Tasmanian born and raised, established artist and contemporary designer Jon Williamson is the fourth son of a teacher and a chemist. His childhood holidays were adventures: camping, bushwalking, and boating in the icy cold of winter and the sun-filled days of summer.
“I was so lucky to have been given the freedom to explore all aspects of Tasmania’s natural world – I was fascinated not only with the form and pattern of the world around me, but also how beauty seemed to happen alongside fragility and harshness”.
This fascination drove Jon to the Tasmanian School of Art, where he completed his Bachelor majoring in printmaking, and to the setting up a graphic design and screen-printing studio with fellow artist, Fiona Tabart. Through the studio Jon supported other artists and designer makers to produce artist’s print editions and bespoke components for public art installations, sculptures, furniture and ceramics.
As a sculptor and jewellery designer, Jon returns to the imperfect natural beauty he found in his childhood and melds it with the illusion of perfection brought by the engineered lines of our machine-made world.
Jon’s work has been sought out for exhibitions at Contemporary Art Services Tasmania (CAST) in Infinite Empire, at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) in Facture, an exhibition of Contemporary Art and Design, and at Carnegie Gallery in Hobart in In Light Relief. His work has been purchased for collection by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and MONA, and was highlighted in the popular ABC series “Collectors” (Series 5, Episode 31).
In 2010 the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) invited Jon to establish a presence in their museum shop. Despite having to move away from one-off high art jewellery to support the demands of the high volume of visitors to MONA, Jon was committed to ensuring that his work maintained the ‘hand of the maker’ through hand finishing and detailing.
Some pieces have components that are cast in silver or bronze, but original masters have to be made first. The casting process faithfully reproduces every mark and nuance of the handmade original, and hand finishing retains that hand-worked character and ensures each piece has its unique link to the maker. Inclusion of crystal and gems, cut by computerised machines, highlights the contrast between the hand-made and mass manufacture.
These pieces are about our lives – the real, raw natural and the sharp lines of our modern world – they touch us because they reflect who we are.
“We impart meaning into the things we wear, particularly jewellery. We choose to expose an aspect of our being, not for others but for ourselves, to remember, to indulge and to declare”