.

The idea behind this picture, is making moral decisions up close is a challenging process, and what the moral of the whole project overall is that things are not black and white, and its never easy trying to determine which shades of grey are lighter or dark from pure black or white.

When I finished at Manchester and went to study at The university of Reading, I wanted to further explore the link between images and ideas. I began painting illustrated images such as a pair of children’s shoes, with writing around the image to tell a story behind the image such as: 'On Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn', which holds the implications of a dead child without ever showing the image of a dead child.

After creating a series of these pictures, I felt too much that they were like one liner gags. From then on I began writing short stories, and drawing illustrations, in order to tell tales to explore concepts. This led me to writing scripts, stories and creating my films and animations, and beginning my first attempt at writing a novel, about a character convinced he is a ficitional character in a story, who resents his author for writing about him.

I received my Foundation Degree in Fine Art at the Manchester Metropolitan University with Full Distinction, and am on my way to achieving my BA at the University of Reading, having been awarded a First in years one and two.

I could express myself in art years before I could write and was lucky enough to receive both inspiration and tuition from my mentor, John Frederick Black, from the age of 12. His guidance allowed me to learn how to paint and draw, but after going to university, I began to understand the importance of installing my work into gallery spaces, and considering the display of my work.

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Self portrait


Marcel Duchamp


Karl Ove Knaussgard


Painting in progress





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