Jonathan Gibbs’ professional practice involves drawing, painting, printmaking and the graphic arts. At various times, this synthesis has embraced observed and figurative representation as well as imaginative image-making and pure abstraction. All his commissioned works take the form of wood engraving. Gibbs’ approach to academic teaching encapsulates a foundation of drawing skills, uses of colour and composition, allied to the visual interpretation of literature and pictorial narrative. He takes a liberal and inclusive approach to the teaching of Illustration, from Stage 1 through to MA studies and PhD. In his research interests, Gibbs exhibits a collection of new work every two years as well as taking part in various group exhibitions. In his research he is exploring aspects of Ink and contemporary approaches to Drawing. He is developing these themes with an assorted group of ECA academic staff.
Recently he has worked for Faber & Faber in creating an illustrated broadsheet of ‘Woods etc.’, by Alice Oswald. This follows illustrations for Oswald’s ‘Dart’, a volume of poetry, also published by Faber. Gibbs has produced a variety of book jacket and editorial designs. These include Ulverton by Adam Thorpe, illustrations of Prada shoes and handbags, fabric designs as well as various logotypes, bookplates, and letterheads. A recent solo exhibition entitled Fish Bone at the Open Eye Gallery has been his tenth since 1987. This presented forty-two new works in watercolour, coloured pencil and wood engraving. This selection included commissioned pieces, including ‘As I was going up the stair’, a large scale wood engraving for Random Spectacular magazine, commissioned by St Jude’s Modern British. Currently he is developing a set of twelve natural history illustrations to follow the calendar months for Random House Publishing.
All the content of his teaching and research is allied to these various activities as an artist and designer.