Mike Jones, the son of a collier, was born in Godrergraig in the Swansea Valley in 1941 and grew up in a thriving Welsh speaking, coalmining and farming community.
As a young boy, he and his friends helped on local farms and as a teenager worked during school holidays in the colliery with his father, taking every opportunity to draw and sketch images of the hard working people who held a fascination for him.
A turning point came for him in the 1980's when he became friends with the late artists Will Roberts and Josef Herman who encouraged him to exhibit his work, which is now held in many private collections and the National Library of Wales.
Mike Jones is an artist who takes inspiration from this post-war Welsh culture of the Swansea Valley mining community in which he grew up. He has gained a reputation for his evocative portrayals of the post-industrial South Wales landscape and its people. He paints and works from his studio in the village of Pontardawe in the Swansea Valley. Self taught, Mike has exhibited widely across Wales and beyond.
Images from family life of women scrubbing steps, baking, hanging out washing, or simply sitting, sharing a quiet moment with the onlooker contrast with the granite figures of men who worked in the once thriving steel and coal industries, yet both conveying the individuality and richness of their lives.
His work reflects his own distinct and expressive appraisal of the simplicity and strength of powerful images. These are rooted in the social life of the people and the hard living conditions of the valley, past and present. He uses shape, line, and form, to capture and express the character and spirit of men and women with freshness, passion and immediacy. He works in a variety of media including crayon, pen and ink, and oil.
"In drawing and painting, I endeavour to give emotions, ideas and memories a permanent form. I find inspiration in simple subject matter, women scrubbing steps, figures sitting in waiting rooms, men and women, places and times of my childhood and imagination. Through my art I try to convey emotion and attitude which I hope will connect with the viewer. The essence of my work is the spontaneous and intuitive response to my subject matter."
Recently, Mike Jones has returned to the subject of the fishermen of Swansea and a way of life which has universality, but is rooted in locality.
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