Vicki Clough Curates

Musings on art and life.

A Ragged Road, Jacob Everett Compassionately Depicts Bradford’s Homeless

Have you ever read Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman? It’s the kind of book that starts a war inside your brain (well, it did for me anyway). I was torn between the sadness at the realistic ease of becoming invisible, and loving that London Below was such an independent and magical place, run by barter and bargaining. In Neverwhere, the main protagonist finds himself falling between the cracks by helping a stranger, but that’s fantasy, and it all works out in the end. Sadly, its not the case in real life, but there is a glaringly obvious similarity between Gaiman’s fantastic London Below, and real life homelessness- invisibility. Like Gaiman’s book, the art of Jacob Everett draws attention to those we often neglect to notice, and poses some uncomfortable questions with regards to how we see those less fortunate then us. In fact, we are forced to ask ourselves- DO we even see them?

Jacob has a very unique drawing technique. His accurate facial representations are gradually built up with layers of elliptical pen marks, done in small sections at a time. Each portrait takes about a fortnight to complete. A Ragged Road was started in 2012 when Jacob decided to take a new approach to his art. Until this point, he had focussed on well known faces of pop culture, such as Nelson Mandela, Jay-Z, Dave Grohl and Larry David, just to name a few (you can view some of these portraits here). In February 2012, Jacob decided to begin a series of portraits of residents of Inn Churches, a homeless charity based in Bradford. He began by taking photographs of, and interviewing the residents. Snippets of the interviews are included with the portraits, to give the viewer a glimpse at the character and the journey of the subject, and evoking feelings of compassion. His aim was “to immortalise the subjects, to confront the viewer with the oversize faces of people otherwise forgotten.” In my opinion- mission accomplished.

John “You’ve got to be in this position to understand what its really like. To think that basically, you’ve got nothing and you’ve got nobody.” Spec 90 x 110 cm

John, Detail

Tom “When it’s as bad as it can get, you just have to find what you can. And hope you’re safe. And wake up in one piece in the morning. Seriously.” Spec 90 x 110 cm

Kirk “You know, due to depression, through breakdown of marriage. Just drunk myself into oblivion. Along came drugs, and stuff like that. It spirals totally out of control and you’re bouncing off walls.” Spec 90 x 110 cm

Craig “I would usually sleep in abandoned warehouses, friends sofas, breaking into buildings and beaches when abroad.” Spec 90 x 110 cm

Follow the links for Jacob’s website to view his portfolio and read more about his art, like his Facebook Page and follow him on Twitter .

I would like to say a huge Thank You to Jacob for agreeing to let me use images from his website on my blog, and for answering my barrage of emailed questions.


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Vicki Clough

Vicki Clough

Vicki is an independent curator and craftsperson with a focus on socially engaged and participatory art and events. In January 2016 she helped launch Reconstructing Resilience, a research and curatorial project that explored various forms of sustainable practice. As a freelance curator she has worked with the Riverdale Hub, Myseum of Totonto/Art Spin and was the Curatorial Director of Figment Toronto from 2014 to 2017. She has also co-curated exhibitions including JAYU's iAM photography project (2016 & 2017), Move to Stillness, for the Harbourfront Centre's Kick Up Your Heels Festival (2015), The Duel, AGO First Thursdays (2014), and What Are You Made Of? OCAD U Graduate Gallery (2013). She initiated the Toronto based workshop model and website Polymers in Action: Socially Engaged Art and the Environment as part of her studies at OCAD University, where she obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. She publishes on anything that interests her deeply and moves her to the point of lengthy verbal expression.

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