DMU artist features in exhibition at world-renowned Saatchi Gallery

Visionary paintings by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) artist Jarvis Brookfield have been featured in an exclusive exhibition at London’s prestigious Saatchi Gallery.

Jarvis with one of his paintings at the Saatchi Gallery

The Fine Art MA student was one of just 10 creatives shortlisted from hundreds of applicants for the Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award 2021, earning him a coveted chance to showcase his work at the famous gallery.

Following the exhibition, and after several weeks of public voting, Jarvis won the People’s Choice Award. “It was great to have my work recognised on such a level at a world-renowned gallery,” he said.

“We’re still figuring out my prize due to the changing conditions of travel restrictions, but the suggestion is a paid-for trip to explore the art scene somewhere in Africa or the Far East, which is very appealing to me. It should be an amazing opportunity.”

A visitor at the Saatchi Gallery taking in one of Jarvis' pieces

Inspired by different states of mind, Jarvis’ paintings are colourful, with a multi-dimensional and psychedelic aesthetic. Silk scarves, mandalas and ancient Buddhist paintings often guide his choice of colours and patterns.

He said: “I find it fascinating that we can experience different and profound states of consciousness other than that of waking reality or dreaming.

“Some of my early experiences really inspired me to want to make work about the internal and mysterious world of what it means to be alive. To create art that I hope dissolves boundaries and makes people feel a sense of awe and wonder.”

Jarvis only started using paints after he enrolled on DMU’s undergraduate Fine Art degree in 2017, because he was ‘afraid of failing’ before that. Each one of his pieces starts with a relatively small pencil drawing.

Jarvis surrounded by several of his colourful paintings

“I rarely have a flash of inspiration. It’s more a case of showing up every day and consciously setting the intention that I want to create a new piece or series of pieces,” he said.

“Maybe I’ll have the idea to create a piece that feels like a mythical being, but not a literal representation. So, I’ll look at historical and contemporary sculptures and paintings of them, and study how they might exist three-dimensionally through drawings, which become like visual notes.

“When I feel ready, I’ll wake up one day and start creating a drawing from my imagination. Once it feels harmonious I scan it into the computer, project and trace it onto a canvas, then use expressive and traditional realist painting techniques to breathe a sense of life into the piece.

“I really enjoy creating patterns that draw people’s eyes and minds deeper into my paintings.”

Jarvis’ work will next be shown at the Two Queens gallery and the Attenborough Arts Centre, as part of the upcoming UK New Artists City Takeover: Leicester from 25-27 February.

He said: “The event should attract a wide range of visitors, as the exhibitions and performances feature artists from different mediums including photography, dance, film, spoken word and art. It’s going to be a celebration of creativity and I’m really happy that I’m a part of it and that more people may get to see the art that I create.”

At the opening night of Jarvis' solo exhibition, Inaquien

Last September, Jarvis held his first solo exhibition at the Leicester Creative Business Depot. “It was a truly fulfilling experience for me,” he said.

“The gift to the artist is the process, but once the art is finished it’s for the world to enjoy, and it was really beautiful to hear how people felt about it. One visitor told me it made him feel happy after being stressed for a long time and a new couple even visited it on their first date.”

Jarvis started drawing again in 2015, having loved doing so in his childhood and early teens, and with the unconditional support of his girlfriend he made the decision to pursue higher education.

He said: “I had this perception that university was for conformists and felt that it was for people who were just following the crowd, but choosing to study at DMU has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far.”

“The biggest gift it’s given me is the time to cultivate my artistic vision, independence and self-confidence. Access to the facilities, like the workshops and library, as well as support and knowledge imparted by the technicians has been empowering.

“I’m tremendously grateful for my degree and that’s why I decided to stay on for an MA. I wanted a couple more years to develop confidence in myself and I feel like it’s paying off.”

Posted on Wednesday 23rd February 2022

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