This week marks the 5th week since the lockdown in the UK on the 20th March and you can catch our 5th Balcony Concert at the bottom of this post. It has been great to see how my friends and inspirational sources have taken on these turbulent times and turn to creativity to stay positive and stay afloat financially. This week I have interviewed my friend and colleague Michael V. Jones, who has taken up inks instead of arpeggios to release his imagination and try to build a business.
I have worked with Michael on two different projects, ‘The Fire of Olympus’ with Radius Opera and ‘Christmas Elf’ with Northern Opera. He is a delight on and off stage and this week I received a special gift from him in the post! An intricate ink painting of one of my favourite streets in Greenwich! I love this street as it leads to the Historic Greenwich Market – a pleasant place to visit at the weekend – something to look forward to in a post-Covid19 World. I have immediately ordered a frame and I cannot wait to hang this ‘one of a kind’ piece in my music studio.
It was such a delight to connect with Michael virtually and I really enjoyed learning and discussing his process and I thought I would share it with you on my blog.
When did you first start creating these fantastic drawings?
Well I took GCSE and A Level Art in School, and before going to Music college to pursue Opera I had every intention to pursue an Art career, however music and singing won in the end and I haven’t painted seriously for about 10 years. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown I’ve had all my singing and teaching work postponed and so have had much more time on my hands. I started painting again a couple of weeks ago and have been pleasantly surprised at the response to my work.
What medium do you use to create these one of a kind pieces?
I mainly use Black Indian Ink and paint it on watercolour paper, using water to vary the tone.
How long do they take you to make?
It completely varies, but on average about 6 hours for an A4 piece and 10 hours for A3.
Do you listen to music whilst you are drawing?
I actually listen to audiobooks, usually something I’ve already read so I can ‘zone-out’ and get into the artwork. For your piece I was listening to Circe by Madeline Miller.
What is your personal experience of the Lockdown?
At first it was a massive adjustment as I’m used to working 6 days of the week with various teaching and singing jobs, so trying to find things to do with that massive amount of time was hard at first. Finding and using Art as a creative outlet has been a godsend, I actually feel calmer than I usually do!
Have you got any coping mechanisms to share?
Finding little tasks and completing them, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, really helps me. The feeling of having finished a job really makes me feel better. Baking has also helped.
Is this something you have always been interested in, or is this a newly acquired skill?
I’ve always been quite good at drawing and painting, however experimenting and using solely ink to create the effect is new and is definitely something I want to continue to pursue.
Have you found a platform, where people can see and purchase your art to help to get you through the Lockdown?
I’ve actually sold most of my work through social media. On Facebook I have an MVJones – Art page detailing prices and works that I’ve already sold, and on Instagram I also have an MVJones – Art page. I’m in the process of setting up a website for my art separate from my singing one, so watch this space! My email is m firstname.lastname@example.org for all art related queries.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
As I mentioned before I’m also an opera singer, so please feel free to visit my website www.michaelvincentjones.com to see what else I can do 🙂
I wish Michael the best of luck with this new venture! I miss singing and performing with him and all my other colleagues. But in the meantime, here is our 5th Balcony Concert where we performed a musical cocktail featuring a little bit of Musical Theatre with a sprinkle of Rachmaninov and Dvorak.
Here’s our program:
Dream Valley (Roger Quilter)
I Dreamed A Dream (Claude-Michel Schönberg, Les Miserables)
Home (Maury Yeston, Phantom)
Сирень, Lilacs (Rachmaninov)
они отвечали,They Answered (Rachmaninov)
Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku, Song to the Moon (Dvořák, Rusalka)
Non ti Scordar di Me