The Egg Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath
September 15, 3 pmRead More
The Egg Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath
September 15, 3 pmRead More
House of Illustration, Kings Place
September 9, 7 amRead More
Company HQ, 335 Madison Avenue, 3rd Fl, New York NY
June 20, 2019, 6:00pm – 8:00pmRead More
Creative Review, article by Megan Williams. Read the full story.
Most widely known for his children’s books, Jeffers returns with a new exhibition that holds a magnifying glass over the chaos of the world we live in Observations on Modern Life takes a critical glance at the current socio-political climate in various parts of the world, drawing – sometimes literally – on geography and cartography as starting points. The exhibition, which has just opened at London’s Lazinc gallery, features roughly 50 pieces created by Jeffers over the past ten years, among them sculptures, paintings, collages and found images.
“In recent years I have started taking political motivations for how maps have been drawn, and turning them on their head, using the visual language of cartography as a means to make other social commentary,” Jeffers said of his work. His oil painting Map of Land and Sea with Borders is a perfect embodiment of this, the world’s existing borders haphazardly skewed into new territories and seas. “By making environmental, apolitical and sometimes humorous comments on maps and globes, I have been addressing issues I feel strongly about regarding how random maps are in the first place, how arbitrary the carving up of things and drawing of borders are.”
Although Observations on Modern Life plays host to decidedly grown up subject matters, Jeffers teases the same childlike character and quiet sense of humour he’s become known for over time. And despite what the name of the exhibition suggests, his work doesn’t seem to make observations but rather ask questions – something children master with unflinching ease.
Sometimes it takes a child to speak some sense. When you can’t find one, then listen to a children’s author.
London Live, video by Luke Blackall. Read the full story.
The artist and author Oliver Jeffers is back in the capital, with his third solo exhibition.
Observations on Modern Life is the first to showcase the collage work of the Northern Irish artist, with more than 50 pieces created over the last decade which capture his style of adding humour to futile situations.
The exhibition is on at the Lazinc Gallery.
Creative Boom, article by Emily Gosling. Read the full story.
Best known to most for his kiddie-friendly illustration work, a new London exhibition celebrates Oliver Jeffers' sculptural and collage work created over the past 10 years.
Showing around 50 pieces, the show, entitled Observations on Modern Life, deals with the “Wild West of future living,” according to the Lazinc gallery exhibiting the work.
“It is a great and confusing time to be on earth,” says Jeffers. “Life has never been safer and more pleasant, historically speaking, however with increasingly efficient ways of travelling and communicating—the more anyone gets done, the busier they seem to be. With the ability to hear from anyone anywhere about anything, humans are somehow not clearer in their thoughts and actions, but rather more distracted.”
Collage, then, feels like a fitting medium to attempt to grapple with this ongoing noise. In typical Jeffers style, he chooses to negotiate these big issues with humour and playfulness to counterbalance the poignancy.
Among the pieces on show are Jeffers’ Disaster Series, which reacts to “found land and seascapes” by “completing” them through deft additions to the scenes.
“Knowing where I am in relation to other things has always been fascinating to me,” Jeffers adds. “I suppose I’ve been blessed with an innate sense of direction, and a curiosity to know my place. In recent years I have started taking political motivations for how maps have been drawn, and turning them on their head, using the visual language of cartography as a means to make another social commentary.
“By making environmental, apolitical and sometimes humorous comments on maps and globes, I have been addressing issues I feel strongly about regarding how random maps are in the first place, how arbitrary the carving up of things and drawing of borders are.”
Take that, Brexit.
Oliver Jeffers: Observations on Modern Life runs until 15 May 2019 at Lazinc, London.
The Bookseller, article by Charlotte Eyre. Read the full story.
Oliver Jeffers’ next book, due for release by HarperCollins Children’s Books in September, will be a modern-day fable for readers of all ages.
The Fate of Fausto, created using traditional lithographic printmaking techniques at a Paris fine-art printing house, is about a man called Fausto who wants to own everything he sees.
Jeffers said: “The Fate of Fausto was written over three years ago. It felt timely then, and even more so now. I was in a car on the north coast of Antrim, overlooking the sea while watching a storm come in. My thoughts wandered to my smallness against this rolling giant, and I thought of how much control we believe we have on nature when surely it’s the opposite. All the things on the pages are those I saw around me in that moment. While the story is a fable for today, it also feels like an old tale. To honour this timelessness, I wanted to make it using traditional lithography and typesetting. The results are mildly controlled accidents that have stumbled upon beauty. This book feels radically different from any of my other books, but I feel it might hold the most power and importance in its intentions.”
According to HarperCollins Jeffers has sold more than 12 million books worldwide and his works have been translated into 45 languages. He has won prizes including the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize Gold Award, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, the Irish Children’s Book of the Year. He is represented by Paul Moreton of Bell Lomax Moreton.
The Working Mind and Drawing Hand of Oliver Jeffers as recommended reading, article by Esther Oh.
Read the full story in Communication Arts Magazine.
LAZinc, 29 Sackville Street London, W1S 3DX
Saturday 6 April 2019, 10 - 11:30amRead More
LAZinc, 29 Sackville Street London, W1S 3DX
Thursday 4 April 2019, 5-6pmRead More
The Cambridge Union Society, 9a Bridge Street, Cambridge. CB2 1UB
Saturday, 30 March 2019, 1:00PM-3:00PMRead More
Oliver Jeffers is an Northern Irish artist, designer, illustrator and writer. Jeffers is most well-known for his picture books, especially Here We Are, his most recent publication. The work he produces varies from figurative painting, collage, installation and illustration and he is just about to launch, in April, his largest UK solo exhibition to date at the Lazinc Gallery, called Observations On Modern Life.
“Knowing where I am in relation to other things has always been fascinating to me," says Jeffers. "I suppose I’ve been blessed with an innate sense of direction and a curiosity to know my place. In recent years I have started taking political motivations for how maps have been drawn and turning them on their head, using the visual language of cartography as a means to make other social commentary. By making environmental, apolitical and sometimes humorous comments on maps and globes, I have been addressing issues I feel strongly about regarding how random maps are in the first place, how arbitrary the carving up of things and drawing of borders are.”
Observations On Modern Life is a showcase of approximately 50 of Jeffers' sculptural and collage work from the past decade. The exhibition will portray his engagement with contemporary life, presenting both the manic speed in which we live and society’s rapid consumption of information.
April 5, 2019 - May 15, 2019 | Opening Reception: April 4, 2019 6 - 8:30pm
ARTNEWS, article by Claire Selvin. Read the full story.
“If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone,” R. Buckminster Fuller wrote in 1968, “a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top.” However effective it might be for saving a life, a piano top can make for an intriguing subject for art—as one does in Oliver Jeffers’s exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York, where images of piano tops appear in paintings and sculpture as part a hanging installation that also includes a globe, a matchstick, a rowboat, and a car.
“This was fun,” Jeffers said, citing the Fuller quote as an inspiration for his arrangement in the space. “My work is too playful to just have canvases on walls.” Indeed, Jeffers’s practice extends beyond painting and installation. The Brooklyn-based artist is also an author and illustrator of children’s books, and his current exhibition, “For All We Know,” shares similarities with his 2017 bestseller Here We Are: Notes for Surviving the Planet, a how-to guide for navigating Earth and co-existing with its many creatures.
Though he is distinguished for his books (which have won him a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award and an Irish Book Award, among other prizes), Jeffers began his career as a painter and discovered bookmaking “by accident.” “The books have always come from the things that I’m exploring in my fine art practice, and there’s a humor and accessibility to the fine art that wouldn’t exist without the books,” he said. Unlike books, however, art has no clear beginning, middle, or end. “This is so much more freewheeling and nebulous than that,” he said of his exhibition.
The show features richly colored paintings filled with deep purples and blues that often signal the vastness of outer space and the sea. One work shows two astronauts clinging to a piano in the middle of the ocean, not far from fiery wreckage of the Titanic. Another canvas, Constellation Road Map (2018), depicts a car barreling down a wide highway that cuts across a barren desert, with a star formation on a road sign and in the sky above. The paintings exude a whimsical spirit that carries over into the installation.
Oliver Jeffers, The Moon, the Earth & Us, hard-coated foam, steel, and acrylic.
DAN BRADICA/COURTESY OLIVER JEFFERS STUDIO
Jeffers’s works are like onions, he said, with their multiple layers of meaning—though he hardly intends for them be solved like puzzles. He doesn’t want viewers to “follow the clues and unlock some message. All of it comes from this awareness that we’re part of a larger system, and there’s a humility and a responsibility that comes with that.”
On request, however, Jeffers will happily expound. He said the bonfire in The Twelfth (2018), for instance, is a reference to a holiday celebrated in July by Protestants in Northern Ireland, where he was born. The event commemorates the defeat of the Catholic King James II by the Protestant William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Jeffers said he was interested in the kind of ritualization that attends “relishing in this glorified history.”
Jeffers’s recent High Line installation, which ran through February 7, was called The Moon, the Earth, and Us, and it comprised two globes separated by the distance of a city block—to illustrate the concept of what he called the “overview effect.” The phenomenon experienced by astronauts when they view Earth from space renders borders invisible, and Jeffers said that such dissolution of arbitrary distinctions extends to the art in his Wolkowitz exhibition as well. “A lot of this comes down to narrative and perspective,” he said. “We write ourselves into stories. We connect ourselves to everything.”
The New York Times, article by Maria Russo. Read the full story.
The artist Oliver Jeffers, born in Northern Ireland and living and working now in Brooklyn, always has a lot going on. So it makes sense that his studio is in the Invisible Dog Art Center, a converted factory that is home to art exhibitions, performances and public art events, as well as studio space for several dozen artists. With Jeffers’s recent public installation, “The Moon, the Earth and Us,” on Manhattan’s High Line, we stopped in to his studio to find out how he makes it all happen. These are edited excerpts from our conversation.
How did you end up here?
I found it just by walking past. I was in between studios and I rented it absolutely temporarily. The first project I worked on here was the book “Stuck,” and I fell in love with the community. It felt like a breath of fresh air. The other artists here now are incredible — Mac Premo, Kevin Waldron, Prune Nourry, many others.
There’s all walks of artistic practice here, so you get great advice. I like advice from people who work in a different discipline. Prune, who’s a sculptor, helps me with painting. When you’re at any critical point in a project it’s easy to knock on three people’s doors and get three points of view. But you can also have absolute silence and isolation. I tend to do my best work late into the night or on weekends when there’s not many other people around.
hat’s your favorite thing about your space?
The charm. There’s a certain charm to it because it’s a really old building. It used to be a factory. There’s a rustic-ness. That of course leads to leaks occasionally, but that’s okay.
I also like the light. It’s southern facing. The daylight just streams in, and especially in the winter it’s quite piercing, which is not great for painting, but it’s very lovely. That’s why I’ve got a separate painting area at the back which has got a skylight. That light is a little more easy to control.
You have a lot of materials, but they seem very organized.
I do have an elaborate organizational scheme. I tend to plunge back and forth between different mediums. In an ideal world my studio would be four times larger. I would like to be able to leave projects sitting there when I’m working on more than one. But because it’s Brooklyn and there is so little space, I get around that by having a pretty organized space, so when I need to get my hands on something I know where it is.
That bin you have for “Mediocre” brushes” is even a bit poignant.
I’ve got brushes all divided up. The “Mediocre Brushes” — sometimes if you’re doing a stroke and you need to be quite brush-strokey and not perfect, it’s just the thing. Painting hair, for example, is sometimes easier to do with a really terrible brush.
You also seem to be a fan of to-do lists.
Oh yes. One of my favorite things to do is cross things off lists. So much so that one of my habits is I write something that’s already been done, just so I can cross it off. I tell myself, The wheels are turning!
Besides materials, what objects do you like to keep around the studio?
Books, of course — I’ve got two areas for books, one for reference and one that is collage material. I’ve got a photograph of my son the day he was born, and he actually looks like a Russian terrorist. I keep it right above my screen, on the blackboard where I’ve written pi to 500 digits. And I always keep globes and maps around.
Your installation on the High Line, “The Moon, the Earth and Us,” had two globes representing the Earth and the Moon. And your latest picture book, too, “Here We Are,” is full of globes and maps. How do you see the relationship between your fine art work and your picture books? You seem to bring the two together as seamlessly as any artist working today.
Artsy, article by Jacqui Palumbo. Read the full story.
Artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers has been authoring picture books since 2004, but he was struck by the power of storytelling when his son was born in 2015. He realized that reality is just a series of stories told to us, or that we tell, and it was his responsibility to guide that narrative for his newborn son. “It was up to me to instruct this brand-new human who was a completely fresh ball of clay,” he explained. It was, he added, a chance to “fundamentally make a better story.”
Jeffers, who hails from Belfast and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, would go on to publish the New York Times bestselling picture book Here We Are: Notes For Living on Planet Earth in the fall of 2017, which he has called “a guidebook of sorts about our planet” and “the basic principles of humanity.” Around the same time, he began translating some of the same ideas into a series of oil paintings, “For All We Know” (2018), and later, a public installation, The Moon, the Earth, and Us (2019), both of which are now on view in New York.
Jeffers was schooled formally as a painter and believed that painting would be his path, before discovering his talent for making picture books. He’s since authored and illustrated more than a dozen books, which celebrate curiosity, adventure, and empathy, and have been avidly read by children and adults alike.
“Rather than separating or taking a tangent [in my] career, I just decided to do both things until someone told me otherwise—and nobody ever did,” Jeffers said.
The varying facets of Jeffers’s practice often mirror one another. He becomes fixated on a concept, and may interpret it through different projects at the same time. For example, while writing and illustrating The Incredible BookEating Boy (2006), a tale about a boy who quite literally consumed what he read to become the smartest person in the world, Jeffers was also producing a series of paintings, “Additional Information,” inspired by the conversations he’d had with a quantum physicist about the search for “ultimate intelligence.”
In Jeffers’s latest book, exhibition, and installation, the commonalities have never been more direct, each exploring one’s place in the universe and our responsibility to the world we inhabit. In the nocturnal, cosmic scenes of “For All We Know,” on view at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery until February 16th, astronauts explore the dark skies and deep seas—two expanses of unimaginable depth and mystery. Symbolism abounds in the form of matchsticks, pianos, and ships set aflame, against the backdrop of glimmering constellations and ebbing tides.
The series began with Jeffers’s fascination with star patterns, and the idea that the tradition of naming constellations—which has been handed down since ancient Greece—was ultimately a form of storytelling. “It was a very early attempt to make sense out of chaos,” he offered. “[It was] a way to understand their place in the world.” Then, in August 2017, when Jeffers drove to Tennessee to experience the totality of the Great American Eclipse, his own understanding of Earth’s place in the solar system shifted. “Seeing two objects line up against each other with your own eyes…is very different from understanding the numbers and being told what the distances are,” he recalled.
That sense of perspective is an undercurrent through both Here We Are and “For All We Know.” The constellations that serve as a guide for Jeffers’s younger readers in his book appear in his paintings, too, entreating older viewers to consider the mysteries of the ever-expanding cosmos and their role within it.
Perspective also inspired Jeffers’s current installation on New York City’s High Line (between West 15th and 16th Streets), The Moon, the Earth, and Us, which considers the relationship between Earth and its lunar companion.
The piece was inspired by the accounts of astronauts on their first voyage to space, which Jeffers found while working on Here We Are. “Astronauts orbiting planet Earth have been known to point out their home cities and countries in the first days,” he wrote in his self-titled monograph, published in 2018. But eventually, they only point out their continents. Finally, they realize “that the whole planet, the tiny blue marble in a sea of impossibly immense blackness, is home. Upon returning to Earth, it’s impossible to see anything the same way again.”
Jeffers sought to capture this phenomenon, called the overview effect, in the installation, which features to-scale models of Earth and the moon. Passersby can walk from one globe to the other, and as they approach the moon, they will see hand-painted text reading “No one lives here”; as they walk toward Earth, “People live here” will come into view. Through the project, Jeffers asks viewers to consider the artificiality of borders: The further away that one gets from their home city or country, the less it matters where one comes from. When in space, nationalism means nothing.
Despite making work for different audiences, Jeffers doesn’t tailor his projects to children or adults. “It’s all coming from the same place,” he noted. In Here We Are, he had to follow a more traditional narrative structure; in his paintings, he could address the idea of belonging in the universe in “a bit more abstract and meandering” way, he explained; and in his installation, he focused on one particular aspect of his larger message.
While Jeffers wants viewers to enjoy his work and to “get the sense of playfulness” he imbues in each project, he said, he also wishes to use his work to catalyze a paradigm shift in how they look at the world and their own lives.
“I guess there’s a quite obvious tone to the work about the extreme fragility of it all, like of existence in the first place,” Jeffers explained. “And rather than that being a dire, morose, morbid thing, it’s…this appreciation that we’re here at all to begin with.”
Watch the full video on BRIC TV.
Fine artist, illustrator, and author Oliver Jeffers has been telling stories through images for almost two decades. Take a peek inside his studio as Jeffers tells us about his artistic practice, how being a new parent informs his work, and the crossover between his fine art and picture book work.
The High Line Room, New York
Sunday, February 10, 2019Read More
Whitewall, review by Pearl Fontaine. Read the full story.
Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and The High Line
Oliver Jeffers is having a New York moment. His solo show “For All We Know” is currently on view at Bryce Wolkowitz gallery, while his installation “The Moon, The Earth, and Us” just opened on the High Line between 15th and 16th streets. At Bryce Wolkowitz, you’ll find a new series of oil paintings that open the door into a dreamlike world inhabited by deep-sea divers, astronauts, sinking ships, burning matches, and floating pianos. Jeffers utilizes years of observation to create his imaginary universe where the night sky and ocean are a constant, and brief glimpses at the interconnectedness of the world leave his viewers wondering, and ready for more.
“The Moon, The Earth and Us” public work includes two large sculptures of the Moon and the Earth, allowing passersby to experience an astronaut’s point of view, seeing the entities in an accurate depiction of size and distance from one another. Aiming to highlight the wholeness of our planet as a single organism, the works also pose questions around the manmade borders that divide, rather than unite humankind.