Painting 20 Summers of Jazz

Recently I received the very exciting news that Manchester Jazz Festival are going to be using a piece of my work across their marketing campaign for their 20th anniversary celebrations this year. Yesterday, the design went live on their website and in the coming weeks there will be lots of physical marketing too, from catalogues, CDs and badges to bus station posters around central Manchester.

The event itself is a 9 day long showcase of contemporary jazz from the north west of England and beyond. So far it has hosted over 4,900 artists, had 200,000 attendees, commissioned 17 new pieces of music and is Manchester's longest running music festival. 2015 will be their 20th annual event and they have teamed up with a company called Marketecture to design their advertising campaign - 'Celebrate 20 Summers of Jazz'. Students from my foundation course at Manchester School of Art were asked to listen and respond visually to one of a set of 20 jazz tracks. The track I was assigned to listen to was 'Makanitza - Gankino Horo'. We could choose to work in any medium and size we felt appropriate and I chose to work in oil paint.

In terms of my process, quite obviously I began by listening to the track I had been given from beginning to end. My knowledge of jazz music is incredibly limited, however I feel as though this helped me in creating the most raw and honest response I possibly could to the music I was hearing. There were no limiting pieces of information or facts to hold me back, I simply locked myself away, put the track on repeat, and made art. The key for me was never to think about what I thought the jazz festival wanted me to make. As far as possible I wanted to forget that this was for a brief at all. Only then could my work be a true and honest response to the music. Allowing myself the freedom to create honestly was my main focus, rather than making what I hoped they would like. Aside from this, the idea behind the painting was movement and vitality. The first thing I immediately thought of when I heard the music was a far away marketplace, and I wanted to capture the spirit of this rhythm with swirling motions and bright vibrant colours. On a personal level, it was such a refreshing change to make a painting based on sound an emotion. My university work has been very typographical/design based recently and it's been a long time since I spent time with just a canvas, paint and my thoughts.

This has been my first ever experience with working on a live brief in the industry and I am so grateful for the experience, and the fact that my work has been chosen by 'folk who know what they're doing' is such a huge compliment. To have my painting out there online for the world to see and see my name printed on the 'partners' page is surreal. I can't wait to share some of the physical marketing on here once is trickles down into my little hands. For now though, I have added some screenshots of the online visuals and below is a computer generated mock-up made by Marketecture of the kind of thing that will be popping up around Manchester in the coming weeks (where the colours are will be replaced by the image of my painting). I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity and it makes it all the more exciting that the results will be on display around my home city this summer. So if you happen to live in Manchester - keep an eye out!

Manchester Jazz Festival runs from 31st July - 9th August 2015

You can check out their website for more information about the event (+ see my work!) here:

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