JONNY HANNAH – Biography
Jonny was born in Dunfermline, Scotland. He studied at Liverpool School of Art and The Royal College. He now lives in Southampton and has been represented by Heart since 1999.
A consummate professional, Jonny’s got the look that backs up his work. He will be attired in brogues or correspondence shoes, perhaps a bow tie or a wide collared wool shirt. It’s true his appearance maybe more immaculate than his work, an immediate and fervent style of painting and drawing with techniques that mimic the process of screen printing and lino cuts. He is greatly inspired by music, something that complements both his sartorial aesthetic and the themes depicted in his work. Jonny’s great love, Hank Williams, will often make an appearance.
The visual language and pastiche in Jonny’s work clearly represents his interests and this in turn has led to commissions that blur the lines of work and pleasure. He has recently illustrated a book on how to play the ukelee, an instrument he plays himself. He has created branding for Jazz festivals in New York and created an animation for Channel 4 of Charles Burkowski’s ‘The Man with the Beautiful Eyes’, which went on to win a BAFTA for best short animated film. Jonny has worked on advertising campaigns for the Barber of Seville at the English National Opera, corporate brochures for the vintners Justerini & Brooks and created the branding for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s exhibition ‘Well Said!’ Jonny has also written and illustrated a children’s book ‘Hot Jazz Special’, published by Walker Books and the Candlewick Press. The story is written in rhyming couplets and centres around the young protagonist ‘Henry’ at the Body & Soul Cafe were he encounters the performances of jazz legends such as Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington.
It’s evident that Jonny loves what he does and works profusely whether on commercial projects or something of his own invention. He creates limited edition screen prints and lino prints and is part of the St Jude’s collective. He regularly exhibits around the UK or with St. Jude’s. Jonny held a one man show at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, creating a fictional ‘main street’ a celebration of a bygone era. Many of his exhibitions feature painted objects of wooden cut-outs. These could be dresses, guitars, toy cars, two dimensional figures, record players.
A monograph of Jonny’s work ‘Greetings from Darktown’ has been published by Merrell Publishers. Darktown is a fictional place that Jonny refers to when modern life becomes too much. The book provides an insight into Jonny’s many retreats. A collection of artwork, as well as poems and writings, the book represents Jonny’s interest in pop culture, an endless circle of references.
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AOI, Atlantic Records, The Big Issue, Bloomsbury, The British Library, Condé Nast Traveller, Conran Octopus, Domino Records, English National Opera, The Folio Society, Food Glorious Food for ITV, Gallimard Jeunesse, Ghost Town Orchestra, Glastonbury Festival, The Guardian, Harper Collins, Hartlepool Borough Council, Justerini & Brooks, The Los Angeles Times, Macmillan, Maggie’s Centres, Merrydown Cider, Museum’s Northumberland, Myself Magazine, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, The New York Times, Octopus Publishing, Penguin Random House, Pocket Jeunesse, Quercus Books, Royal Mail, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Simon & Schuster, The Smithsonian, Vogue, Walker Books