Jonathan’s mother was a nature enthusiast, like her husband. She would spend days birdwatching, walking alongside streams and rivers and enjoying her time off work under the trees and among the critters of the underbrush. It went a long way to explaining Jonathan’s eye for art, for he used to walk alongside his mother, drawing and sketching every frog, fly and squirrel that came close. At school his notes in English and Maths were filled with attempts at eyes and hands, his pencil-case ever full of crayons. His choices throughout secondary school and sixth form were no surprise either, Art, art and more art.
His parents were incredibly supportive, his mother often joining him on summer days in the garden, trying to recreate the magic in her son’s work, sometimes succeeding, other times not so much. Either way they were laugh and smile together, but of course uncertainty had to set in at some point. Jonathan did not want to go to university, something that caused a passive divide between him and his father.
“Lost potential!” He would always say, encouraging his son again and again to reconsider. Jonathan, would not.
However that did not mean that he had a plan, or any idea how he would launch himself into the art industry. Perhaps he would join a marketing company, help design logos, or even join a small independent team working on some nail-bitingly gorgeous arty game. Or maybe he’d sit at home, pumping out meaningless paintings and emotionless drawings until he was a forty year old in his parent’s basement. All he knew was he wasn’t going to be regimented or told certain styles, his art would develop organically, and that was his only reason to ignore his father.
Over the next two years he stayed at home, working part time in bars and cafes, spending his free time painting, drawing and in some cases trying something new like sculpting. All his funds were spent on new supplies and ways to engage with his mind creatively, but it was becoming quickly evident that he simply had no real plan.
That was until he painted ‘Wasting away, looking forward’.
It wasn’t supposed to be special, or groundbreaking, but it was something that he kept coming back in the two months since he had finished his examinations. Uncertainty powered the piece, like a core in a starship, it is what breathed the energy into each stroke of his paintbrush, and what kept him coming back to work on it. A jagged line tore straight down the centre of the piece, a simple white path with no detail, leading to a sun breaking the horizon sharing the same blank and expressionless colour at the end. On either side of the road lay two contrasting explosions of colour; On the left lay a deserted city under the night sky, blades of grass punctured the cobbled tarmac and vines climbed up the skyscrapers to meet the white dot stars sitting in the midnight blanket above; On the right, a dazzling futuristic city, complete with flying cars and the clearest most beautiful day the world had ever seen, all in symmetry with the piece on the right.
Jonathan loved it, but never expected anything real to come of it. He entered it into the Ashurst art competition in February of the new year, and forgot about it. Before he knew it, he and his parents were heading out to an the Ashurst art competition in London, and his pockets were three thousand pounds heavier. He spent the day smiling at critics and viewers, people genuinely loving his work and congratulating him on working so hard when so young. He also managed to speak to a few ‘representatives’ about his work, which quickly got him on track with his new explosion of a career.
And with that, and the support of his parents, Jonathan made the decision to follow his art to the ends of the earth and back, and that is exactly what he did. In September of that same year, a few weeks after his twenty first birthday, Jonathan was ready to set off on his journey around the world. He had enough money to get him started, a possible income with every painting that he could complete and sell, and a dream. Surely that was enough, right?