Jay Johnston has been invited by the Tolkien Society to exhibit at The Return of the Ring on the 16th - 20th August 2012 at Loughborough University.
Interview with Jay Johnstone about his Tolkien inspired art
TL: When did you discover that you could draw?
JJ: I was 7 or 8 when I found I had some talent for drawing..
TL: What first interested you in Professor tolkien's works?
JJ: When I was about 18, a couple of my friends were debating the name of Sam's pony. I hadn't a clue what they were talking about. "You must read Lord of the Rings" they said.....!
TL: What influence did J.R.R. tolkien's books have on you and your art?
JJ: After reading LOTR for the first time, I began to collect his books both new and old.
The sense of history that the stories gave led me to experimenting with ancient illustration styles and methods.
TL: Did you dream of becoming the artist you are today?
JJ: I have always had a passion for painting that led me towards a fab career as a graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist.
tolkien's world has been a private passion and it was only lately that I have started to promote my work.
TL: You are drawing scenes from The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. What works inspires you most?
JJ: They are all so rich with inspiration but my favourite story is the tale of Beren and Lúthien.
TL: Next to you icons and manuscripts you have some art work, that resembles a lot to Gustave Climt, or is this not the inspirational source?
JJ: Klimt is my favourite artist, his work is so sensual and full of life and passion. It's a great source of inspiration.
TL: What is unique about your art? What makes it different from that of other artists who find their inspiration in Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings?
JJ: I try to create a sense of antiquity and reverence that compliments the characters that Tolkien created in my mind. I ask myself how would these illustrations have looked if done by a scribe or monk in the middle ages and how would they look now?
TL: What is your favorite piece of art?
JJ: Gustav Klimt's Water Serpents
TL: Are you having any contact with publishing companies to make an illustrated book with your Tolkien art?
JJ: It is certainly something I have considered but have not progressed as yet.
TL: Who is your favorite Tolkien related artist and why?
JJ: I love so many of the Tolkien artists. My favourite illustration is Luthien Tinuviel by Alan Lee. It has a mournful dreamlike quality which captures the sense of doom that lies upon her.
TL: When you're not working, what are your favorite ways to relax and have fun?
JJ: Spending time with my family, playing cricket and going for a beer with friends..... maybe not in that order and definitely not at the same time!
TL: One final question. What do you think about the Hobbit movie?
JJ: I am looking forward to it, you never know Smaug might even keep my kids quiet for 2 minutes........
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