My name is Jon, I’m a designer living in west London, England. Although not strictly a Londoner, you could say that I’m almost as good as one, having arrived here to study Industrial design back in the early ’80’s and never having felt the need to leave.
Like many people who set out on a path to creative greatness, it somehow never quite worked out that way, and I’ve found myself doing many interesting things that I didn’t think I would ever get to experience when I set off.
Having started out working in design consultancy, where I stayed for over fifteen years, the desire to discover new things and experience different creative challenges led me to taking the decision to go my own way in 1998. Little did I know then that a freelance life would be so varied but at the same time so challenging.
My journey has taken me through other design companies, got me involved in some projects that I never really new could exist, placed me inside an advertising agency for three years, enabled me to become a quite proficient constructor of models and prototypes and, led to me working with inspirational people on solutions for the problems associated with the transportation of blood samples across remote areas of Africa.
It’s been hugely interesting but, seemingly always a struggle to find the next opportunity.
Through good times and bad I’ve learned that it’s vitally important to have other interests and outlets in the background. Things that help you maintain perspective, provide other outlets for creative energy and stimulate the brain and the soul. In other words, things that keep you sane.
I like my interests. Although I’ve tried many things over the years, I’ve found that the ones that really hold my focus are the ones that come naturally in the sense that they are interests that I naturally gravitate towards, things that really touch my soul. The two biggies in my life are motorcycles and drawing. There are others which occupy lesser amounts of mental space and time, but if if you were to take away everything and only leave me with two, then these would be them. They both fascinate me.
I’m a keen biker, have been for years. There’s something about it I love. The sense of freedom, speed and adventure are the most obvious reasons but there’s more to it than that. I love the way they look, work and can be made to be such potent symbols of personality. I’m forever tinkering with mine, especially now that I’ve enjoyed my first experience of creating my own customised machine. I even enjoy the more mundane aspects of machine maintenance, it appeals to my inner craftsman knowing that I got something just right.
In the same way that setting off on your bike without a plan or a map presents you with a world of endless possibilities, so I find it when presented with a blank sheet of paper or an empty page in my sketch book. Letting my imagination go where it wants to is a great feeling. Drawing allows me to entertain the frivolous, explore the absurd and engage in an activity that truly is a skill that I can develop and hone in my own way. I don’t limit what I draw to just bikes but, through drawing a subject area I’m passionate about I find my creative energy more accessable, my imagination more active and my attention span greatly extended. Oh, and it’s a lot of fun too.
Over the years I’ve created quite a lot of stuff, and then promptly given most of it away as a gift or suchlike. Where all those images are now I couldn’t tell you. There have also been periods when my productivity has been virtually at a standstill. Time pressures of work and life in general have clouded the opportunity to start much and subsequently finish it but, in the background there has always been the sketchbook, slowly being filled with scribbles, doodles and ideas just waiting to be given the space and time to grow.
In an attempt to see an end to my rather profligate attitude to my creations I thought I’d join the on-line community via this blog and share my output with anyone who feels inclined to visit the site. It won’t be purely all drawings though. A recently awakened interest in the art of making, how the work of the hand informs that of the mind and the concept of craftsmanship will doubtless influence many of the posts.
Let’s see what happens.
hi jon, james has just sent me the link, looks good have you got a few more photos of the finished version. I had concidered doing a c90, but yours looks better. your brother tells me he pulled a hamstring playing netball? have a word will you. I hope you are both well, 50 soon i hear. it would be good to catch up with you sometime. regards carl
Greetings from Canada. Custom bikes, pantographs and foam cutters? I’m in! Looking forward to more.