Jonathan Delafield Cook...The Artist with an Eye for Detail

I had the privilege of taking to Jonathan about his work and career to date. His distinct attention to detail can be traced back to his beginnings as an architectural draftsmen. Evidently his talent caught the eye of famous London architect Norman Fraser and later the Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto. 'I worked on the Reichstag Dome' Jonathan casually tells me, one of Foster's most significant projects and now a landmark for Berlin. But it was working with Yamamoto that drew Jonathan to a fascination with charcoal. 'Seeing the way he (Yamamoto) drew objects, I began to recognise the importance of tone and what starts to happen when the crisp definition of lines begin to disappear.' He soon realises that he was seeking something beyond the crispness of an architectural drawing.


Above Artwork by Jonathan Delafield-Cook: Murray Grey, 2011, Charcoal on primed linen, 190 x 295

This experience was enough for Jonathan to pursue the art of drawing, although he admits the element of perfectionism that architects are often guilty of striving for never left. 'My friends will come over as I'm finishing a drawing and say "It looks great, Jonathan", and if I haven't fixed up that one area I just won't stop looking at it!'. Jonathan's mastery lies in his ability to achieve unthinkable detail whilst maintaining a tonal softness in the outcome. These qualities culminate in works that are truly unique, with the kind of scientific rigour an old world botanist might show towards a subject. 

The works are almost studies as much as they are artworks. He points me to two studies of barnacle heels, blown up to an almost unrecognisable scale. I begin to notice subtle differences in the shell grooves when Jonathan tells me of his love for iterations. The same subject shown in a number of ways. This continuous theme of subtle detail is played out across all works at his exhibition. If perfection does exist, this is as good as it gets.

Tetra Squamosa II, 2013, Charcoal on paper, 42 x 59


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