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Looking Back

by: Jon Claytor

The painting, Looking Back, is part of a larger series, Future Past, that reflects on memory and childhood. The subjects of the paintings represent different perspectives: portraits of friends who are now in their sixties looking back at what they were like before life happened as well as portraits of my children, now all young adults and teens, when they were young and looking forward to the future. It's an examination of time; themes of hope, fear, regret, dreams, ambition, and acceptance inform my choice of subjects, colour, composition, and creation process.

This series marks a stylistic change in my work in this genre, which has gone from translucent washes and dark lines, to black and white, and now to opaque muted colours. The palette for this series is reminiscent of our kitchens and living rooms from days past. The creation process involves layering charcoal and paint, erasing the charcoal with solvent, and redrawing the image over and over. This process mimics the process of memory; how memories are created and reinforced over time and how current perspective can not be separated from how we remember things. Finally, a final varnish is added, freezing the painting, and by extension the memories it represents, in a specific moment of creation/reflection.

This painting is of my friend, Gordon Frederick Lucas-Willson imagined as a child. Freddy is now in his sixties and has seen a lot of things.

Small jonclaytor matthhorseman Jon Claytor

Jon Claytor is a Sackville, New Brunswick-based artist, painter, and writer. He was born in San Francisco but grew up across Canada finally making a career and home in New Brunswick. He holds an MFA from York University (2012), attended Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (1991), and holds a BFA Mount Allison University (1998).

Jon’s work ranges from oil painting and watercolour to comics. He recently published his first graphic novel, Take The Long Way Home (Conundrum Press) and regularly publishes illustrated interviews for CBC Nova Scotia. Jon has had solo exhibitions across the Maritimes, Montreal, Toronto, and Los Angeles. He has worked with Ingram Gallery in Toronto and has participated in the Casiar Cannery Residency Prince Rupert, BC in 2019 and the Skeleton Park Arts Fest Virtual Residency in Kingston, ON in 2020. He is also a cofounder of SappyFest, a music and arts festival in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Jon is the recipient of numerous New Brunswick Arts Board (artsnb) Creation Grants and has recently been awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Grant (2023). In 2004 he was nominated for a Juno Award for the cover painting of Gord Downie's “Battle Of The Nudes”.

Jon is a father to five children and, for him, being a father is the biggest part of being an artist.

Frequently Ask Questions

If your project is no longer taking place, it’s critical that you contact the program officer as soon as possible to notify us. Depending on the situation, we can advise you of next steps. To proceed with withdrawing the project, you will need to send a cheque for the grant amount made payable to “Minister of Finance” no later than March 1. Indicate on the cheque memo or attach a letter for what program the amount is for and mail to:

Arts and Cultural Industries Branch

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Attention: Janey Johnston

Marysville Place (4th floor)

P. O. Box 6000 Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1

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