The love of the city…

Portobello Flowers low

“Portobello Flowers” By Rachel Tighe

Depictions of cities have been popular with both artist and audience for centuries. Virtually every movement in art has contained within it works that represent cities and arguably the iconography of these metropolises has been in no small part generated and reinforced by these representations. George Thornton Art has cityscapes on show in the gallery by three very different artists with three very different perspectives (quite literally, as well as figuratively) on major cities and it is very interesting to examine how their works represent the cities they have chosen.

Alicia Dubnycykj is an exciting artist who brings a sense of the speed and vibrance of her chosen cities to stunning life on her large canvases. In ‘Arc de Triomphe’ an aerial angular view of the iconic landmark at night, the streetlamps and car headlights seem alive and appear to actually be flickering on the canvas. Use of reflective glossy paint, especially when viewed in an artificially lit environment, persuades the viewer that the work is alive and full of movement. A capital city is frequently the synecdoche of a nation and the technique here, of lighting the Arc de Triomphe itself as the visual focus of the piece set in a surrounding of darkness, punctuated only by the street lights that lead the viewer’s eye to the Arc itself, achieves this extremely well. The Arc de Triomphe ‘becomes’ France.

Alicia Dubnyckyj Arc de Triomphe V  Gloss paint on MDF

“Arc De Triomphe” By Alicia Dubnycykj

In contrast, the representation of New York in ‘After Dark’ by artist Matt Colagiuri is a post impressionistic view of the city – the construction of the city and its identity signified through signs. Bright neon signs in primary colours contrast dramatically with the blackness of the New York night against which these are depicted. His use of photographic mosaic tiles set at different heights with a super glossy coating convey the sense of a vibrant and dynamic city purely through the use of recognised signs that speak of the United States. Still clearly a cityscape, but one that relies on a different way of defining and identifying NYC than that based purely on buildings.

After Dark

“After Dark” By Matt Colagiuri

And by way of a total contrast to both artists is the work of Rachel Tighe. Her seemingly naïve representations of recognisable city views belie the cleverness in their execution. The artist confidently expects that the audience will recognise her interpretation of a given skyline and this gives her free rein to represent them in her own absolutely unique style. Having the courage to leave white, unpainted spaces on the canvas and to depict skylines of famous edifices (for example in Gondola View, Venice) in simplistic ways that still effectively convey the location is a real talent and shows the maturity of Tighe in her work.

NYC rooftops at dawn (low)

“NYC Rooftops at dawn” By Rachel Tighe

So there you have it – three completely different ways of generating a response to cities, all highly effective and all most definitely provoke a reaction in the audience. They all reinforce the visual connotations of landmarks and skylines that are burned into our cultural consciousness.

What makes the artist JJ Adams so popular?

          Twiggy Tattoo Large 24x30 - Copy          Summer Lovin T Bird Version 24x30 - Copy

JJ Adams…

This exciting young artist is touted as being the Next Big Thing on the British art scene. With his challenge to the heart of British cultural values – members of the Royal family displayed with full sleeve tattoos, iconic buildings such as Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Westminster depicted defaced by graffiti, Adams strikes at the heart of our cultural consciousness with his work.

Rule Brittania - St Pauls Cathedral 20x30

“Rule Brittania – St Pauls”

In the same way that Banksy became the art world’s darling, filling the vacuum left by the end of the love affair with the YBAs, Adams is making a name for himself, aided by Wishbone Publishing, with his phenomenal output. Born in Plymouth, Adams was raised in South Africa, remaining there until the end of the apartheid era when he returned to these shores with the aim of becoming a tattoo artist. Little wonder then that his obsession with body art spills over into his work, evidenced in his ‘Tattoo Series’ where icons of royalty, music and the silver screen are depicted with awesome full sleeve and knuckle tattoos. The ubiquity of the tattoo in mainstream culture must play a part in his appeal to the mainstream art audience, but there is more to his art than purely capitalising on a social trend. His interest in printing and in graphic design – honed when working in the South West as a printer whilst experimenting with art in his spare time – are evident in the stylised way much of his work is presented. Combining media such as printing, collage, spray paint, screen prints and hand painted acrylics, his work has attracted attention from Christie’s, Rolls Royce, Vogue and GQ magazines with its rawness, energy and passion, but also with its accessibility and broad subject appeal.

But, like Banksy, Adams is certainly not a mainstream fine artist, and similarly, much of his work remains true to the roots of his style and influences. Where Banksy’s popularity came from the street through recognition of his graffiti and its subsequent elevation to ‘art’, Adams work is equally accessible and most importantly recognisable in its representation of things ‘normal’ that have been given Adams’ treatment which, in challenging their orthodoxy, cause the audience to consider their own response to these significant cultural icons. However, being able to picture Buckingham Palace with graffitied gate posts somehow appeals to the British sense of humour and perhaps more importantly makes the audience question why the imagery is such a visual shock. To have the artistic vision to produce works that speaks on such an accessible level to the man in the street and yet which so cleverly strikes at the heart of our culture is evidence of Adams’ skill and gives a big clue as to why his work is generating such excitement in the art – and wider – community. Fundamentally this is what makes JJ Adams so popular and undeniably an artist to invest in!

Love-Gun web file

“Love Gun”

Signed limited edition print on paper. Framed just £435.

(Own Art available, spread the payment over 10 months interest free)

New in For July

Check out some of our amazing new works in for July from the amazing Gail Troth, Russell Hatton and a special one off we’ve managed to get our hands on from Banksy.

Browse featured works by the artists below.

Don’t forget that the Ian Hodgson Show is still running and finishes tomorrow. Make sure you don’t miss out and get down to the Gallery so you can enjoy this outstanding exhibition.

For more details check out our website or contact us at the gallery available in house, by phone and email. Ask for George or Daniel.

Works by Banksy


Nola (White Rain)
Signed Gift Graphic on Paper (Framed)
29.5″ x 38.5″
£4950 or just 18 monthly installments of £275

This is a unique piece that was originally gifted to Banky’s scaffolder, the man who sets up the platforms on which Banksy is able to create his works. We have a letter certifying the authenticity of the piece from Pest Control (The group that authenticate Banksy’s).

Works by Gail Troth

Troth’s works are created without her even touching the canvas. Done by dripping oil onto canvas using various tactics to manipulate the paint as it falls.


‘Surreal View’
Oil on Canvas
39.5″ x 19″
£995 or just 10 monthly installments of £99.50Image
‘Eternal Landscape in Blue’
Oil on Canvas
47″ x 15.5″
£995 or just 10 monthly installments of £99.50

Works by Russell Hatton

Working with aluminium and an array of pulley systems. Hatton is able to create these truly inspiring landscapes and abstract visuals.

‘Entelechy Verde’
Oil on Canvas
54″ x 34″
£3000 or just 14 monthly installments of £214Image

‘Into the Blue’
Oil on Canvas
54″ x 34″
£3000 or just 14 monthly installments of £214

The Ian Hodgson Exhibition (Saturday 13th July – Saturday 20th July)


Is Art an Asset Class?

I don’t want you to think that I am changing my mind about the investment value of art.  According to the demand for the top-selling artists has remained consistently high and done better than most investment classes consistently over the last ten years.

During the last week I was asked by a trustee to explain the asset value of some works of art in an estate.  The key criteria for establishing an asset is that the price is set efficiently.  This requires an effective method of aggregating opinions into a price as is done on the stock market.  In the art market a very small group of people set the price.  Also a painting is only sold once in about 20 years.  Also it is not clear that value sets the price.  If art is sold at auction there are buyer and seller premiums that inflate the price paid.

So my answer to the trustee was: art is a wealth store.  It does not pay dividends or interest and can cost money to keep, such as insurance or cleaning.   But for those artists whose work is desired the tax free capital gain has historically been large.

Economists and financiers do have a soul and many of them are collectors not just because of the monetary gain but also because as humans we are natural collectors of things of beauty that up lift our spirits.  Art is probably top of the list of items that full fill this need as we live in our urban landscape.

So collect your art as a wealth store and enjoy it.